Hi everyone! I’m Brooke and I blog over at ‘from under His feathers’ – the title of which is based on Psalm 91:4, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Truthfully, this is where I am living right now... “under His wings”. Our family of five is going through some serious transition right now. Our home is scheduled to be auctioned off on December 6th… the place we’re going to live has thirty three years worth of my mother-in-law’s stuff in it that we are slowly unpacking that, and re-packing that, and moving it to her new house… our house is still waiting to be attended to, and we’re trying to take care of our children and other aspects of our personal life while working hard to create some sense of normalcy for our kids with the holidays coming up. All the “stuff” that our situation is churning up both internally and externally has caused us to live in a state of constant reflection, processing, conversation and prayer.
I want to share something with you that we were discussing today. It’s late to be writing this, but I think this is important for us to remember so I’m going to give it a go. With God, there are constants. He gives us constants and reference points in Scripture, in our own personal encounters with him and who he reveals himself to be, but also in certain patterns and constants in nature. In almost all of these you will find a spiritual parallel and a way that God demonstrates his character and shows us how we ought to live in relationship with him. Think about it… gardening, the changes of seasons, the tides, etc… I am sure you can think of many other examples, and will see what I am talking about. Almost always they involve total trust, total yielding, total surrender, total dependence.
My husband and I were talking this morning over the phone while he was running some errands and I was at home emptying the dishwasher while the baby took a nap. He told me that he’d read and was moved by my blog post from yesterday morning. There, I spoke about a video on You Tube where this lady named Temple is in labor, yet singing this incredibly beautiful song in the midst of it along with her husband called “Surely”… it is based on Psalm 23. We all know that Psalm so well. The most profound part to me about this Psalm is that the psalmist’s WILL is affected in submission to God to receive peace, to receive nourishment in the face of despair, fear and darkness. It is the green pastures, the table set before our enemy, the hope in the midst of darkness… the stillness… the stillness and REST that is the result of this submission. It’s a funny analogy, but if you’ve ever watched The Dog Whisperer, where Cesar makes the dog lie down and submit… kinda sorta like that, but different, ya know?
The thing most profound to me about this video is that this woman is submitted to the process of labor, facing a climax of pain and intensity wherein she will want to retreat from what lies ahead, the greatest and most intense experience of pain being transition… and if any of you have had natural births and can remember that part of labor, it’s when you want to quit, it’s when the contractions are unrelenting, on top of each other, and you wonder how on earth you can go on. This is actually the beginning of the end, leading into second stage labor, when the baby has descended to such a position that you cannot HELP but push – the contractions become more expulsive and further apart, and to NOT push seems like insanity… in fact, it would hurt MORE not to push, even when the baby is on the way out, to push seems like the most incredible feeling, so right, though the most painful part is right as they are entering the world… for the joy set before us, we endure that great and overwhelming pain, and immediately following, in our arms, is this amazing, perfect, precious, beautiful life, and the awesome and wonderful cocktail of hormones that helps us bond with our sweet babes (a great reward).
The process of natural labor begins only when all the signals from the baby and mama come into alignment to say “go”. When we interfere with any one of those signals, the result may be anything and everything unnatural… What blew me away this morning as I was recounting all of these details with my husband was this: we are on a journey, a journey that will yield great joy, but nothing without having to go through great pain. If we interfere with what God is doing – if we step in and try to affect what He is doing, the work He is doing in our lives and the lessons of RESTING and leaning back on him… if we don’t allow him to make us lie down in green pastures so that he can restore our souls, if we choose not to sit at the table prepared for us, if we choose to manufacture the Ishmael over the wait for the Isaac, we are totally missing what he wants us to learn in this season. I believe he was showing us today that we are “in labor”. We are about to give birth to something that will bring us great joy – the joy set before us, though we are experiencing pain and hardship in the process, that may intensify before it gets any better. But we are to allow him to lead, trust in his timing, and his manna for each day, and ONLY in that. The path we walk will make NO sense to anyone else around us, and there is no use in trying to explain the why of it. After all, shouldn’t I work, work, work? Shouldn’t I be induced and just get this baby out of me? Shouldn’t I just go ahead and take the drugs, and feel better? Shouldn’t I waste myself trying to fix the problem? No. God is saying be still, receive the manna for each day, be restored as you labor each day, and I will give you the Isaac you long for, and you will be satisfied.
It’s 12:51AM, and I am going to go to bed now. I hope that in some way, this has been meaningful to you… and mostly, it has been a way for me to record what I know the Lord has been showing me, and wants me to remember.