Embracing the pain (sort of)

If you’re here for the recipes, you may just wanna skip this post.

The more I think about it — and I’m thinking about it a LOT lately — there are so many incredible parallels between natural childbirth and our walk in relationship with our Creator.

Something that has been percolating through my thoughts is the idea put forward in this verse:

To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children…” (Genesis 3:16a)

There is the idea floating about, in some Christian circles that a woman just MUST birth in pain;  it’s part of the price she pays for the fall of man, the sinful nature, the original sin of Adam and Eve, et al.

I’m not saying that childbirth is or even should be 100% pain-free — though I’ve heard of pain-free births, I’ve not experienced any.

HOWEVER.  I think the focus on the pain misses the point.

In Christ, there is never purposeless pain.  GOD DOESN’T JUST HURT US TO HURT US.  Ever.  I’m not saying that God’s ways are entirely pain-free.  Until we get to heaven, there simply IS going to be pain, as part of our lives here in on earth.  However, our God isn’t sitting up there in heaven saying, “You’re in pain?  You deserve it.  Ha ha.  Part of the Fall, baby!!  It’s the price you pay.”

Every trial we endure — no matter what kind — even if not directly ordained by God (though some are!), can ALWAYS be ultimately beneficial for us as His children.  Always.  God isn’t a masochist.  The pain He allows us to go through will — if we submit to His ways and if we’re intent on gaining HIM in the process — produces a “harvest of blessing” if we don’t try to opt out of the trial, or circumvent His process, seek a shortcut, or try to… self-medicate, rather than lifting our heads to look squarely in His face and say to Him, “What are you trying to teach me, Father?”  If, instead, during difficult times, we yield completely to Him, and allowing Him to teach us, to bring us closer to His heart, to — for our own benefit — prune sin or dysfunction or destructive behavior from our lives, we’re ALWAYS better off in the end.  His ways have an end, and the end is GOOD.

He disciplines those He loves.  I’m not suggesting that birthing a child is discipline or God correcting us…  But the experience of birth can DEFINITELY be used by Him to perfect us in His love — our experience of His love for us, our love for our husband, our love for our newborn, our love as a family, our love for Him…

I posted recently on I John 4:18a (NASB) “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…”  But, I want to take this a step further.  I know that the Amplified Version makes for awkward reading, but hang with me here:

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].  I John 4:18 (AMP)

What I suggest, and what the very end of the Amplified Version of this verse is saying is that, when we walk in fear of punishment (i.e., God is out to get us, God just wants to hurt us because we have it coming to us), that perspective is based out of a lack of understanding of His love.  “…he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love.”

GOD LOVES US.  He really does.  And when we see birthing as an extension of His love — even when it involves pain — and instead of being afraid of the pain, choose to embrace His process, and trust Him completely, we will then reap the fruit.  In terms of natural childbirth, the “fruit” doesn’t just refer to the baby, but (among other benefits):

  • Feeling profoundly grateful to Him
  • Closer to our husband and more appreciative of him
  • In awe of our Father God’s creative power working through us
  • An overwhelming experience in delighted love
  • A profound sense of a job well-done
  • Optimal physical health (natural birthing is better for both mother and baby)
  • Creating an amazing experience for EVERYONE who witnesses or participates in the birth
  • And a billion other things, most of which you could not anticipate or appreciate beforehand, but just have to experience to believe and understand.

In short (or, shortish), PLEASE don’t just brace yourself for pain and think that pain is just “meant to be”.  Embrace the process, even if the process involves pain.

Next up (as soon as I can get it written down, in my spare time between tending to my home, homeschooling four of my five children, baking the perfect gluten-free loaf… ):  why just “getting through” labor short-sells you as a mother.



About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on August 30, 2011, in Babies, Bible, Birth, Christian Living, Christianity, Encouragement, God/Christianity/Church, Health, Marriage, Medical Stuff. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. My experience has shown me that when a woman understands her body, works with labor and gives birth with encouraging and supportive care givers –then she is developing confidence for her role as mother. It is even better when she recognizes that God is good and has designed her body with the ability to nurture new life and give birth. It have been deeply moved to hear a young woman pray to the Lord for help during labor. I have been honored to witness a husband pray for his wife during labor. I have shared an intimate moment when I have been asked to pray with a woman as she approached birth.

  2. This is GREAT!

    “…he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love.” What a wonderful birth meditation for anyone going to pregnancy or birth with any fear! Embrace His LOVE!

    And this part: “In short (or, shortish), PLEASE don’t just brace yourself for pain and think that pain is just “meant to be”. Embrace the process, even if the process involves pain.”

    If we could only grasp that bracing ourselves for each contraction and just hanging on until it’s over is standing in the way of our own process and missing the whole point. When we really give over to the process and let it overtake us–relinquishing control–that’s when there is power for birth and everything goes smoother.

    This whole concept is applicable for more than just birth, too. Are we living the Christian life out of fear of punishment? Do we see every obstacle, illness, etc. as our due because of original or individual sin? If so, I think we’ve really not grasped what Christ did for us! He paid for that already! He’s not constantly out to teach us lessons through physical pain, disease, abuse, etc. It’s missing the whole nature of God and of the completion of Christ’s sacrifice. Yet, so many of us live life out of fear of punishment. Every time we have cramps when we menstruate we curse Eve and that sin–somehow we are still paying for original sin every month. Every time we get sick we think, “Well, God’ chastises those he loves.” (Which is true….) but, what a minute….do you think God has a ledger and He’s having to punish us for every infraction we commit against His law? I refuse to believe that the Lord is so petty. 🙂

    Oh, this needs some deep meditation….for birth and beyond!

    LOVELY post, Karen!

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