Everything is going well at this point (22 weeks, picture was taken 2 weeks ago). So far I have enjoyed better health with this pregnancy than the last two. It seems like with each pregnancy, I understand my own body a little better and how to take care of myself. More importantly, previous pregnancies have taught me that good health is not to be taken for granted and could change tomorrow. I am aware that my body and that of my baby's, is weak, frail and that it is only by the will and grace of God that I take a breath.
But really no pregnancy is easy even on the "easiest" day. It has a chiseling effect on us, as any change of life or health does, either forming us further into the image of Jesus or marring us into a fretful, complaining, distorted chunk of bitterness that makes us miserable as well as those who have to live with us. Some of the most humble and compassionate Christians I know, are ones who have walked through physical trials...or multiple or seriously difficult pregnancies, and emerged with lessons painfully learned and applied.
Not that pregnancy is a trial. Not even close. Bearing another human being made in the image of God, created to reflect his glory, bearing his signature, is an unmatched and unrivaled privilege. Though many have tossed the opportunity away, taken it for granted or realized too late that they can't snap their fingers and fashion a human at their own convenience, the fact doesn't change that bearing life is what God has called a great reward. So no, pregnancy is not a trial. But growing and nurturing another human being with your own body does involve great toil, for some more than others.
“Our wants and our real needs are not always the same. We want pleasure, plenty, and prosperity--but perhaps we need pain, self-denial, the giving up of things that we greatly prize. We shrink from suffering, from sacrifice, from struggle—perhaps these are the very experiences which will do the most for us, which will bring out in us the best possibilities of our natures, which will fit us for the largest service to God and man.” --J.R. Miller
Pregnancy can be the catalyst of our temptation to doubt God's goodness. I mean, if we are expecting a reward why does it have to be so hard? So expensive? So physically difficult?
God does not owe us an easy life. Nowhere in His Word does he say that. And faith means caring more about what we can't see than what we can.
It is so easy to coast along in our own strength until we are brought face to face with our weakness. And our physical health is so inextricably linked with the spiritual, that often when God sees fit to deal a blow to one, it affects the other greatly.
But anything that causes us to recognize our neediness is good, whether that be pregnancy, financial trials, an alcoholic husband, terrifying choices of our adult children or our own health or the health of those we love most. Trials will either drive us to throw ourselves into his loving arms, or they will make us bitter people. We will be chiseled to grow in humility and thankfulness because of them, or we will be driven further into the growing abyss of resentfulness and self-pity. I have personally been an occupant of both those places.
As another author put it so well: The armor of God comes in maternity sizes.
God, help us put on our maternity armor. Make us steadfast in our faith.
When You Are Quietly Yelling, "Yes, I am Pro-Life."
Scripture Meditations for the Overdue Mama
Pregnancy Isn't Easy
Vienna Sausages, Big Lips and Elderly Multigravidas