Dear Mama, Your Suffering is Not Just For Enduring

(A post I wrote 4 years ago. 🙂 )

I sat here a little while then stood up to get coffee, paralyzed for the moment. I’m 9 months pregnant. With my eleventh child. And I’m, ahem, older. My back has to adjust to the change in my position from sitting to standing before I can walk, or my leg will collapse under me.

I’m heavy, I have random round ligament pains that make me think I’m dying, I hurt and I’m struggling with anemia, to exaggerate all the other things. People wonder why I would go through the physical hurdles of having another baby. (Sometimes even I wonder why!)

Of course anyone reading can surmise the obvious: it’s temporary, and compared to the horrendous trials other people face, my worst day is still a walk in the park.

But then there’s the reality of suffering, even if one knows it’s for a season. And pregnancy can cause real, difficult seasons in life that many simply choose to avoid.

To be transparent, I’ve endured other things in my life during this pregnancy that are far more difficult but they have helped me understand God’s heart behind allowing us to suffer, in whatever situation.

Is there actually good in suffering? If you are a Christian, you know the answer to that is “yes”, though that may be the biggest paradox in the human life.

The Clincher About Suffering

Suffering, the Bible says, brings about all sorts of good in our lives, if and when we are willing to let it. And that is the key. Nancy Leigh Demoss said, “We can choose to whine or we can choose to worship.” And it’s true, that choice makes all the difference in the world.

As I spend these last days in pain and suffering, also enduring the deeper trials of heartache life can bring, I can honestly say I see it differently than I once did. It’s more than just something to get through. It may just be that this will likely be my last baby at the age of 43. Or who knows: perhaps I’ve actually grown up a bit.

But we live in a culture that deplores suffering and because of that, can be critical of our very choices to not avoid it. “Why would you do that to yourself?”

But what if it’s more like allowing the Creator of the universe to have His way in my life, trusting in His mercy and grace, resting in His goodness and–here it is–when suffering comes along, and it will (“In this life, you will have trouble…”)

to rejoice,

be glad,

give thanks and

look for that pearl,

that lesson the Lord so desperately wants to teach me,

to surrender my heart to refinement,

to submit to the chisel of His love,

to be glad and enjoy this journey which, without suffering would be spiritually impotent.

That’s what I’ve learned this year and it has brought unspeakable peace to my heart. Why, you ask, another pregnancy with all its challenges?

Because it’s not the pregnancy. It’s the soul. The new life, the new thought of God, the new person with potential to impact the Kingdom for His glory, the one whose days were established before the foundation of the earth that I get the privilege to bring to life.

The suffering? An added benefit if we believe Jesus. Not something we pursue, but receive. Not something we hope for, but rejoice in when it comes.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

Those verses about suffering sound like happy little Christian quips until we’re called on it. Do we believe the truth?

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1: 2-4

So whatever your season of suffering, rejoice. Surrender. Choose gratitude. Ask God for His refinement as well as His grace to endure it. You’re not just suffering in vain; He’s doing a good work in you.

4 Responses to “Dear Mama, Your Suffering is Not Just For Enduring”

  1. 6 arrows says:

    This post dovetails nicely with the sermon series our pastors have started, preaching through the book of Philippians. The clear theme of that great book is REJOICE!

    In all things!

    Amazing that the apostle Paul wrote that while imprisoned. So important to contemplate how the joy of the Lord, a tremendous gift of God, is ours — for all times and in all circumstances.

    Praise be to God!

  2. Sheri says:

    This was such a blessing to read!We are expecting our ninth and I am 41. When I was younger, the pregnancies were easy and the babies were hard for me. On this end of mothering, the pregnancies feel hard and the babies are so sweet! (Especially when you know if might be your last!)
    When I’m pregnant, I see the doubtful looks, hear the comments of people wondering why? Just why would you do this to yourself again? But you said it, yes! A soul! The opportunity for eternal investment! It’s not foolish to trust God with something that he calls a blessing. Pregnancy is a huge sacrifice. It is a very humbling state for a woman. But I’ve observed that when the pregnancy is over and the baby is here, ALL of those doubts and comments are gone. No one is questioning anymore. No one criticizes. They just fall in love with the new member of the family.

    So thank you for your transparency and the encouragement to rejoice in suffering!! Blessings!

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