His Suffering Makes Sense of Mine.
(Favorite pictures I took at the zoo yesterday morning. It was so fun watching the little ones take in everything like it was their first time. . . but note to self: never walk zoo in hot weather over due. I think I can pretty much promise myself I won't be doing that again.)
"…We do not yet understand, but we know that Christ’s greater suffering makes sense of our lesser suffering. We know too that it is in fellowship with that Great Sufferer that our own experience of suffering may lead us to a greater Christian maturity…” Sinclair B. Ferguson
"…Whether peaceful blessing or painful suffering, all comes from the Father to conform us to the likeness of His Son. If our heart’s goal agrees with His goal for us, then we can learn to be content with whatever He brings to us, and joyfully thank Him…" Jerry White
There are so many who have such variances of suffering in their lives that I hesitate to breech writing on such a thing as suffering.
After all, what do I really know of it? Comparatively.
That is how I feel when I remember the reality of so many across our globe. Yet, I know we all have a taste of suffering in our lives - yes, to varying degrees, but suffering nonetheless.
Often times when we glance at someone from the outside, we have no idea what they have walked through on the inside. Others, like a homeless person, or child in Nigeria, well, it's a bit easier to see they have obviously had some suffering we might not understand.
But what about those who don't have the tell-tale signs? We usually don't have a clue what they are walking through.
I've never claimed to write here because I have answers.
I don't write today because I can say, "I have joyfully thanked God for all my sufferings." In fact, I write today to say quite the opposite.
I have not joyfully thanked God for all my sufferings. I write because I am a process - a simple person, saved only by His grace who has much to learn, much to grow in, much to discover.
I don't know that there is anything in my life that I could claim to have completed, or fully know.
I am no spiritual success. More recently, reminders of this have kept me from writing as I desire to. I have struggled with fears of spiritual critique of my journaling here. I've lacked the freedom I've known in the past, and I've been wrong to let this hinder me from writing when I have sensed very strongly that I was to write.
The reality of my life is that my sufferings expose my heart wide open and what is inside is more likely than not, resistance to pain and pursuit of comfort both emotionally and physically. . .
Ha, this might seem contradictory to the fact that I am in my eighth pregnancy! Who would be in their eighth pregnancy if they were resistant to pain and pursuing comfort?!
That in and of itself is a long story I don't know will ever quite make it to this blog.
I'm not sure even if I wrote it all out there would be much understanding, because I'm not sure I even completely understand what God has brought about for my life. I prefer to just state simply that God has a different plan for us all, and this has been His for us.
Our pregnancy path might seem like "irresponsibility" to some or "conviction" to others. For us, it's been NEITHER.
It would seem though that since a lot of my suffering has come through pregnancies, that I have either naively, or just deliberately, brought suffering upon myself, and thus have no reason whatsoever or excuse to mention sufferings or even be writing this post.
In some causes, yes, the pregnancy sufferings I've gone through were quite desired. . . well, let's rephrase that. . . the pregnancy SUFFERINGS weren't desired, but the pregnancy surely was! - I was never quite prepared for the depth of the sufferings I'd walk through, but nevertheless, knew they would come and I was more than willing.
In other cases, despite pregnancy prevention, God proved quite assuredly to us that His will is not held back by anything on this earth. He allowed us to look quite "irresponsible" to some, and to another group of people, "following biblical convictions," when it was neither! It's comical to some degree, on the other hand, it hasn't always felt or been so funny. We've been quite misunderstood in this child-bearing thing. But that's life.
That's not to say, I haven't 200% embraced and adored each child God has brought into this family in a very equal and wonderful way. It's just that in the cases of the unexpected blessing/child (and I do mean BLESSING to the fullest extent of that word), sadly, I was not so willing or ready to take on the physical suffering I knew would follow. . .
Not so prepared to walk through the pain, though knowing the outcome would be AWESOME and that unique and wonderful Baby would be worth it all.
That is how this pregnancy has felt.
In my humanness, in my weakness, or whatever. . . maybe just a desire to find and understand my own limitations, I was quite sure I could NOT mother anymore than seven children. I know this sounds a bit crazy, but really, up until last December, I'd not ever really felt an "I Can't" when it came to motherhood.
Overly confident? Blind pride? Given much preparation/experience for motherhood by my parents? Personality? God's grace? I'm sure a combination of all had something to do with that feeling of capability when it came to being a mom. Motherhood has been what I have loved, thrived in, pursued and desired.
