A View from a Different Angle

Recounting His mercies has revealed a lot of simple things I’ve taken for granted — clean drinking water, hot showers, clean bedsheets, a comfy bed. There are so many small mercies I overlook daily. Each time I recognize one, somewhere within me settles, a bit more content with the “little” it appears I possess.

But that doesn’t mean I never complain. For several months I have bemoaned the fact that my Kindle is in disrepair. A charging port gone bad has translated to blog growth limitations and fewer free eBook deals. Now that I’m nursing a newborn again, I miss the book-reader-social-media all-in-one. And then I was disappointed to find that used Kindle Fires on eBay sell for the same as a refurbished one from Amazon — more than I’m currently willing to pay.

So I complained. And I gave up on the possibility of ever getting ahead on blog posts again. (I like to handwrite the rough draft, but handwriting is presently extremely limited.) And resigned myself to having a not-smartphone for the foreseeable future.

And then God. A couple nights ago, I was trying to fall asleep and couldn’t. So I picked up my phone to type out thoughts for a blog post. “I’ll save it to drafts,” I initially thought, “and then type it up sometime tomorrow.” But before I finished, I realized I could text it to my email, foregoing the “type it up later” step. Even though typing on my phone is less than ideal, it still gets the job done and helps me get ahead on blog posts.

Another mercy. One I overlooked. One I am now grateful for. And suddenly, a Kindle isn’t as needful as I once thought it was. It’s the little things, folks. It really is.

Come join our New Every Morning link-up recounting God's mercies (Lam. 3:22-24)!

Wanna join us? It’s simple. Grab a journal and start writing. What are you thankful for in this moment? What have you overlooked that He has graciously given you? Then, each Thursday, join us as we revel in His mercies! If you have a blog, we’d love for you to leave your link. If you don’t, feel free to leave your list in the comments!

Mercies to date: 1270. Take a look at this week’s list:
1240. an Amish Christmas cookbook at the library that encourages me to try some simple recipes {unlike Pinterest}
1241. figuring out which cloth diapers work with Trooper’s tiny legs
1242. a common/shared story with the lady who brought us supper. 2 homebirths, 2nd ending up in the NICU with breathing trouble
1243. a celebration care package from Sparkle — HOT CHOCOLATE!!
1244. Pilot coming home from his woodworking class and loading the dishwasher and helping get Trooper to sleep while I accomplished Things
1245. Buddy adapting well to Trooper
1246. books to read — for my sanity
1247. double duty dryer – dry the clothes, humidify the apartment
1248. pleasant bedtime routine & a content baby
1249. the most important task (writing thank you notes) being mostly accomplished before Trooper’s evening awake time
1251. disposable diapers for less than 15c each
1252. 5 1/2 hours of straight sleep
1253. lots of time to read {since Trooper isn’t conducive to writing right now}
1254. Buddy waking at 8:15; Trooper waking at 9:45
1255. leaving the house just a few minutes behind schedule
1256. Buddy communicating his need for a potty break while we were driving
1258. a laid back Sunday afternoon
1259. Trooper weighed in at 10lbs 2 oz!
1260. a package in the mail with warm jammies for Buddy and Trooper
1261. staying home to enjoy the snow from the INSIDE
1262. plastic for the windows and a husband with the know-how/drive to install it
1263. teaching Buddy “Go, Tell it on the Mountain”
1264. figuring out how to use my phone to aid in blogging
1266. hamburger soup in the freezer
1267. family read-your-own-books time
1268. Pilot saying, “Son of mine!” in a deep voice and Buddy cracking up attempting to copy Daddy
1269. last minute giggles (Buddy) before Pilot left for work
1270. finishing a book (on gratitude!) in 2 days!
 
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Multiplication Applied

Something’s missing. We’re barely managing to add, oftentimes subtracting, but definitely not experiencing God multiplying our time, efforts, or resources. How do we get from where we are to there? There’s gotta be a way.

Remember what delineates multiplication from prosperity gospel? Motivation. It must be about God’s glory…not yours, not mine. Shew, that can be a hard place to get to. Especially when you’re seeking God’s providence for basic needs, for making ends meet during a tough month.

Lord, teach me to be grateful for what You’ve already given so my heart and eyes are ready to witness Your might and not just take it for granted. Lord, multiply my efforts in order to magnify Your name. Lord, do whatever will bring You the most glory.

Sometimes, that’s the kind of prayer I have to pray. But it’s the kind of prayer where the answer is always yes. He will always do what brings Himself the most glory, whether that’s immediate or delayed multiplication. Maybe Usually my heart needs change to take place first.

