We Labor

Today, I noticed something. I tend to classify my spiritual life with weather metaphors. For a while, recently, I found myself dwelling in a desert place. Cold air swirled outside our doors and windows, but the air in my heart was dry and burning. I read my Bible and sang in worship on Sunday mornings. I prayed. Oh boy did I pray.

Then, thanks to small things here and there, I began to drink of God again. Raindrops came in the form of books in my mailbox, quotes by CS Lewis, conversations with friends, the daily love of my husband. I became a cactus, sucking up the rain for all I’m worth. Writing the Word on my heart is the best way to survive a drought in later years.
So water flowed, and then, almost before I drank my fill, the air went cold. Now, I am full up with words and prayers and the knowledge of my heart in His, His heart for me. But the water that once fell warm now stalls cold, frozen in my center, frozen in my home, frozen around my husband, my children, my life. I feel as if I’m eating ice chips…

And that’s okay. It’s hard, but it’s okay. Because, do you know when most women eat ice chips?

We eat them when we labor. We eat them from our husband’s hand, a nurse’s proffered cup. We eat them while sweat pours down our faces, while we cry and moan and push. Ice chips come when we have made it through nine months of pregnancy, when instead of ultrasound images and baby showers, we have IVs and epidurals, or tubs of water and hot towels. We have nurses and doctors or midwives and doulas. We have husbands or mothers or sisters or friends who hold our hands and remind us to breathe.

We labor.

It is scary. It is hard. It feels otherworldly, impossible, how can a baby come from there? How has it been nine months? How is it possible? A baby? A whole little human formed inside of us, and we have been waiting and waiting and waiting.

While we grew larger and lost sleep, change was already taking place deep down in the pit of us. It felt like the end would never come, like we would always be round and heavy and complaining of heartburn, of back pain, of bruised ribs and swollen ankles. We’ve been sensitive to the smells of our world, made sick unexplainable and craving things we never ate before. Our moods have been volatile. We feel rage and despair and overwhelming joy all in the space of three seconds. No one can keep up with our hormonal barometer.

But now it is time.

I am choosing joy today. I am choosing optimism. I am choosing to believe that winter means birth is on its way. I am choosing to believe these ice chips on my heart are a good sign, a sign that a seed was once planted and it has already been growing, growing, growing up inside of me. Before long, a new life will burst forth from God’s womb. She is me, and I am her, but we are something new.

Something new is brewing. The winter storm is raging, but God is coming through.

Life will birth anew.

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