But when we had seven, I was sure I'd reached my limit of what I knew I could do, and do it "well."
With this pregnancy, my first words were pretty much: "I can't."
There was this strong feeling of complete incapability.
"I can't go through another pregnancy," I cried.
"I can't take care of eight children and meet their emotional needs like I know they need me to. I don't want to fail."
"I just can't."
Now for those people who know me in real life, this "I can't" might seem like a good thing to finally hear me say: the relief that I might be coming closer to acknowledging reality and living less in denial.
"That's right, Hon, you CAN'T jump off that swing swinging that high and not hurt yourself."
"No, you CAN'T jump off the roof. . ."
"No, you CAN'T do a back flip in the front yard without a spotter yet."
"No, you really CAN'T pull off orange and turquoise with your coloring. . ."
"No, you CAN'T live in those conditions pregnant with three kids and remain healthy and/or sane."
"No, you CAN'T be a good mommy and be sick in bed month after month."
"No, you CAN'T remain in that relationship and it be best for you and your family."
So much of my past I believed the CAN about things when I needed to accept that CAN'T wasn't altogether bad, and maybe even best.
Overly confident might best describe my attitude, even without intentionally thinking it. Can't isn't something I've felt very much of. CAN has always been a motto of mine, or at least "I'll try, even if it kills me."
This can be a strength. . . or a double-triple weakness. It can be good, and it can be bad. It can be godly, or it can me humanistic and selfish.
My "Cans" haven't always been done in the strength of the Lord.
Human LIFE and the responsibility/pleasure of loving (being a mother) is beyond jumping off waterfalls, skydiving, running races, conquering design "impossibilities," difficult living conditions, and other physical and even emotional challenges.
These are little people we're talking about.
Deep hearts that need more than just a tired, over-worked, in-every-way-exhausted mama.
Yes, woman can have tons of children and be their "mother." But. . . No, not all women feel the same way about what it means to be a "mother."
Women all see their family's needs very differently. What we see motherhood to be is going to be different from one person to the next. The expectations we put upon ourselves are going to be different. Some are content to know their kids names and basic whereabouts, have them fed, clothed, educated and such. Others want so much more relationally out of motherhood and believe it's necessary.
We are all wired differently and our children are all wired differently. I think it's important that we know how we are made and how God has made our children. This will keep us from passing judgement on others who don't do or believe like we do in regards to motherhood/child-bearing because in knowing who God has made us uniquely to be, we will have wisdom to know that no other is created the same way and God has a different plan for us all in how we mother and raise our children.
Anyway, think that was a bit of a rabbit trail - if not most of this post thus far - but that's just how my thoughts run today.
So when I found out about this precious little girl I'm still waiting on, I was pretty sure I couldn't. Can't was the exact word out of my mouth.
It's not a good thing to go into pregnancy like that - but that is where God had me. It's where I had myself.
In this pregnancy I have had to come to grips with my inability, my feelings of insecurity in mothering another child, my lack of confidence that I can do a "good job" and provide what all these children need in every area of their lives.
I have not felt strong. I have not felt that feeling I am use to feeling, or want to feel, or insist on feeling. Confidence has alluded me completely. Weakness has consumed me. The last nine months has brought me physically lower than I have ever been before. There is nothing left in me.
The suffering has brought me to my knees, but I can't say it's always been in prayer, rather just broken me in complete, utter silence and discouragement. I have fought depression. No, I wouldn't say I've fought it. I've walked in it. I've tasted it. I have forced myself up out of it because I had no other choice. I know what it feels like to be so physically ill that there is no strength left to even think spiritually. There is just this existence.
There is no "I CAN." Only agony mouthed, "I can't. I can't do this."
In the midst of this, there has been something that has taken place that has been very good.
I would like to call it humility?
But I guess I know full well that I am not worthy of such a thing tagged on to my name.
Maybe reality of who, what and where my heart is?
I'd like to say it's been that kind of revelation, but not sure if that describes it best either.
A time of maturing through suffering?
No, I can't say at this point I've got much proof of the maturing.
Laying down my self-reliance that I didn't even know controlled me and grasping for God, in what has seemed like complete darkness? Only to find that I didn't even always grasp for Him, but rather stayed there willing to be empty and dead because I didn't feel any physical strength to do otherwise?
Yes, that sounds more like the last nine months.
