On suffering and joy

As I write this, I’m resting after a good day of hard work and accomplishment. I love feeling like actual events happened in my day. I connected with dear people, loved my kid, accomplished tasks (groceries: more vinegar so my hubby can pickle more onions!), and rested. I also had some contractions. Of course, I’ve been having Braxton-Hicks for a few months now. I mean real contractions. These were small but they let their force be known: little reminders about what’s coming (and how much work I have left to do to get ready!).

So, sitting on my bed, laptop on my legs, I have been rubbing my belly and loving how my baby is responding to my touch. I know where his little bottom is and I push on it a bit so that he kicks his feet out into my side. Then he relaxes and I do it again.

With August I had so much time to meditate on the experience I was going through in pregnancy. This time around T-Rexy has already suffered second-child syndrome. Did he get a journal written to him for 9 months? Nope. I made my first entry to him last week. Have I considered how he is his own person, separate from me, separate from his brother, through whom I see all of childrearing? Hardly.

But, here he is moving when he wants to already, telling me he’s getting uncomfortable inside there. (Me too, buddy.) And I’m remembering that he’s real. A real baby is going to come out. Soon. And he will be a person. Not me. Not my husband. Not August.

Ummmm, yeah, Micha, you’re thinking. That’s how it works.

I know, I know. But sometimes a girl just needs to be reminded, right? I’m not just pregnant. I’m not just uncomfortable. I’m not just fearful. I’m also going to be holding a new person in my arms: a person whose life will matter because his existence already has been approved and planned by a God who loves him.

Today I had two wonderful and separate conversations with friends about suffering and joy. My friend Lily reminded me of the reality that Christ endured the cross for the “joy set before him” (Hebrews 12:2). Debby reminded me that there is deep peace in meeting with Christ in his suffering. No one wants to suffer, but I’m grateful for the small reminders today that Christ knows what it is to experience pain and fear. And that he did it for the joy set before him—which is us: our rescue, our redemption.

My joy will be immediate. I will hold a child who has never before breathed or looked into another’s eyes. I will be his mother and we will stare at each other in wonder.

Then, he'll probably be hungry and I'll get to the business of feeding and rocking and changing him and being Mama. And that's a beautiful task that holds in the same hands both the suffering and the joy, both the endurance and the bliss...

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