Have you ever had an issue on your heart you desired to share…to the point of bursting? For the past 24 hours my strength has been renewed by a verse in the Bible I had glanced over until I was expecting my 5th child. The circumstances surrounding his “knitting together” time and coming birth had me feeling vulnerable, unprepared, and fearful. Of course I couldn’t admit these things to anyone, except to the Lord. I vividly remember a close sister in Christ calling one evening, just weeks before I was due, and telling me she could hear fear in my voice. Fear? No, I’m not afraid.
We had moved to a new house–a very cozy but adorable old house in a quiet neighborhood–a few months prior with our growing family. The Pattison house was the right price, and although snug, we didn’t mind as the six of us snuggled up together during that cold, icy winter. We were preparing for our first homebirth, the fulfillment of a dream to birth at home. Our midwife was two hours away but we didn’t mind the drive for our lengthy prenatals. Katie was a calming influence who made us all feel so loved and the approaching event of the birth of our baby at home a sacred experience. But in the last month of my pregnancy, as the anxiety mounted and my pelvis ached so badly I could hardly move (we had no bathroom on the main floor of the house–I was climbing a LOT of stairs), I began to have doubts.
My previous births were all natural, though in the hospital because of our living arrangements, and I had been proud to have “done it naturally” when most women I knew were eagerly requesting pain meds during labor. I believed I had done it, I had persevered through the trying process of labor and birth, and that I was somehow better than those who hadn’t. Suddenly, that pride came crashing down as I realized that I couldn’t have done that. I wasn’t in control of my labor or my birth, nor was I master of the pain and intensity I had felt in all my births. I was terrified…and God was “knitting” me.
Thankfully, I am married to a godly, supportive husband who recognized what I could not see. He directed me to go to the Lord, and I began devouring every verse I could that spoke about God as our Helper and Strength. There I was, quickly approaching the day of my delivery, and acknowledging that the birth team–our caring midwife, her cool-headed assistant, our family homeopath, and my steadfast husband–could only help me so far. At the height of my fear the Lord brought a verse before my eyes that not only changed my perspective about labor and birth, but also my perspective about life:
A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice and your joy no one will take from you. ~John 16:21-22
I felt as though He had written that verse to my heart directly. My fear vanished as I rested in the comfort of His promise–that I would know a joy that could not be taken away! He had explained through a picture, a life-changing event that I could understand–labor and birth! The trial of laboring is much like our walk here on earth, full of pain, uncertainty, toil, and weakness. Yet like the birthing woman who has been delivered of her child and rejoices, no longer recalling her sorrows, we will rejoice with a joy that cannot be removed. No wonder He is called our Deliverer!
My labor began at around 11 PM on my sister’s birthday, and we notified Katie right away so she could get on the road. In the dark stillness of a winter’s night, I labored faithfully in the water, crying out to God my Helper when I had not the strength. Just before the sun rose I felt the overwhelming pressure of my baby’s head, and shortly after we received our new son into the world with tearful thanksgiving. My pain was gone, my sorrows forgotten, and my joy in my miracle and the Lord who had delivered me and will again one final day, was magnified.
Why this post? A Joyful Heart Health is about so much more for me than health and the physical ways we can hope to heal…it is matter of the heart. Truly, as the Proverb states, “a joyful heart causeth good health.” This is where genuine health begins. We may be blessed with physical wellness in our bodies, but if we do not have joy in the Lord and acknowledge that He is our only Physician and Healer, we do not have real health. My intention is to share with you a biblical perspective on what health truly is, how we may apply this understanding to our lives, and how we may use the many gifts God has given us to heal our bodies and alleviate the pain and discomfort of physical ailments as He allows. Join me along the journey, and may you be blessed with the health that comes from a joyful heart!