As a Mom of three amazing kids, I have had the absolute joy (not) of being in the transitional stages of labor three very difficult times. No, this post is not going to be about the pains of childbirth or any of my birthing experiences. It is just an easy to relate to sort of experience, I guess. I have entered this weird stage of life transition. Not because anything is physically changing, but because I know life as I used to know it is behind me. I've taken months off. In my time off, I finished the most difficult courses of my college history (Oh yes, history. As in past. As in done!) I attempted to regain some form of normalcy. Yet, nothing feels normal. While this huge goal was completed, it left a sense of change looming. Nothing looked different. Still, everything was. Something great is in the midst.
Something I feel coming into this new year is just this sense of amazing things happening in my life. Has God directly spoken new plans and purposes and snapped it all into place? Nope. Can I see His mighty hand preparing the way? No, not really. But, just the same, I know it is happening. While I don't really like this time of transition, I know it is developing me for something greater. Nine years ago, I experienced a transition period that led me to becoming a Mom. No greater joy than what I experienced that Wednesday evening. But, let me just skip the yuck and say it was not an easy, pleasurable experience. It was the most intense pain I have ever been in.
Transitional times are never easy. They are a time of great expectancy, knowing something huge is getting ready to happen, yet typically a time of growth, pain, despair or hopelessness that the miracle will just never get here. It hit me tonight, that it is through the most insane pain of our lives that the most amazing miracles will occur. If we suffer nothing, the gift we receive means little. Kinda like no pain, no gain.
Waiting on something exciting, a new car, a new baby, that amazing cruise to the Bahamas, whatever it is, it isn't easy. We get excited at the beginning of the process, knowing we get to plan the experience of a lifetime. The wait is easy at the beginning, because the excitement outweighs the length of the wait. As time progresses, we may waiver between nervous anticipation over stretch marks, leather or cloth seats or if motion sickness will get the best of you - again. But, in the end, the excitement still wins out. As you wait a little longer, you may get frustrated at the inability to find the perfect name, make and model, or if the cost is seriously worth it. We start to doubt it is going to happen when and how we want it. We get tired. We get cranky. Our dreams become a little less clear, and way less fun. We start to wonder if the days could possibly pass any slower.
Then suddenly, it appears. Labor starts (or the new car is available in just the right shade, or even better, that cost of the cruise was just reduced 75% off). Emotions get a little crazy. Excitement. Anticipation. Uncertainty. Pain increases. That car bill comes. Clothes get forgotten at home - or worse, sunscreen. There comes a point in most things that it just doesn't seem fun anymore. What you are going through just doesn't seem worth the wait, worth the cost, worth the sacrifice. You just want to be done. And you just can't be done. You have no choice. If you really want what it is you are expecting to receive, you have to finish the process.
It is in those hours (whether they be real hours, or hours that stretch into months or years) that we learn what real pain feels like. We have no choice but to wait as something incredible is going to happen. Now, we can force that something to happen sooner. We can elect to have that C-section three days sooner. We can buy that car that isn't exactly what we wanted, but it'll do. We can go on that cruise ship, even though you doubt it's ability to sail. But, when we do this, are we really getting what we want or need? Do we learn what we were supposed to learn for the season we were in? As a very pregnant, first time momma-to-be, those were the longest hours of my life. You know what I learned? Those moments of the most insane pain of my life were worth it. Those moments I wanted to give up and flee from the room because of the pain would have allowed me a way out, but could have caused major harm to the little girl God was blessing me with. Those moments of pain were soon forgotten when the miracle bloomed forth, and a baby was placed in my arms. We forget the difficult moments when we get to hold that promise in our arms.
When we wait out those moments of pain, seeking God in the midst of them, we learn a lot about life. We learn about this incredible God who doesn't always ease the pain of the moment. We do learn He is the greatest Comforter we could ever have the possibility of knowing. We learn about this Creator who has the ability to bring forth something that is completely worth the wait, the pain, and the tears. This Creator who does, in fact, work for our good, and for no greater reason than because He loves us and we are His.
We show God that waiting on Him has never felt more right, despite the pain and frustration. We fail. We falter. We mess up. And we realize, He is still there, waiting for us. Preparing us for the greatness He created us for. Transitioning us for the greatest times of our lives. And, then, when we are finally ready, we hands us this promise, reminding us He never forgot and had it planned perfectly all along.