Thursday, April 28, 2011

the midwife of true life

My first time giving birth I was green. I had read all the books, I had committed in my heart to give birth naturally. I mean, I was convinced that it was the ONLY way to go. But the time came, my water broke 4 weeks before my due date, I was caught offguard, I went to the hospital, and when I didn’t have “productive” enough contractions, they started me on a healthy dose of pitocin. A few hours later, body shaking, lips quivering, and two centimeters, I welcomed the epidural. I was really green by then. Discouragement. Within the hour I was giving birth. I just hadn’t been able to relax under the stress of the pitocin. And I didn’t have anyone with me who could help remind me—there was no midwife to help me through and to see the light on the other side.

Since then, I have given birth enough times to know the roadmap. Here it goes: Excitement, Pain, Discouragement… Then just when you feel like you can’t make it any longer, you know its close; the most pain you’ve ever felt, LIFE!

So it goes with all else. Sometimes the soil of my heart isn’t fertile to receive the life-giving seed he wants to birth in me.

I was reading this morning and thinking about the pain and death of the curse that Adam and Eve brought on us, “…in pain you shall bring forth children.” (Gen 3:16b).

Death: it begins. It wages war. The first couple agreed with Satan and so united with death and suffering himself: a congenital disease, it spread. And we feel it. It still stings us each day: loss, pain, tragedy. Through their sin, we were transferred to death, and the law of sin and death reigned over us all, our lives forfeit.

The enemy was convinced that in bringing death, he was triumphant.

Its spread to us and the symptom is our appetite for sin; we can’t control ourselves, it never stops. Its taken away our sight. We can’t see goodness.

Israel, sin-cinged off the map, their people are taken into captivity. Jerusalem lies burnt. Dead. But in those ashes, there’s a stump where that tree once stood. The forest burned, and the people whom God had chosen looked as though they were gone forever, and with them the promises of God revealing himself through his chosen people.

Only in pain and in hard labor would there be any fruit. And God, the God of the impossible, uses the pain as a midwife to bring in life: light from darkness, hope from despair, beauty for ashes.

The shoot. The same tree new with life. Only in Jesus can pain make sense, for without it there would never have been one who was without sin to be sin for us. No way back.

In pain, you shall bring forth life.
And He did. It’s the way its set up. Hope. The pain is for a reason: it leads to life. Its our midwife. God always uses death to bring about life: he’s in the business of resurrection. It’s the one thing the enemy didn’t expect.

For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:21)

In death we take heart, for he has overcome. He works his grace in each circumstance, and through each little death we die, somehow if our response is right, then we overcome, too.

Even in the curse of death, God foreknew the way back to new life. If we know the roadmap, then its not scary, because we know that when death has fully worked its way in us, then we can truly live.

And in our pain, the great Physician can tell us that just when it seems too much to handle, just when its too hard, just when we can't make it, that's when there's life coming. He's birthing something from the inside of you and working it to its completion. And if we listen to his voice, he will help us to do it the best way, and he's with us. And its going to be beautiful.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

life in the blink.

Hi! I'm Joy.

I'm 28, married for eight years, have four who call me mama, and live in a Southeast Asian country as sharing the love of Jesus with those around us.

Our life is whirlwind, but I bet most people with small children would say that. The past few years I have had my share of groping, and coping, and seeking, but I have found that He is true, and there is LIFE to be found in this blink--this gathering of days that will one day turn into years.

Life in the blink--to taste and see in the midst of the mundane and cyclical redundancies of childrearing and keeping house, in the midst of teaching and giving, in the midst of friends and our midst is life, and life to the full. There is life to be had in this blink. And we can feast on it.

For one day we will blink and it will be gone. Empty nest. Chicks flown.

So, I share as a fellow sojourner living forward to the reality that I was made for another world, being carefully molded into a person I will need to be one day, but also living in the blink of now, straddling the time between worlds--not just a period of waiting or preparation, but there is life to be had in these moments, and one day we'll realize its been years. What will I have to show for it? A thriving relationship with God, children who know the grace of God and are confident in the love of their parents, or will there be chaff that is blown away?

And hopefully you'll join with me and share your thoughts, too. And together we'll grow until one day we'll release our little arrows to fly into all the things that God has for them. And we'll release them with no regrets, and we'll run joyfully together into the next stage of our lives.

No matter where I am, or you are, the boundary lines have truly been drawn for us in pleasant places...we have a beautiful inheritance! Won't you join with me in claiming it?

What makes this season beautiful for you?