Once we’ve experienced His multiplication, we can 1) remain the same or 2) become a multiplier. Continuing to receive His multiplication without becoming a conduit of it to others is like building a dam; it’s great if you’re trying to grow a pond into a lake… not so great if you’re attempting to create a steady flow of water.

In our family, we want to be careful where we invest our resources and our time.  We look for people and ministries that are multiplying — bringing glory to God in exponential ways — and then aid them. They don’t have to be huge ministries to be multipliers. They do have to be creating a ripple effect in their sphere of influence, and not for their own sake. For God’s glory.

Multiplication doesn’t have to be a hard concept to grasp. But as with any of the other ways of eternity, don’t look for change where you aren’t being intentional.

Your turn: What is your biggest hesitation with multiplication as one of God’s ways of eternity? Where are you already experiencing multiplication — that you hadn’t noticed before?

Ways of Eternity: Multiplication

We’ve looked at some interesting, often overlooked ancient paths that God set into motion. Many of us don’t even know they’re missing from our day-to-day lives. Blessing. Covenant. Rest. Order. Things that help life run more efficiently (if not smoothly) when we reintroduce the concepts. Perhaps the most misunderstood way of eternity is today’s topic: multiplication.

multiplication

When we hear a Christian talking about God multiplying resources or using the phrase “supernatural multiplication,” it’s easy to label him or her as a prosperity gospel follower instead of listening to where they’re coming from. Maybe too easy.

With the prosperity gospel message, you will always hear phrases like:

  • God wants you to be happy!
  • God is just waiting to give you your dream.
  • Give your [amount of $$] and God will multiply the blessings in your life.

But these statements aren’t 100% accurate. That’s how you know they promote the prosperity gospel agenda. So, how can “God multiplying resources” or “supernatural multiplication” ever NOT be related to the prosperity gospel?

It’s simple. It’s NOT prosperity gospel if
God’s glory is the primary motivator, the ultimate aim.
Because it’s not about you or me.

A quick (or not-so-quick) examination of Scripture reveals a plethora of ways God showcased the ancient path of multiplication:

God didn’t dabble in multiplication; it’s part of His character as El Shaddai, the all-sufficient God, the Total and Complete Provision. Multiplication miracles are not the “norm” for us because we cannot schedule them on a regular basis. They are  normal for God, because He does whatever will bring Himself the most glory.

 Your turn: How have you seen God’s multiplication in your own life?

Uncommon

Here it is, November, the month to be grateful, and I’m finally getting around to writing about two someones who hold a special place in my heart.

A little over six years ago, I met my best friend at camp. He’s a one-of-a-kind guy, totally unique.

Over the last 5 years or so, I’ve realized something… To raise this one-of-a-kind, totally unique guy was a pretty great undertaking. And God gave him the parents he needed to become the person he is today. For His glory.

Last week, my mom-in-love stayed with us. For the whole week. She got up with Buddy in the morning as Pilot and I recovered from ragged-and-worn NICU life. She put him to bed so I had another week before figuring out how to juggle 2 little people bedtimes. ;) And she read a whole lot of books in between. She did some laundry (including the folding part!) and kept our dishes from piling up. Basically, she kept the house from falling apart while I focused energies on the little guy nestled in my arms.

This is a big act of kindness, following up multiple smaller acts of kindness (and a couple other big ones) we’ve received from dad- and mom-in-love in the years since we entered covenant. And, at least from the way culture describes the maze of in-law relationships, I’m pretty sure ours fits into the “uncommon” category. Even if we eat our spaghetti differently or root for different college teams.

Family is our first opportunity to practice (and teach) community. It is sad that so many cannot practice it in this context these days. So rather than taking it for granted, I’m taking it for grateful. :)

Come join our New Every Morning link-up recounting God's mercies (Lam. 3:22-24)!

Wanna join us? It’s simple. Grab a journal and start writing. What are you thankful for in this moment? What have you overlooked that He has graciously given you? Then, each Thursday, join us as we revel in His mercies! If you have a blog, we’d love for you to leave your link. If you don’t, feel free to leave your list in the comments!

