I still have yet to finish my little blog series but had to interrupt it to blog about the precious new addition to our family.
I cannot rave enough about my wife. I saw her do the most incredible thing that I will ever experience with her in my life. This labor and delivery was so radically different than our other two children and I wasn’t pushed to the side by lots of nurses and doctors during the process and/or did not have the opportunity to sit passively by while she labored medicated. That had been our experiences with the other two in the hospital (although we really appreciated the midwifery at St. Francis in Minnesota). But I was able to run beside Grace in one of the most intense moments of her life. At one point toward the end of birth I began to quietly weep under my breath. I was stunned by the awesomeness of my wife in those moments and blown away by all the new experiences of birth that I had never really had the opportunity to process through before.
We can’t speak more highly of the New Birth Company. What an incredible place and their care for the mom through the whole process (prenatal to post) is outstanding. Even down to the little things (which are really big in the scheme of things) like making Grace pancakes and sausage to eat on the bed following the birth, making us a cherry crisp dessert and placing a candle on it while singing Happy Birthday to mom, personally making an herbal bath for Grace to sit in following birth and so many other little things that they do to help put the mom at ease. Thank you New Birth!
This was the first natural birth we have done and it left me stunned and somewhat sobered by the comparison the Bible gives between the end of the age and giving birth to a baby. After watching Grace give birth with no pain medication for the first time, I was awakened at a whole other level to the intensity that is ahead for the earth.
During the last several weeks of pregnancy Grace would grow weary easily in the midst of carrying our son in her womb. It took a very intentional effort in many ways to stay strengthened and encouraged just leading up to the birth, let alone the incredible intensity of the birth itself.
Grace began having contractions the night prior to giving birth. They were subtle yet still felt. She could smile and talk as normal, almost ignoring them at times. We continued with life yet there was a subtle nudge to prepare for what was coming. As the night went on and into the early morning hours the subtle contractions continued but with inconsistency. Then as 11am approached, they began to grow stronger and more consistent, more painful and drew more attention. By 1pm I thought they were as strong as they would get based on my past birthing experiences. However, I was in for a rude surprise when 2pm hit and the contractions increased in intensity and paved the way for the final process of birth.
Grace’s body was slowly working our 10 pound boy down the birth canal, giving 30 second moments in between contractions for Grace to focus on relaxing as much as she could in order to have the strength for the next contraction.
Finally, at 2:43pm our son was born.
Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. John 16:20-22
A huge part of my belief system is founded on God giving birth to a new age where sin no longer abounds, tears stop falling to the ground and pain does not reign. In fact, that was incredibly central to the apostles faith and much of their motivation through hard times. With that said, if I really believe that God is going to shake all things that can be shaken prior to His return then I MUST learn to rest in Him when I am in the midst of an incredibly painful “contraction” happening in the earth. Yes, that means that ignorance will not always be bliss if we believe what the Bible is saying. :)
It is easy to try and discount, minimize or be passive about the return of Jesus but if all things will be made right then it sure makes sense that it would be an intense process, leaving many wanting to give up on God in the midst of it’s intensity. In His mercy He has and is giving us time to prepare our hearts before the labor pangs are upon us. It is such mercy! A time where we can learn to follow His leadership in an intimate way by anchoring our faith in His return and restoration of all things (the unseen). OR (and it’s a big “or”) anchor our faith in all things that are immediate and bring comfort to “me” (the seen) causing us to live for everything but the Day of His return. If the Day of the Lord is not real to us (fairytale) then we will live like it. “As in the days of Noah…”
I don’t need to go into great detail to describe the point that the Lord was trying to make to me through this beautiful situation. But we are carrying the good news of the Messiah (death, resurrection and returning) and His Day that is coming and we must not grow weary as the time of pregnancy comes to a close and the “birth” of the next age looks closer than ever. Whether it seems later than what we expect (like Grace passing her “due” date) or too close for comfort, we must prepare for Jesus’ appearing through much prayer and learning to follow His Spirit’s leadership. For those of us who will be living during the “birth pangs” at the end of the age, we must realize that there is no escaping the intensity. And I have concern that many will think they can learn on-the-fly, like I did in the delivery of our baby. I did not feel prepared for what I began to face near the end of Zion’s birth. My other concern is that many nice, good people have philosophized away the intensity of that Day and will be easily shaken from the Lord as they experience things that their philosophies were so opposed to while living in a place of comfort.
Jesus is coming back to restore the earth and reign as King in the capital of the earth, Jerusalem (Zion), forever! But first we must endure “the birth” as faithful witnesses. Give us wisdom and understanding by Your Spirit Lord! Let us feel the nudges of Your Spirit and not grow cold and indifferent.
The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously. Isaiah 24:23