New shoots spring from the ground, the dreary, dull ground that has lived under the weight of rains, heavy snow, and grey skies, for eternal months. I eye them on my early morning excursions with meine hund Elijah. Colorful they are and unexpected. They encompass joy. And somehow, relief.
Recent disappointments still ache and render me hollow. Somehow I feel guilty for even questioning why. Is my faith so shallow? I'm disappointed in my own readiness to be so disappointed. Tears still spill too easily. Even with the hope of springtime emerging, the firmament dirt of my soul remains dull, empty. I don't get it, the injustices on our own path. This is the path we prayed over and believed in, lit with His Word.
I wondered today if those new innocent shoots felt the pain in journeying up through the soil. Their world in the ground is dark and hard. For months. A birthing process of sorts. They began as seeds. And they struggle toward the sun. Affected by every detail of their environment, circumstances, the weather and the temperature, help and hinder. Spring is synonymous with new life. Birthing. And birthing is synonymous with pain.
Somehow the pain of childbirth is viewed, pondered, remembered differently than other pain.
Then it hit me.
What if ALL our pain was colored like this? What if we (I) viewed my hurt and anger inflicted by life's events as birthing pains. Bringing forth something bigger that God is doing. I know, I know, we hear that all the time as believers. Somehow those words ring empty when my heart is hemhorraging. Don't get me wrong.....pain is pain. It requires tears and sometimes screams. I am carried back to my own hours spent in Delivery Rooms. I birthed four whoppers, 8, 9, nearly 10 pounders. It was only with the last child that I experienced the sweetness of the epidural. And even then I was at a '9' and she was sunny-side up, making for excrutiating back pain. My very late anethesiologist calmly sauntered into the room after hours (it seemed) of me asking, screaming for him. He was much too calm. Couldn't he see I was being torn in two???? How could he not see I was teetering on the edge? BUT, he knew I wasn't . He knew what I could handle. I didn't. (He barely escaped with his life. )
The pain experienced in a delivery room is filtered. There is a REASON for it. I knew I'd come out with something, someone. A precious gift. I knew all of my distress was WORTH IT. If all we remembered about a birth experience, or even a 9-month uncomfortable pregnancy, was the pain, there would be no babies.
What if the lens through which we view our lives and situation and pain was filtered. What if we accepted the pain of disappointments and injustice as birth pains. What if my first thought when something unexpected hit was to say..... (after the crying and the screaming, which are written into our very human nature and are expected by Him).........."Hmmm..What is God doing here?".....
Let's be honest, every thought by a mama in a delivery room IS NOT about the baby to come. It's about just making it through the contraction. Moment by moment!! Likewise, when unexpected tragedy strikes, IT IS OK to scream out "WHY???????", to ask Him to explain, to cry out in agony. And, more often than not, I am surprised, knocked breathless, by this birthing process. I am one of those women who didn't know she was even pregnant till she went into labor! Shock? Disbelief? No preparation!!! Then PAIN!!!! I think most times, He does work like this. Circumstances veer and careen, doing the same for my emotions and stability, security. Nothing like a calm doctor, or Great Physician to change the mood of the delivery room. He knows me. HE KNOWS.
Often it seems, He's LATE with the spiritual epidural to take away the pain. I think too He may prefer, at times, that we should birth the old fashioned way, feeling every seering bit of it. (Can I just say, I'm not such a fan of this method?) Yet, interestingly, HE DID fashion us as women FOR the BIRTHING process. A strong breed we are. Often a topic of conversation when women gather, our birth stories (battle stories and scars) are told and shown over and over, detailing our agony, hardship, much like men comparing hunting or fishing, or war stories.
Can this be what Paul meant when he wrote these words?
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverence. Perseverence must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-3
Ok. Lord, I'm in the middle of a contraction here. I'm still breathing through it. Help me to see what you're birthing from me. I don't understand. But I trust that YOU do. I know I'll have a great story.