Trust--my OneWord365--to form my life this year. In January I wrote about how I got to a place of distrust in many areas of my life. In February I wrote about learning to trust my own body as I hoped for a VBAC with the birth of my second child, but feared that my body had failed me the first time around. And last month I wrote about how I have struggled to come to new rhythms of trusting God in parenthood and how I can live more gratefully as a mom.
It has been a good month. April has always been a month I associate with joy and sunshine and new life--a month with birthdays and flowers and Easter celebrations. And now there is one more new life and birthday celebration to add to the list: our little Julianne was born at the beginning of the month!
I'll make a full post of her birth story soon, but for now I'll just rejoice that I did get to have the VBAC of my dreams--a short and intense natural labour.
One thing about it that surprised me the most was the pushing stage. I never got to push with Lucy and I had an epidural by that point, so I'm not sure if I would have felt the urge to push quite like I did this time. What surprised me now was how quickly my painful belly contractions switched over to the uncontrollable pushing. It was nothing like the TV shows (even the lovely Call the Midwife), when they portray a woman in labor as having control of her pushing, pushing on cue or stopping her pushing. Instead, pushing out Julianne took over my whole body with an animal type of power. I couldn't help it but push with my whole being. I did have to focus the energy, but no one had to tell me when it was time to push and though they tried to help me slow my pushing at the end to avoid tearing, I couldn't control it much.
Living through this amazing experience of my body's power reminded me of Paul's metaphor in Romans 8: "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." I've always thought of this in the context of my previous labour experience: extreme pain, ultimately futile. But after Julianne's birth I could think of it in a new way.
God's resurrection life is breaking into this world, which was well created to bear us into eternal life. The pain and frustration of this present life in this present world is not hopeless or futile, but pain with a purpose, groaning that is inevitably, inexorably, unstoppably bearing us into God's resurrection life.
I couldn't sleep the night Julianne was born because this image was all I could think about. Just think of the power in it! That this whole world is splitting open like the husk of a seed, pushing with the force of a woman about to give birth, bursting with God's Spirit-life.
What does this mean for me? I am not pitted against life in a creation destroyed by pain and suffering, but planted in a creation that uses even the worst of my sufferings (even the worst of my sufferings around Lucy's medical birth, for example) to bear me into life.
This month in my trust journey, I have learned just a little more about what it means to "practice resurrection" (as Wendell Berry put it). I have learned to throw myself in trust on the belief that God really is in the business of redeeming and renewing this whole weak and broken world (as crazy as it sounds in this modern world). I really do believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and that we will be too. I really do believe in resurrection.