Mercies to date: 1239. Take a look at this week’s list:
1215. longer alert periods for Trooper
1217. potato soup Mom made while she was here and left in the fridge — a quick lunch
1218. seeing Trooper scrunch down and curl around my belly in a way similar to his breech position
1219. white chicken ranch chili for supper via the Tabors
1220. the Body of Christ
1221. finding Deut. 23:5 as I searched for verses about blessing
1222. Mrs. Betty calling to check on Trooper
1223. Nana reading LOTS of books with Buddy
1224. rescheduling an appointment for a better day — and getting a home visit out of the deal!
1225. Pilot’s brother coming with dad-in-love (unannounced) and having a dairy-free meal at the ready for him!
1226. friends Reed and Caitie coming to meet Trooper
1227. Mrs. Betty stopping by to meet Trooper and spend some time getting to hold him
1228. Pilot picking up eggs and bacon for breakfast on his way home from work
1229. arriving at church 30 mins early to show Trooper off
1230. audio working in the cry room!
1231. a church with a culture that children are a blessing
1232. Pilot’s parents taking us out to eat after church
1233. friends who ask for guest posts for their blogs
1234. friends who submit their guest post draft 10 days early
1237. that God protected Pilot’s maternal grandfather and my maternal grandfather during WWII so that we could bring Him glory in THIS generation
1238. leftovers…and a microwave
1239. that craniosacral specialists exist and that she was able to open more space in Trooper’s skull for growth & bring down his way-high palate
 
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Blessing Applied

Yesterday, we talked about how blessing is one of God’s ways of eternity. Scripture is laden with examples of both God blessing His people and of His people blessing each other. As His people today, incorporating blessing – spoken and written – into our mode of operation takes some practice. Most of us feel awkward the first few times we do it, unsure of what to say or how to go about it. But isn’t that true of any “skill”? It requires time, effort, intentionality, and practice.

Where do I begin?

Look at the blessings in Scripture. They are great models for what to speak into others’ lives. Are they based on current accomplishments? Present strengths? Future character qualities or promises?

Speaking Scripture is also a great, infallible way to bless others. Apostle Paul often wrote some kind of blessing in each of his letters. Turning Psalms into specific prayers can also accomplish “blessing” while avoiding the discomfort of having to figure out what exactly you would like to say.

Forming a new habit involves dedication to seeing it through… and sometimes that’s where we get hung up. The hardest part is often just starting. So keep it simple. Maybe find one specific phrase or paragraph you can repeat to your spouse, children, or other loved ones at a certain time of day. When Buddy was younger, we would regularly say, “Buddy, we are so thankful for you. God put you in our family at just the right time!” This communicated that he belonged and that he was not a mistake. The simplicity did not negate the intentionality of such a blessing.

Resources for Further Study

If my discussion of blessing as an intentional time to speak encouragement over others is the first you’ve heard of it, it won’t surprise you when I say that resources for learning about how to bless others aren’t plentiful. Here are a few I can easily recommend:

Empowering Generations– The book I wrote to spur on other believers to look at Scripture and learn how to bless. We read one blessing to Buddy at nap time and another at bed time.

Blessing Your Spirit – Pilot and I were given this book as a wedding gift. We don’t use it regularly, but it is a great resource for written blessings.

The Blessing Challenge – A combination effort from Dr. John Trent (co-author of The Blessing) and Focus on the Family plus tools for making the blessing a reality in your family

So, how ‘bout it? Who will you seek to intentionally bless this week?

Your turn: What is your biggest struggle with blessing others? Is this a foreign idea to you?

Ways of Eternity: Blessing

weblessingWe wander through life most of the time. Some of us struggle to understand who God created us to become. Others have difficulty ascertaining why we are here — What exactly is our purpose? It’s not really surprising when we come to the realization that words always have power. As parents, siblings, coworkers, friends, our words are never neutral; they either speak life or death.

God’s words are never neutral either. He doesn’t speak promises or judgment for the sake of information; His Word is powerful (Heb. 4:12). If “blessing” is an ancient path, we should see it throughout Scripture… and we do:

  • On Day 7 of creation, God rested and blessed creation. (Gen. 2:3)
  • God blesses Abraham. (Gen. 22:15-18, 24:1)
  • God blesses Samson. (Judg. 13:24)
  • God the Father blesses Jesus the Son. (Matt. 3:17)
  • Jesus blesses Peter. (Matt. 16:17-19)

He sets a choice before the children of Israel:

obey and reap the blessings of life
OR
disobey and reap the curses of death. (Deut. 28)

He doesn’t mince words.

