Thursday, December 18, 2008

Permitting the Pain

It's been a while since I've written anything other than my adoption story. It is not for lack of material, believe me. God has given me plenty to write about in the past months, but I think I've been turning a blind eye to the lessons He's been teaching me. I finally decided to sit and listen to Him, and this is what is on my heart for today…

When I went through childbirth classes, our instructor admonished us over and over not to tense up during contractions. She encouraged us to relax during them, so that they could do what they were intended to do. Tensing up and fighting the pain only prevented the contractions from accomplishing their purpose. And the less effective they are, the more of them it takes to get the job done.

This all sounded fine when I was sitting in childbirth class 2 months before Grace was born. "Relax during contractions. Check," I thought as I went through my mental list. It was a much different story on June 2 when they actually hit. There is nothing about contractions that one could find relaxing. (Sorry, Erin, but it's true. J) I fought those contractions right up to the minute the epidural took effect! Aaaaahhhhh, now that was relief!

But 20 months later when I was back in the delivery room, something changed. I was not having an epidural this time (which is a whole separate story), but those contractions weren't any less painful. I did not, however, wish to endure any more of them than absolutely necessary. I remembered the advice of my instructor: "The more relaxed you are, the more effective they are. The more effective they are, the fewer it takes to get the job done." The contractions were painful, but they were purposeful, too. They helped me to bring my beautiful children into this world.

Recently, my spiritual life has been lacking something—me. As I have mentioned before on this blog, 2008 has been a very difficult year for me. Every time I got through one hardship, another came knocking at my door. I felt like the bear climbing over the mountain (You know, "The bear climbed over the mountain, the bear climbed over the mountain, the bear climbed over the mountain and what do you think he saw? He saw another mountain, he saw another mountain, he saw another mountain and what do you think he did? The bear climbed over the mountain…"), and I was exhausted. I finally told God, "Lord, I know that I have been growing closer and closer to You this year, and it has been really exciting. But the more I seek You, the more You test me and stretch me. I'm tired. I don't want to grow any more. I still love You, but I think I'm going to stop trying to seek You for a while."

And then life got miraculously easy. Because of course, walking away from God is always the answer to life's problems, right? Ha. On the contrary, I still had all of the same hardships to deal with, but now I was trying to handle them myself. I was fighting them, tensing up. And then one night, I remembered the instructor from my childbirth class. "The more relaxed you are, the more effective they are. The more effective they are, the fewer it takes to get the job done." God is working on me. He has a purpose for this pain. The more I fight it, the more I try to control it myself, the longer it's going to take to get the job done.

So I realized that it was time to stop my childish pouting, giving God the cold shoulder because I wasn't getting my way. And what was the result? I don't know yet. That was yesterday—I'm on day 2 of giving control back over to God. The pain is still there, but I'm permitting it to work in me, not fighting it. I know that God is in control and that there is something wonderful for me on the other side, if I allow Him to use this for His purpose.


Courtney said...

I needed this post today more than you know. It has been one thing after another w/us lately and I feel like I am drowning.

Wendy said...

(((Katy))) I could have written this post. I just started reading my bible against day before yesterday!

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erin said...

Thanks for listening to God's prompting, my friend. As the other two have already said, this was a well-timed post for many of us, I think. I'll be praying for you.

I love you!

Courtney said...

Thanks so much for your words of encouragement on my blog. They are much appreciated!