In labor & in life

And just like that, three weeks are gone.  Three joy- and snuggle-filled weeks that disappeared like a flash; twenty-one long, gruelling days.  This day in, day out reality of motherhood is not for the faint of heart, but you probably didn't need me to tell you that.  This is where it really begins.  I push the baby out and everyone's happy, I go home from the hospital, I heal.  That precious newness wears off.  The miracle of birth becomes just a memory, more distant every day.  But here's something you don't read in the childbirth books: mommas never stop laboring or delivering.  Birth was the easy part - it had a beginning and an end.  I had a team of people supporting me, surrounding me (literally) - wiping my forehead with cool washcloths, wafting lavender oil under my nose, holding my hands, watching, waiting with me.  Team Motherhood is not so well equipped or pampering.  There's loads upon loads of laundry, not even counting the spit-up-on sheets or the dirty diapers to wash, none of which will dry on the line because a storm's moving in.  There's people wanting to be fed and a refrigerator out for repair, a car broken down on the side of the road.  Counselors called into the preschool classroom.  A three year old craving my endless love and devotion.  A baby to feed (but let's be honest, he's the easy one in the family).  Jesus wasn't kidding when he said there's enough trouble for today.  Motherhood is sanctifying, to say the least.

But take heart, laboring mommas everywhere: the creator of women and wombs placed deep truths into this season of motherhood. Perhaps the laboring and delivering never ends because it's part of a special kind of spiritual path designed just for us.  We learn to breath. We pour out ourselves so that others may have life.  We labor to bring forth life, then we labor to keep it going.  The only way to get through life is the only way to get through labor: take courage and keep going forward.  Our bodies deliver this baby once, then we must deliver them over and over times ten thousand to God.  Among the many things that the Proverbs 31 woman has going in her favor, one thing I can learn from her today: she can laugh at the days to come.  Looking forward to this kind of labor and this season of life can be overwhelming.  But we struggle and we sacrifice, and, somehow, we persevere.  This season is the perfect training ground for our spirits, where we see up close -and reflect, as best we can (with plenty of mishaps, I assure you)- God's tender loving care toward us.  We may not have time or energy for Bible studies or solitude to fill the soul, but we study his truths in our children and in ourselves every day.  Ellis has given me way more lessons on patience and humility in the past few weeks than I could learn getting a theology degree.  Maybe this is what Paul the apostle was getting at when he said that women would be saved through childbearing.

Those promises I clung to then, still hold true now - His grace is sufficient for me, He holds me by the hand.  His yoke is easy and his burden is light.  Whether I'm pushing out a baby or a certain three year old is pushing my buttons.  Whether my body is healing or whole. God designed every piece of every season of our lives and called it good.  He births beautiful things out of our messes.  And He has a purpose for it - to teach us, to sanctify us, to help us see that these days, every single one of them, are made out of miracles.  Not just in the creation, birthing, and newness of life but that we are being recreated and renewed, day by day.   Come what may, in labor and in life.

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© Reuben + ErinMaira Gall