(The book is done, but while I’m swamped setting up the logistics of launching it, my sweet friend and one of my favorite bloggers, Christy of fountains of home is here to share some beautiful thoughts. – Haley)
When I think back and look over my spiritual journey as it were, there are many different experiences which make up my faith as it is now. There have been times of spiritual isolation and times where I’ve felt far from God and His mercy. Or different periods when I’m basking in the glow of the spiritual high of feeling close to Jesus. Of course there are many ordinary days in life where I seem to get by just fine by not praying. Having no dire need, no real awareness of my need for saving, or extra grace, let alone miracles. Ordinary days where I do just fine relying on me, myself, and I.
That all being said, in the spiritual life I’ve always had a tough time trusting in God. That trust in God that everything will turn out alright, or trusting in letting go of ideas of doing certain things, aspirations or goals, so as to trust that God will show me His way instead. Not easy. I like to control as much as possible, including my ideas concerning the unknown, even when the unknown is left in God’s hands, with His mercy, love, and perfect will for my life.
My life has been one of comfort, there has never been tragedy, or a life-threatening event, or severe hardships that have made me cling to God. And even still, in a life of boundless blessings I still have never been able to give up my tight grasp upon control. But as my need to control skyrockets it simultaneously forces my trust in God to plummet. The two things cannot co-exist, one suffocates the other.
The small glimmer I’ve had at completely trusting in God while fully in the moment would be during childbirth. Now I’m not usually one to wax poetic, or see childbirth as a purely spiritual experience, because I think we all know that there is a lot of blood, sweat, and swearing that happens during labor and delivery. Or at least in every one of my births to a certain degree. But in each, which have all been vastly different experiences and run up and down the scale in terms of difficulty, there has always come a point where I could do no more. I have always reached a limit where I could not go on, or at least by myself, in all of my own littleness and me-ness. A place where I would hit the wall of pain, difficulty, exhaustion. I could not control or think or reason my way out of that place. Be it in a contraction, during transition, after endless hours of labouring, or pushing, these are the painful events that forced me to let go and trust with everything I could muster.
It’s then that I simply trust in God. Not out of my own holiness, or intellectual efforts, or nice feelings, but out of desperation. A desperation to be seen through to the other side of pain, unknowing, fear; to the beauty that is my child. And because of the gravity of those moments, even when those moments take forever, an awareness of the importance of trusting in God’s will at that instant and in that very vulnerable of circumstances overcomes me to the point where I feel the trust in a palpable way. I remember the feeling which can almost not be described other than to say its the most tangible moment of knowledge that I was completely trusting and surrendering to God. In turn, in trusting in God I felt a more intimate closeness with Him and a peace of knowing he was in control like none other I had previously known. Trusting during childbirth consumed every part of me, not just my body, but all my emotions and the entirety of the love I felt for my child.
Thankfully childbirth doesn’t happen everyday, but now I know what complete trust in God feels like in circumstances I can’t control. I want to trust that way in all circumstances, not simply in those times that are dire or dramatic but in all the little ways God calls us to trust. I still struggle with trust a lot but when I do it can be encouraging to think back to when I gave God my trust and felt Him to be so close. Childbirth, with its intense emotion and the epic proportions of importance to our hearts and lives, is such a time where we see the workings of God in our lives magnified. Its interesting that pain and love are always a part of these spiritual epiphanies showing our ever present need to trust in God when we have become accustomed to taking Him for granted in the comfort of our daily lives.
Christy Isinger is happy to be guest posting for Haley on a topic other than NFP for a change! She blogs random thoughts about family, books, living the Faith, and the joys and tribulations of keeping five kids aged 6 and under alive everyday. She has a penchant for Chesterton, mystery novels, British drama, and most alcohols. Come say hello at fountains of home or on Facebook!
Beautiful Christy, and great timing for me!
I know all women experience childbirth differently and I have no problem with people who need to do things differently than I do, but for me, I really do look forward to childbirth as the one thing in my life that shocks me out of my daily routine of ease and extreme physical comfort.
I know I’ll have this short time of physical pain and emotional overwhelmed-ness that I can offer to God before I go back to my regular life of air conditioning and automatic garage doors and always having enough to eat.
It’s a good reminder for this time around to focus on the trust!
Beautiful post, Christy!! And I have to say, Haley, every woman you’ve chosen to guest post lately has been someone who is a favorite blogger of mine! Thanks for encouraging so many inspiration posts 🙂
Love it Christy. I always seem to hit this point on the opposite end of the child birthing spectrum. Namely, the conception part. It’s always after I have given up all of my control and accept that I only have a small role to play, when God blesses us. (Clearly I need to do that more often.)
Yes!! Thank you so much for sharing, Christy! I love love love when I get to work with moms of faith who want to bring their relationship with God into the birthing process. It is amazing and my favorite way to do it. He wants to be a part of it so much and I love how your thoughts on the surrendering of control. I had such a hard time myself letting go of the control with my last birth and that made it so much harder mentally.
Jennifer @ Little Silly Goose says
So true Christy! On one hand I dread labor, but on the other hand, I do love working with my husband and my Lord to bring a new little person into the world. I cannot do it on my own, and that is part of what makes it such a beautiful and powerful experience.
Thank you for this beautiful post. I read it the day after coming home from the hospital with my twins, who were my second pregnancy. We nearly lost one of our babies; the 14 minutes before his birth during my emergency csection were frightening, and yet even in that moment I felt called to place my trust in God, no matter the outcome. Your post makes me cry!
Ashley Keller says
Christy – YOU NAILED IT!
2 years after you wrote this post and finally stumbled upon it through a friend who was passing along encouragement to help reduce the swelling of my pending labor fears of baby #2. Without a doubt, labor is where I reached my lowest of my lows…literally feeling like I was going to die. It wasn’t until then that my doula asked if I wanted to pray WHY THE HECK didn’t I think of this sooner?! Imagine if we could all plan to began labor praying and stayed in God’s presence throughout?? This is definitely my goal for #2.
Thank you for opening your heart and for this inspirational, yet raw, post.