“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 12:2
My wife is crazy pregnant.
That’s not a secret.
I mean, people know.
What people probably don’t know, however, is just how many pain filled sleepless nights accompany someone who is crazy pregnant.
Well, women who have had children before definitely know, but honestly, I had no idea. Because I am a human male and incapable of having human children, there tends to be some disconnect with regards to my, “understanding” of what women go through during pregnancy.
But Ashley is a superhero, and if you follow her on facebook or instagram, you would still never know how much pain and struggle accompanies childbirth because she doesn’t talk about it. She doesn’t talk about her impaired breathing, or her increasingly smaller bladder capacity (don’t kill me!). You wont read about her hip and back pain, and she certainly wont explain all the nuances of what an enlarging figure does to a woman’s body image.
Having a baby is truly a labor of love for both the man and woman. It is 9 months of sacrifice, and lets be honest, once the child is born, it’s another 20 some years of sacrifice until the child moves out of your basement and gets a job.
And yet, my wife rarely complains. (Not that she is perfect. I said rarely not never)
Half of this blog post is to brag on my wife because she is such an inspiration to me, and the other half is to encourage and challenge other women who are currently pregnant.
The challenge is this: don’t make pregnancy about you.
Now before you tar and feather me, let me explain a bit. (Then you can tar and feather me)
During my wife’s pregnancy, I have been thinking and meditating quite a bit on Hebrews 12:2. The idea that Jesus saw the cross, and instead of seeing His death and all the pain that accompanied it, He instead saw our faces. That we were the joy that was set before Him. He made His life about everyone but Himself. That even though the cross meant suffering, endless everlasting joy was to follow.
In John 16:20-21 Jesus sums up this idea perfectly when He talks about His impending death and how the disciples will react.
“Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”
And when I dive even deeper into this idea, I realize that Jesus labored for us for 33 years.
You see, Jesus told Nicodemus that we all must be born again. Not physical birth, but spiritual birth. How are we born again? By the power of the Spirit. And what made our Spiritual births possible? Christ’s sacrifice of 33 years of perfection in our place. Jesus’ atoning sacrifice once and for all on the cross in which the labor pains finally came to an end and He declared with joy, “It is finished.”
Because of Jesus’ labor of love, we can all be born again.
We can all be called Sons and Daughters of God.
And the amazing thing about those 33 years of life is that Jesus never once complained.
Jesus never once tweeted anything that looked like this:
“Just got done walking 30+ miles! My feet are super blistered! #ouch #betterbeworthit”
“Nearly got stoned again because I healed some guy on the Sabbath. #Crazypeople #Timetotosssometables”
Never once did He demand attention, and never once did He make His sacrifice and pain known to anyone except His Father and closest friends.
There is a wonderful movie called, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” and in one of the last scenes Walter finally meets up with a photographer that he has been looking for the entire film (spoiler much?). The photographer is trying to capture on film the illusive snow leopard, and he tells Walter that they call the Leopard the “ghost cat” because it is so rarely seen by humans. He tells Walter that, “beautiful things don’t demand attention.”
Jesus is the very most beautiful thing.
And so my challenge ultimately for both men and women (and mostly myself) is to be like Jesus as we labor on the earth. Point to the miracle God is growing inside your body, and bring your hip and back pain to the Father instead of Facebook. Show your friends and families that what God is doing inside of you, in your heart, is more beautiful than what is happening on the outside to your body. Let your blistered hands and feet bring glory to God, and let the countless sleepless nights be your humble sacrifice.
We need to stop demanding so much attention.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is 2 Corinthians 4:16:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
I am 26 years old, and I already feel my body starting to slow down. Inwardly, however, the Lord is busy at work doing beautiful things, and beautiful things don’t demand attention.
He must increase, we must decrease.
Don’t kill me…