They say it’s one of the greatest experiences of a woman’s life.
Many say that it hurts in the moment, but afterward, when you’re holding that little baby in your arms, you can’t even remember the pain.
As a single woman who’s never given birth, I don’t have any firsthand experience. I do, however, have a friend who assured me after the birth of her first child that the phrase about forgetting the pain after the baby is born is completely UNTRUE.
Nope, even as she was toting her little one around weeks he was born, she could still remember the pain and was more than willing to describe in vivid detail every agony of her over 20 hours in labor. She described it as the most painful, messy, excruciating experience of her life---so bad that she thought her little boy may be an only child because she didn’t think she could ever go through that again! (Fortunately, siblings were not only on the agenda, but her next child came so quickly they barely made it to the hospital in time.)
After listening to her story and watching a few reenactments on television, even this girl with no experience can reach a few conclusions about childbirth
#1 It’s painful
#2 It’s messy
#3 You can’t wait for it to be over
#4 It’s an experience you’ll never forget
A few weeks ago, the Holy Spirit reminded me of these facts as I was praying about a new endeavor He was challenging me to pursue. I have to be honest and admit that when the Holy Spirit first started leading in this direction, I was so excited. I was filled with anticipation at all of the possibilities that lie ahead and I couldn’t wait to get started.
Over the next few weeks, the unbridled excitement began to fade as we encountered some bumps in the road. Nothing major---everything was a normal part of the process---but still, it was becoming clear that anything new comes with challenges and struggles.
As I journeyed even further following the Holy Spirit’s direction, the challenges and obstacles got bigger. The bigger the challenges, the harder and more stressful life became. Suddenly, I was realizing that adjustments were going to have to be made, both in the direction I was taking and inside of my heart and mind.
Then finally came the day when I was totally frustrated and prayed (a.k.a. asked, cried, begged) “Why is this so hard??? Didn’t You birth this vision in my heart? If I’m following Your will, what’s with the struggle?”
Here’s the answer I received:
Giving birth is hard. It’s messy. It’s difficult.
You don’t just walk into the hospital, pick up a baby, and walk out.
No, there’s a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and screams that go into it.
Birthing anything---a child, a dream, a business---all require hard work.
Still, just like childbirth, in the end it’s worth it. (Even if you DO remember how much it hurt.)
I have to admit that this time in prayer changed my perspective. Think about it: when a woman first receives the news that she’s pregnant, she’s filled with joy, yet she’s fully aware that the next few months aren’t going to be easy. She expects morning sickness, a growing stomach, swollen ankles, and all of the other symptoms that accompany pregnancy. When the time to give birth arrives, she expects there to be pain. It’s not a surprise that giving birth is hard. Even though the degree of pain may be greater or less than she expected, it’s not she’s completely shocked that childbirth is not a day at the spa.
Why then, do we, who understand this principle in the natural world, act completely stunned when the birth of a vision or the creation of something new is met with obstacles, struggles, hard work and downright pain?
Why do we think this is a sign that something is wrong when it’s completely normal?
Any new life is born out of struggle. We are wise to understand this and even prepare for it whenever God leads us in a new direction.
Don’t expect everything to go smoothly.
Be prepared for bumps and bruises and lots of adjustments along the way.
Don’t run at the first sign of struggle, but instead, accept that it’s all part of the beautiful process.
Embrace it, enjoy it, and continue on the amazing adventure of creating something new knowing that in the end, all of your efforts will be worth it.
The details that you’re stumbling over now will someday be the highlights in the birth story of God’s dream coming true in your life. Without a doubt, it will be one of the greatest experiences of your life.