As the people of God, He expects us to emulate the blessing by intentionally speaking words of life to others. He gave us examples of this in the Bible:

  • Melchizedek blesses Abraham. (Gen 14:18-20)
  • Isaac blesses Jacob. (Gen. 27:27-29)
  • Israel blesses 11 sons and 2 grandsons. (Gen. 49:1-28)
  • Boaz blesses Ruth. (Ruth 3:10)
  • Saul blesses David. (1 Sam. 26:25)
  • Elizabeth blesses Mary. (Luke 1:42-45)
  • Zacharias blesses John. (Luke 1:76-79)

But in our day, we settle for pats on the back and “good job” comments — positive remarks that are tied most often to our performance and accomplishments. This kind of counterfeit blessing distracts from the blessing God gives (and desires for His people to give) — one totally founded on our intrinsic worth as His image-bearers, created for His glory. How often we miss out on the thrill of giving and the joy of receiving words that speak life in a powerful, intentional way!

So, tell me… how have you experienced a time of blessing in your life? Can you recall a specific time where your parents/teachers/mentors/etc spoke life and hope to your spirit?

Ways to Minister to a NICU Family

The overwhelming nature of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can paralyze even the most organized families. Suddenly you are living a life you never planned, and since you didn’t plan to live this way, figuring out what you need becomes a daunting task in and of itself.

NICU

Friends and family may say this simple phrase: “Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.” (or the variation “Let us know how we can help.”)

In our experience, we wanted to be able to say, “This is how you can help!” — but we didn’t even know where to start. We didn’t spend a huge amount of time at the hospital until about day 4, and we didn’t really have an idea of how quickly Trooper would come home until then. It was hard to know what to ask for at the beginning.

As the week progressed, we became more aware of what would help us in our situation. If you’re looking for ways to help a NICU family, here are some ideas to consider. Note: Because each family has different dynamics, these will not all apply to everyone. If you aren’t sure whether one of these ideas would truly help the family you’re ministering to, be sure to ask them.

  • Journal and pen — I found out quickly how the days blended together in my memory, and I wanted to record the journey for recollection later. My sister also suggested using a journal to write down what doctors and nurses reported when, so you would have a written record if you were getting 2 or 3 differing opinions.
  • Gift cards — Sometimes you just need to get out of the hospital. Sometimes you need a bite to eat that isn’t cafeteria food. And sometimes you need “food” that will get you through the transition-to-home stage. Gift cards for grocery stores can also be helpful.
  • Gas cards — Particularly if the family has a decent commute to the hospital, gas cards can ease any budgetary concerns that might play into the frequency of their visits.
  • Bags of snacks — One family gifted us with 3 large sacks of snacks and breakfast foods. This was so helpful for us, especially on the days we forgot to eat a “real” meal because of logistics or meetings. Note: Be sure to check with the family to see about any food allergies.
  • In-home meals — It amazed me how one meal being brought in could free up so much mental power. Plus, if the meal was large enough, there could be leftovers for another meal or two!
  • Activity bags — Hospital waiting rooms can be rather difficult for older siblings. A new coloring book, play-dough, or a puzzle could be a welcome diversion from the mundane.
  • Visiting with, listening to, praying with them – We all have a story to tell… and sometimes, telling someone who’s “outside” of the emotion and doctors’ orders begins the process of renewal and recounting God’s goodness, even in the NICU world. Even if you can’t fully relate to where the family is experiencing, listening is a huge help.
  • Older child care – Is there an older sibling who’s stuck in the midst of back-and-forth? Spending an hour reading books or coloring can allow Mom and Dad to sit with the littlest child…together.
  • Fill their freezer — Figuring out what to cook after arriving home can be an unnecessary source of stress. Prepare (or buy) some casseroles to be frozen. This way, the family can use them as slowly or quickly as needed.

Are you long distance from the family in need? You can help, too!

  • Snacks from Amazon or Walmart.com — Let the technology of the Internet do some of the work for you! If there is a Walmart near the hospital, you can select snacks (or even microwaveable meals!), purchase them online, and have them “shipped” Site to Store. The family could then send someone to pick up those items, without paying a penny. Amazon, on the other hand, can be a bit more pricey, but you can have more obscure snacks or groceries sent straight to their home.
  • Practical needs – By the same token, paper goods can come in handy when the transition-to-home takes place. Paper plates, paper towels, toilet paper, and the list goes on… You can help keep the family well stocked so they don’t have to make a midnight run for toilet paper.

Send Scripture verses as encouragement and reminders of Truth. Pray. Tell them you’re praying. Ask how you can pray more specifically — especially for Mom and Dad individually as they pour themselves out for their little one. Ministry doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all for NICU families, and it probably shouldn’t be. Look at the gifts God has given you, the things you enjoy doing to help others, and start there. You may be just what that family needs “for such a time as this.”