Today, I want to know, am willing to know, can know, content to know who I really am when I find I really CAN'T do something. I'm pretty pathetic. Pathetically in need of a Savior. I've always thought I understood what it meant to "share in the sufferings" of Christ. I really haven't had a clue. I thought because I'd walked through some pretty severe sufferings in the past that I had tasted what Christ had done for me.
The past nine months, I have discovered I have not understood -- not understood like I do this morning. Not like I saw last night.
I was walking my two miles around the track. It was just instantly there in my heart. I was rounding the curved part on mile one on the west side of the track. It came just like that, "You are tasting a small taste of what I suffered for YOU."
My mind tried to wrap around it. I began to picture His death on the cross, the before part, the dying part. My carpal tunnel, cracked feet, pulled back, swollen body, aching head, stuffed up nose from cold coming on, and tight belly faded for just a minute. I pushed on in my walk.
His sufferings for ME?
Could I believe that He would suffer like that for me? Me, who has turned on Him? Me who has denied His power in my life through these nine months of physical suffering? Me who didn't call on Him when I could and should have? Me, who others think has it all wrong? Me, who complains to Him? Me, who says "I CAN'T!" when discovering this pregnancy? Me, with so much maturing to do? Me? Really, did he suffer so, so, so much for me?
How could I believe?
I turned the curve onto the next stretch and said out loud, "But I am not worthy of Your suffering for me. I am so unworthy. I'm just me. Unworthy. I can't even physically suffer with a good attitude, I have not been full of joy for nine months and my suffering is nothing compared to what you suffered in Your death. . . I am not worthy, so how do I believe it was for me?"
I walked on. . . it's hardest to believe when we are physically or in any other way very low. That is why I know belief can't be reliant upon me conjuring up belief. It must be a revelation from God Himself. I can make myself believe, I can even talk myself into it, but I don't want to. I want to know from Him.
"It's through your very sufferings, it's through your very weakness, it's through your very spiritual deadness that you can know I suffered for you. I came to suffer for those who are unworthy. It's your very unworthiness that makes you worthy of My sufferings. Through your sufferings you will know more of Mine and through My sufferings for you, you will know LIFE everlasting."
I don't know if that is word for word. Probably not, but it is what I came away with from my walk last night.
I am glad I don't have to rest upon what I can make myself want to believe. God does speak. In this dry land, He poured it down like rain last night to my weary, tired, "I Can't" heart. His revelation was a breath of life. It is life.
My physical sufferings of the last nine months will also bring about LIFE, Lord willing. It seems baby girl being late is just one more added suffering to this pregnancy. One more "Oh God, I can't do this" in a long, long list of "I can'ts" that I've whispered to Him this year.
I think I am coming to a place I've long needed to be in before God. He's been patient to hear me say those words.
I can't say I've got this amazing sense of joy or feeling of spiritual growth through it. What I do sense is contentment. A letting go. A resting place my soul hasn't experienced before about suffering. A new revelation about how His suffering for me was never, and is never, based on my worthiness.
Through my eight full term pregnancies, I have seen that for what we suffer for greatly, we value all the more. I can never explain how I feel towards my children and how much I value them because I can never quite explain nor will others understand the suffering I go through in order for them to have life.
It is this way with God and us.
We can never understand the value He places on us as His children until we understand the great suffering in which He went through for us to have eternal life. That can only come through a revelation from Him. Seek it, ask for it. He will give it.
God knows me. He has known it would take a lot for my stubborn heart to understand the value He places on me. He has known it would take what it has taken for me to understand the suffering He endured for me. He has wanted for me to value my children in a way that maybe others can't understand or maybe won't even know. He has had purpose behind it and I believe it has something very much to do with HIM and ME, and ME and the children God has given to me.
There is a new resting place in my soul in all this. Beyond how worth it will all be when this baby is in my arms, once again, I find the suffering to have more worth than I have ever wanted to believe or could see in the middle of it all.
(I good reason for the baby not to have come this past weekend ~ I was able to go to Scott's first pre-game scrimmage! He played so well and I was so proud of him.)
(Morgan was given this little home spa set for her birthday last month from her cousin. Sunday afternoon she pampered Brighton. Robert came inside and said, "Hon, you've got to get your camera. They are just having so much fun out there on the porch!")
Morgan's first attempt at a French manicure. . .
(Last pictures of just three sisters? Makes me wonder if this new baby girl will have blue or brown eyes, or be like me and have neither. )
| ||Posted 9/13/2011 3:27 PM - 1466 Views|