The following blog post is written by my daughter, Mary. She wanted to share a few things that have been on her heart over the summer.
“In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the Author of their salvation perfect through suffering.” Hebrews 2:10
About twelve weeks ago, I found out I am expecting our first baby. A week after that, I kissed my husband goodbye as he left for a six-month deployment, our first as a married couple. I woke up the next morning with all the lovely symptoms of morning sickness, and they continued unabated until about a week ago. As a result I have spent the majority of the last ten weeks on my living room couch.
Being dependent is very difficult for me. I love to-do lists, staying busy, setting goals and accomplishing them. Before I found out I was pregnant, I had personal goals and plans for beach days and weekend trips to pass the summertime as my husband was away. Instead, I found myself unable to venture far from my home and in constant need of help, as basic tasks became more difficult than expected. The gift of new life is precious, and I am so thankful the Lord choose to bless us with a little one. However, while even being so worth it, morning sickness kicked my butt, and it was very humbling for me.
I prayed for strength but still found myself sleeping much of the day. I prayed for relief but continued to run to the bathroom throughout the day and night. I prayed for grace but still felt weak, tired, and sick. So often, when we pray, we expect God to resolve our immediate circumstance. Instead, He calls us to endure and gives us the strength to take on one more day, even when we don’t feel Him close. That in itself is grace — breath in our lungs and strength to face twenty-four more hours.
As I looked to the Lord for strength for each day, He gave me a distraction, a task to complete as I spent my days curled up on my couch. Over the summer, my mom has been working on the second edition of her book, and I was working alongside her as her editor. I spent hours reading and editing for my mom. Though He didn’t answer my prayers for relief from morning sickness, the Lord provided purpose. I feel so strongly that the world needs to hear my mom’s story. She speaks truth from love and experience, and being a small part of helping her accomplish this task has been such a joy to me. Knowing myself, I probably would not have devoted as much time as I did if I had been busy with my own plans. The Lord knows what we need. Even when that means spending a summer on the couch, with your husband halfway around the world.
A few days ago, I heard our baby’s heartbeat for the first time. It was surreal. For weeks, I have been unable to see proof of this new life growing within me. Feeling like you have the flu for weeks on end somehow doesn’t feel very life-bringing, and yet as I laid there, tears filled my eyes as I listened to the sound of life, strong and steady. Proof that every moment of suffering was worth it for this new little one coming into the world.
The world tells us good cannot come from suffering. Personal pain is to be avoided at all costs. Yet, God’s kingdom operates on different principles from the world around us. He makes beauty from ashes and brings life out of death. With Him, suffering, pain, and loss can lead to life and redemption. So often, suffering gives us tunnel vision. Jesus calls us higher.
Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” When it comes to Jesus, His suffering and death brought life the world had never known. It introduced grace beyond our comprehension and redefined the meaning of love. His suffering brought us life, both now and for eternity. God chose suffering as His plan to redeem the world because He knew suffering wasn’t the end of the story.
Even as I write and reflect on the last three months, I am aware that morning sickness pales in comparison to suffering many others have known. Regardless of where you find yourself, now or in the days to come, my prayer is for us to be able to lean into the hard things that come our way. May we be able to face pain and loss and hardships because we know suffering is never the end of the story. Jesus himself was made perfect through suffering because He trusted His Father would make all things right in the end. May we have the courage and endurance to do the same.
“So let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
P.S. For every Momma out there, you amaze me. Growing a tiny human is HARD and you all are rockstars. Thank you for choosing to bring life into this world. You are my heroes.