Sunday, September 25, 2011

Waiting for the Labor Pains

Everything that happens to us, happens for a reason. It's not some trite saying. I truly believe that all things are ordained and scheduled. "And we know for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

So when I was pregnant with L I knew the time would come to give birth. I didn't know WHEN exactly that would happen, but I knew it would happen. As September approached I thought that it would pretty soon and started making all the preparations and letting family know that I thought it'd be soon. But I didn't know for sure when he would come.

Then it started happening. Around 2am I had one of those familiar 'different' contractions. With A I felt one and she was born 8 hours later. With G I felt one and he was born 2 1/2 hours later. With this baby? I was sure it would be quick and so I had to be prepared. But I waffled back and forth as to whether we should get ready and get to the hospital because the contractions weren't very strong, or very consistent. I've always heard that, 'you'll know when it's time to take them seriously.' And in those early hours they weren't very serious. I could talk through them, walk fine, and even put on make up before we left the house at 4:30am. We got to the labor and delivery floor and everything was quiet, we were calmly chatting and laughing about how things went the last time we arrived there.

It was so different this time around, we figured we'd have a baby before breakfast. I wondered whether cheesecake would be on the menu for lunch. And we waited. And waited. My mom even arrived from out of town. Lunch came and went. Then it was mid-afternoon. The three of us waiting for our baby to arrive, for labor to get going for real, for SOMETHING! We were starting to get testy, a little frustrated that things weren't going like we thought they would. Mom went to get the kids, would we have the baby in time for them to come back and meet their new sibling that day? And so we prayed. Why is this taking so long Lord? What should we do? We needed wisdom to make choices about if we should wait it out, break my water, or order pitocin to make contractions start. We felt better after praying and when we talked with the doctor around 4:30 we had her order the pitocin. And we waited some more. 'Dinner' came (for me that was more clear liquids again). We waited more. The daytime doctor left and then the night shift doctor came back, surprised to see that I was still pregnant after checking in that morning. Finally around 8:30 the pitocin came and the labor really got going. We didn't have to wait long after that, L took his first breath around 9:30.

It was easy to get frustrated when his arrival was, in my thought, 'taking so long.' But it would have been silly for me to think he wouldn't ever come. If after 4 or 5 hours I just gave up and thought, 'well, I guess I'm not having a baby after all.' Right?

When I read passages in the bible about a woman's labor pains I really can relate to what it's saying. So today I'm home with the baby and I listened to a sermon online that Hubby preached back in July about the coming of the Kingdom of God from Luke 17:20-37. It was about how people were asking Jesus about when the messiah would come and then later Jesus talks about his second coming. He also referenced the text 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11. Here's part of that:

"Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober."

So Jesus is coming and it's for sure, but like labor pains, you never know when they are going to start, but you know they aren't going to end without a baby being born. Just like that, we don't know when Jesus is coming back, but he said he was and he doesn't lie so we better be ready! Currently, I can also relate to the 'let us not sleep' part...

In other parts of the Bible, Jesus likens the day in heaven as a wedding feast. In Ephesians he uses a term for the Holy Spirit as a 'seal' and back then a seal was a signet ring that sealed an envelope closed. The imagery evokes the thoughts of the Holy Spirit in us as being like an engagement ring. Being here on earth now as a Christian, with the Holy Spirit living inside of us is like being engaged to Jesus but not knowing what day the wedding will be. We just have to wait.

And like us in the hospital, it's hard to wait. It is hard when you think things should happen a certain way or a certain time and God has other ideas. For me, I wanted so badly to be pregnant for the last few years, but we had to wait. In life we have all these expectations and plans but ultimately it's all in God's hands. Things might not happen as I thought they would, but I know that God has a plan for it all. I rest in that trust that nothing will happen to me or my family that he didn't know about first and allow to happen. He doesn't make bad things happen, but He'll use it all for good.

Another verse about labor pains is John 16:21-22.

"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."

And it's the truth. There is so much sorrow here on earth. I hate death for all the pain that it brings and for the fear it strikes in my heart at the thought of loosing a loved one. We have sorrow here on earth because things are not the way God intended them to be. Crap happens, people get sick, things don't go the way they should. But this life is not all there is. God is redeeming this life on earth to give us a better life with him and when we see him our hearts will rejoice and no one will take away our joy. 

I so long for that day, it's my dream that Jesus would just come back and take us home. But I know that God is not delaying for no reason. 2 Peter 3:8-10 says:

"But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed."

So he has not come back yet because he's wanting more people to repent and turn to him. Who is he patiently waiting for? If you haven't committed your life to him, perhaps it's YOU we are all waiting on! Tell him you are sorry and invite him to control into your life. Then maybe it'll be time for him to come back and we can all be go and be with him. I can hardly wait for that day.

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