New Life

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I’ve have birthed three daughters. Each experience was uniquely different, as are each of my kiddos.

For the first one I was pretty terrified. I didn’t know what to expect or if I was going to be able to handle the labor, delivery, the baby, motherhood in general.  Everything turned out fine–I took the epidural and it was smooth sailing; I felt nothing from the waist down–but we felt there was something missing. We did more research the second time around. We familiarized ourselveswith our options, we prayed, and we decided to go the natural route, using a midwife and a birthing center. That’s right, no hospital. (Gasp!) Yep, we’re those weirdos. Also, I homeschool. I hope you’ll still be my friend.

Anywhoo, I was still completely terrified the second time too. Mostly because I knew I’d feel all the pain. I really wasn’t worried about something going wrong because, statistically speaking, that’s very rare. Nope, I was afraid of the pain. It turns out that the pain came and went (as pain does) and I (mostly) forgot how bad it was. While I can’t say that it was “quick and painless”, I can say that it was quick! In fact, she was trying to meet us so fast that I almost had her in the car!  My labor was a total of three hours and just three pushes.  A dream!

Yeah, it was amazing.

Then…our third. It wasn’t until my second daughter was five that I was heavily pregnant with our third. It took us over a year to conceive her during which time, we prayed and fasted, hoped and prayed some more. Finally, God gave us that new life. She was a gift and faith walk for us (an unbelievable story I’ll save for another post). Thank you, Jesus.

For this third miracle, we decided to take our weirdness up a notch, skip the drive and just have the baby at home. You don’t even have to say anything. I know what you’re thinking…but at least my parents or kids weren’t in the room while I was giving birth. So that’s something, right? Shall I continue?

It’s midnight when my labor starts. The midwife rushes over to the house. We’re both thinking this will go quickly since the last one did. WRONG! Her head got stuck. I was fully dilated and pushing for 16 hours. It was awful. I was exhausted. My husband was exhausted. We hadn’t slept in 36 hours. I was an emotional wreck.  I couldn’t concentrate. I shed many tears from pain and frustration. I didn’t care the means, I just wanted it to be over. I wanted to meet her. I wanted to rest.

Finally, her head released. All of that effort was not in vain! I would meet her…and soon! I didn’t even have time to catch my breath between contractions. Y’all, she was flying through there like she was at Wal-Mart trying to buy a TV on black Friday. There was no stopping her…except my midwife. She told me in her calm, firm voice: “ Erin, you’re not ready. Do not push. Hold here for a second.”

Um…I’m sorry, what now?

In case you didn’t know, when a baby is at this late stage there is really no way of stopping it from moving out of its current home. I mean, I did my best to hold her in. They tried to help too. It was the worst pain I have ever felt. And I’m not a wuss about pain. But I had been in labor for so long, working so hard, the pain and the pressure had lasted for sixteen solid hours! So when this last and most intense level of pain hit, well, I thought I was going to die. I can laugh now, knowing I wasn’t really going to die. But, seriously, I had a moment, when all I could think was I won’t meet my baby but I’ll be with Jesus. Yes, it was THAT physically painful and THAT physically difficult. My body couldn’t handle any more and since I had never experienced that kind of pain before I wasn’t sure what I could handle. But God knew. And then…she arrived. My Sunshine.  That’s literally her middle name.  I told you we were weirdos.

I wish I could tell you that for those sixteen hours of labor I had these incredibly spiritual moments. I didn’t. I prayed once, around hour 6. I thanked Him for giving me the baby we had prayed for so desperately. Then I asked Him to help me get her out, quickly. It was that simple and that quick.

I didn’t need to say much else because I knew He was there the whole time. I knew He was the giver of my life and the life inside of me. He is the author of my story and yours. I knew He had a plan for both of us.  I trusted Him. And when everything was at its worst—the most painful and exhausting—my Hope was still Jesus. Meeting Him was my worst case scenario.

Just like I was physically pregnant, some of you are spiritually pregnant. God is birthing something in you. Maybe you’re at the beginning stages and He has only placed a desire in your heart. Perhaps you have been laboring over this assignment for what feels like forever.  Or something has temporarily stopped you and you’re in that super painful place where you’re uncertain that it will happen. He has asked you to do something for Him, to grow His kingdom in some way. He has given you a vision or a plan. He’s positioned you, set you apart, called your name, and told you where to go or what to do.

Sometimes the journey with the Lord seems easy. His purpose is worked out quickly. The walk can be joyful and painless. It’s all hearts and flowers. And sometimes it’s all weeds and sandspurs.

I want to encourage you; your labor is not in vain. Yes, that faith walk is terrifying sometimes. It seems daunting. It takes time. It takes your pride. It takes your emotional availability. It takes your commitment. It takes sacrifice. It takes obedience and surrender.  It takes LOVE. And it is straight up hard. Just because it comes from the Lord does not mean there won’t be pain or tears or difficulty.

Please, don’t give up. Don’t lose heart. Don’t kill that dream he’s placed inside of you. Don’t abort the mission to which he’s called you. He is still with you. Find your hope in Him, again. Ultimately, the pain or suffering we endure here will be difficult, embarrassing, painful, gut-wrenching, and exhausting, but then…one day soon, Jesus, forever and ever, AMEN!

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 MSG

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

Erin Arruda