Your turn: If you have experienced the NICU world, what was the best help you received? What would you suggest NICU families ask for when the “How can I help” question arises?

Lost in Translation {review}

I squealed when this book came in the mail. Of all the books I read in the days before Trooper was born, this was my favorite. It really is a simple read… nothing too complex or overwhelming. Some people might lump it into the “coffee table book” genre.

Lost in Translation is a book of more than 50 words from languages around the world that don’t directly translate into our English vernacular. Being the language-lover that I am, I found the explanations to be intriguing, and the complicated nature of other languages fascinating. It’s one of those gift-able books for people who are 1) hard to buy for and/or 2) love the intricacies of language.

I did have one hangup with the book. It’s great for me to see the word transliterated into English… but several of them were unpronounceable from my limited English knowledge. Sure, I could guess, but my guessing isn’t likely to be accurate with words from the Nguni Bantu language or even German! I would’ve enjoyed having a phonetic guide so I could at least attempt saying the word — and be able to butcher it less abusively. ;)

All in all, it’s a neat book to have on your shelf.

I received this book for free via WaterBrook Multnomah for this review. The perspectives above are entirely mine.

His Goodness

momThe day came. Finally.

I had naturally taken for granted that the day Trooper made his grand appearance into this world would also be the day he would settle into our arms. But he didn’t.

After he was born, our midwife worked tirelessly with him to help him breathe. She encouraged me to talk to my baby, and at one point, I was able to cradle his head in my hands. Never did I imagine that holding his head for a few brief moments would help carry me through 8 days in the NICU, anxiously awaiting the day I could hold all of him in my hands and snuggle him close.

Some mommas may be able to bond with their baby before he/she is born. Me… that bonding doesn’t happen until he’s placed in my arms for the first time. At least that’s how it was with Buddy.

With Trooper, though, bonding was a gradual process over a period of days. When he sat sedated on a cooling pad (therapy to slow his blood pressure in order to avoid seizures), all I could do was steady touch. No stroking. Just touch. When his eye mask came off, the next bonding stage was eye contact. I was over the moon as I watched his eyes follow my voice, trying to find the face that matched. Stroking touch followed. And feeding by bottle allowed me to help support his body in an upright position… as close to holding him as I could get without actually doing so.

And then I got to hold him. The tears struggled out of my eyes — I was considerably more relieved than any other emotion. I stayed at the hospital that night to hold him as much as I possibly could. So much time had been lost already.

broSomeone else had to wait his turn. Since it’s flu season, siblings aren’t allowed in the NICU area. So each day we would travel to the hospital, and Buddy would play in a waiting room with Grandma or Nana while Pilot and I went back to see his little brother. We took pictures and videos to show him Trooper’s progress. He talked about Trooper constantly. And then on Sunday, when I said, “Buddy, guess what? In two days…” he quickly finished it with “Trooper come home.”

He laughs at Trooper’s littlest movements… a hand stretching wide, a tongue peeking out of his mouth. He loves hit “iddle brudder” so much — but it was a hard few days waiting. I’m grateful for God’s mercy in Buddy’s comprehension of what was happening with Trooper.

There was never a moment that we feared death in Trooper’s life; that was perhaps the biggest comfort on the difficult days. We were also determined that whatever the outcome, Trooper would go home with us and be our son — and we would adjust accordingly.

So now we are home. And snuggles are pretty much unlimited. God has been gracious to us. We have witnessed His goodness in the land of the living! (Ps. 27:13)

Come join our New Every Morning link-up recounting God's mercies (Lam. 3:22-24)!

Wanna join us? It’s simple. Grab a journal and start writing. What are you thankful for in this moment? What have you overlooked that He has graciously given you? Then, each Thursday, join us as we revel in His mercies! If you have a blog, we’d love for you to leave your link. If you don’t, feel free to leave your list in the comments!

