Yesterday I finished reading Christ Centered Childbirth. I am really glad I read it, because I find it is very hard, as a Christian, to read books on topics like childbirth, labor and delivery, without blatant paganism and new age philosophies throughout the entire thing. It makes it hard to recommend books to others, because I certainly don't want to cause someone to stumble by having them assume that since I recommended the book, I agree with all its contents.
So, this book was different. Instead of encouraging mothers to look "within themselves" to find power, strength and serenity during labor, it encouraged women to look to Christ for His power, allowing Him to be their strength and their Comforter. There was a lot of good information, but the most valuable thing about this book, in my opinion, was the author's determination to point women back to their Saviour in all things. Are you scared of labor and delivery? Pray. What should you do when you start to experience stress or discomfort? Meditate on the powerful promises the Lord gives us in the scriptures. How can you relax? Listening to worshipful music and directing your heart and mind toward God.
And, okay, so this is just a pet peeve of mine, and it does NOT take away from the valuable content in the book, but do authors no longer use HUMAN editors??? I wonder this because I regularly find so many grammatical errors in books that it drives me a little nutty. Computer programs are great, but in my opinion, they can not replace human beings. There are many words that are spelled correctly, but are used in the wrong context. Therefore, a spellcheck will not identify them as errors. For example, when talking about being in the "throes of labor", the word "throws" was used instead, several times. That is just one example of many. Like I said, it does not take away from the relevance of the information of the book, but it does get on my nerves from time to time.
Now I am finishing up The Lord of Birth. It is really more of a devotional type/Bible study booklet. So far, so good. I was strongly compelled, this time around, in anticipating another natural childbirth, to do as much as possible to mentally prepare for my labor and delivery. I want to focus entirely on the Lord, trust in His perfect timing, and recognize birth as an event He ordains and orchestrates. I want to grow in my relationship to Him through the surrender of my mind, heart and body during a potentially stressful and fearful time. I have been praying for months that He would deliver me from any fear.
Ever heard the expression, There is nothing to fear but fear itself? While I do not agree that this is entirely true in every instance, I can see the point in it. I have been thinking about martyrs. Trever and I have been teaching our children about Christian history, and have read and watched videos on several who were persecuted, some to the point of martyrdom. Some of these saints include Jim Elliot, Perpetua, William Tyndale and John Huss. (We have also learned about many who were NOT martyred, but who endured persecution and have amazing testimonies of God's faithfulness, such as Richard Wurmbrand, Gladys Aylward, Eric Liddell, John Bunyan, etc.)
The thing that always strikes me about these very ordinary men and women is the fearlessness they display when confronted with terrifying situations. Perpetua, for example, was thrown to wild beasts, and did not even feel the attacks. Those who witnessed her death were amazed to see her pray and sing, without fear. Her story is not all that uncommon, either. Biblically, you see the same principle at work. Think of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, of Daniel, of Paul, Silas, or even of our Lord Himself as He was beaten, scourged, ridiculed and finally crucified. Do you detect fear? No.
I believe that God does not promise to eliminate trials, tests, persecutions and hardships. But He DOES promise to deliver us from fear. And if you think about it, that is really the most terrifying thing we face. We can generally handle some pain when we aren't afraid. I am not afraid to get my blood drawn. It can hurt, but I know I am not in any danger and it will soon be over.
It isn't just physical pain either. Think of this: Some of the most excruciatingly painful experiences in my life have been through those I love the most- the loss of a child, a painful separation at the beginning of my marriage, the death of my dear grandparents, rejection from father figures, etc. Does that stop me from wanting to give my heart in all these areas? NO. I still want children, I would not trade my marriage for any other relationship on Earth, I cherish the years I enjoyed closeness with my grandparents, and God has taught me more about Himself as a Father than I think I ever could have learned otherwise because of the intensity of my pain and loss. God does not eliminate the trail, but He promises to strengthen me and uphold me. He is faithful.
So I am choosing to trust Him in this pregnancy, labor and delivery. And I am asking Him to deliver me from my fear of pain. I am also trying to equip myself with the tools He has given. I am meditating on the scriptures. His word promises He will keep me in perfect peace, if my mind is stayed on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)I have found some wonderful, godly, gentle worship music that I am listening to, and plan to bring with me to the birth center. Most of all, I am praying and asking God to deliver me from all my fears. And trusting Him to do so.
This is just where I am right now. Not all of you who may be reading this are pregnant, but I believe the principles can be applied to anyone, male or female. God does not want us to fear anything except Him. Paradoxically, He is the only One who can deliver us from our fearful hearts, replacing them with hearts of faith and trust. Let's ask Him to.