God's word is amazing isn't it?
I could stop this post right there, but I miss writing on this blog and wanted to share something I read tonight. Both the kiddo and the hubby fell asleep before 9 (after a long day of kayaking and playing in the pool) and I find myself with the unique situation of a quiet (mostly clean) house. I sat down to read the Bible and take advantage of this time.
At the beginning of this year, I resolved to read the Bible through in 90 days. I have tried the One Yea.r Bible several times and I always fall apart by August, get behind, can't catch up and quit. But I thought I could do this. 90 days. 3 months for me to read the Bible. I got behind a day once or twice, but I got caught back up and I did it. I loved this reading plan because it kept me focused. But one thing about reading that much scripture everyday and staying on that schedule is that sometimes I felt like I just didn't have the time to dwell on the words. I LOVED using the Bible app on my iP.od touch because I could "bookmark" scriptures I wanted to study and I have been going back through the bookmarks and trying to dig deeper.
Tonight, I was in John. It's near the end of Jesus' earthly life and he is trying to describe to his disciples what is getting ready to happen...
"You're going to be in deep morning while the godless world throws a party. You'll be sad, very sad, but your sadness will develop into gladness."
Then he goes on (as Jesus often did) and give them a visual description to help them understand their emotions during his death and resurrection...
"When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there's no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain. The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you'll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you. You'll no longer be so full of questions."
John 16:20-23 The Message Bible
I know that the pain and joy he is referring to here is the pain of his death and the joy of his resurrection. But part of me sees that this promise still holds true.
But the part at the beginning is what struck me tonight. Talking about the pain and joy of childbirth. I had to really try to remember the joy in the birth of my living child. Shyla Joy's birth was peaceful, calm and beautiful...but I honestly don't think I could use the word joyful to describe her birth. Jakin's birth was more traumatic for me. After two c-sections and absolutely no idea what to expect with his birth I was more than nervous to say the least. Combine that with not being allowed to have an epidural and the sickness brought on by all the labor inducing meds and the fact that for the 2nd time in 14 months, I was preparing to see one of my babies lifeless...again...joy was not a word that I related to that experience.
At first reading, I felt a little robbed. I mean, what was he talking about? I understand the "hard times" of labor, but the "joy in the birth" part was making me really think. I had to search deep in my mind to recall Ethan's birth. The memories from that day are foggy (thanks to an over zealous anesthetist) but I did start to recall what it was like to feel him lifted from my body and hear that first (loud) cry. I remember struggling to see him as they cleaned him up and then they brought him to me to see as they closed the c-section. I remember touching his soft little face and that feeling of complete joy washing over me as I watched my husband carry our baby boy for the first time.
I had to talk with God about this. I'll admit that there are times I still question him. Like when a lady I know locally has a miscarriage on the anniversary of her first (and only other child's) stillbirth and the wonderfully sweet lady I met online who just had her 4th miscarriage in 2 years...
I know that life is not ours to understand and most of the time I don't ask these questions. But I have noticed them creeping in lately. And then I read this scripture. And then He speaks.
The joy that is coming will take away the pain of those memories. You'll no longer be so full of questions.
The joy that is coming will be permanent. Forever. And NO ONE can take it away! PLUS, our questions will be gone.
This joy is not anything that we can fulfill ourselves or seek to be fulfilled by another human, but will only be fulfilled when Christ returns or when he takes us home to Heaven.
The labor pains we feel are reminders that our joy will not be birthed here in this life, but in one far more permanent. These contractions of grief and longing will all fade when we look into the eyes of our savior and know that the joy we have been longing for is now the joy we will walk in for eternity.
One of the best parts is we wont be alone. Many of you that are reading this have loved ones who have went ahead and birthed their joy and are basking in the Heavenlies with our joy-giver. Once our labor here on earth is over, we will have our babies who were birthed into eternal joy. They literally never knew anything but love in this world and eternal joy in Heaven.
I'm in tears and awe that my God is showing me this tonight. While I may have a hard time using the word "joy" to describe my feelings on the days of two of my babies births, JOY was all they were experiencing. Babies that are born living are thrust from the comfort of their mother's wombs into a bright, cold, unknown world that is scary...but our babies...they were born into Heaven. They were born into warmth, love, angels and EVERLASTING JOY!