Mercies to date: 1214. Take a look at this week’s list:
1179. 30 minutes with Trooper after his eye covers and ear muffs came off
1180. gas prices under $3/gallon on the week we need to drive back and forth to the hospital
1181. during the first 5 days in the NICU, we never received one of “those” phone calls
1182. a “hands off” nurse who is willing to let us step in and help with Trooper’s care
1183. grandparents (our parents) who love on babies
1184. I GOT TO HOLD HIM!
1185. small sucking motion from Trooper around the ventilator tube
1186. Mrs. Betsy and Mr. Steve gifting us 3 large bags of snacks for the hospital
1187. NO MORE VENTILATOR!
1188. Pilot got to hold Trooper!
1189. going home with Mom and Buddy for a few hours to sleep in a bed
1190. baby coos/cries. Oh how I’ve missed them!
1191. MRI results: minor bleeding on the back of his head, between the skull and brain. Not atypical of babies after birth
1192. a sweet volunteer in the waiting room who showed Buddy pics of kangaroos and wombats from her trip to Australia
1193. progress toward discharge
1194. the Spirit’s prompting for me to pray for breakthrough in Trooper’s release
1196. Trooper’s belly line came out! We finally got to hold him (like, for REAL)!
1197. Mom getting to hold Trooper before she left
1198. Mom-in-law coming to stay for a week and help out
1199. provision gifts from our church family
1200. nursing for the first time with no major issues!
1201. We’re going home!!
1202. a sleep room available for my overnight stay — to catch 45 mins of rest at a time
1203. The Haskins providing us with an evening meal upon our arrival HOME
1204. an excellent and encouraging {and lengthy} postpartum visit with our midwife
1205. an excellent first night home
1206. that the hospital still had the breastmilk I’d pumped in their freezer
1207. a complimentary parking pass
1208. leftovers that become another meal
1209. a sleeping Trooper
1211. baby snuggles
1212. a written blessing for Trooper from Aunt Heather
1213. store credit at Kid to Kid to purchase some pants for Trooper
1214. Nana helping put Buddy to bed

 
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To the Christian Woman Who Experienced Pain in Childbirth

In preparing for [Baby’s] birth, I re-read old blog posts I wrote while pregnant with Buddy. One of them was titled, “Redeemed” — about how, as Christians, we’ve been redeemed from the Curse (Gen. 3:16) and pain in childbirth is no longer “necessary.” Upon sharing it again on Facebook, I received this excellent question:

What would you say then to a woman who did experience pain during childbirth?

I thought a long time before responding, replied short-and-sweet, and deduced that a blog post would be more effective for detailing my response. So, to the Christian woman who did experience pain during childbirth –

Sometimes… sometimes we don’t realize that we’re missing something, especially when what we experience is “normal” for most of those around us. Until I met two women who had experienced pain-free childbirth, the idea didn’t fit in my paradigm. It definitely piqued my interest, and so I found resources and studied God’s Word on it more.

Maybe we don’t take up our authority. Maybe we just don’t know that pain-free childbirth is possible. Maybe we unintentionally assume the power of our experience indicates that there can’t be another option.

So, to follow the original question, you might be asking…

Is it even possible to have a pain-free childbirth if you’ve already experienced pain previously?

Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes! One of the women I met had 5 children — of those 5, 3 had been pain-free births. Why did she experience pain with her first 2? She hadn’t learned that she didn’t need to accept what was “normal” since she had been redeemed from the Curse.

“God will meet you at your level of faith — whatever that level is…” p. 19, Supernatural Childbirth

In her book, author Jackie Mize talks about how her faith journey grew her over time in relation to childbirth. She was told she would never have children, and then she and her husband searched Scripture, seeking God on the issue. When she delivered her first child, they believed God for a short labor and delivery, but they didn’t know pain-free was even within the realm of possibility. For her other 3 children, her faith had grown to understand that pain-free was very much possible because she was redeemed from the Curse — Christ had physically borne pain so she no longer had to.

Understanding What’s Going On

Pain in childbirth is often associated with fear and/or the unknown. The more we understand what’s happening with our bodies, the more we know what to pray for and how to prepare. A contraction, for example, is a group of muscles tightening. Just like when you flex your arms to show the muscle definition (…or lack thereof ;) ), the muscles around your uterus tighten to help the baby move down and out. Do tense muscles in your arm hurt? They don’t have to in labor, either.

Pain-free ≠ Work-free

Pain-free childbirth doesn’t necessarily mean “easy.” Labor is still an appropriate term — childbirth is work! But when the pain does not overwhelm, focusing on the work simplifies the task at hand.

My sweet sister in Christ, I realize that our experiences in childbirth have been vastly different. This need not separate us. But I do want to let you know that sometimes there are more “options” than we realize… that we don’t have to go through what the media and our mom-friends say we do. God provided a Way to set us apart from all that surrounds us, the person Jesus Christ.

Your turn: Have you ever met someone who had experienced pain-free childbirth? What was your initial response?

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