I clutched the minivan door handle as if my life depended on it. A life was depending on it. The life of my unborn daughter—Baby Cinco, our Songbird. It was two weeks before her due date according to my calculations (three if you ask the Doc).
I was in active labor and the contractions weren’t letting up. In true tightly wound fashion, I told Adam to call the hospital and let them know we were on our way and to be ready. I was not going to wait around at registration to answer ridiculous questions like my birth date and address with contractions coming on strong.
P.S. I had been dilated to a 4 since Tuesday, and this was Thursday. This fact seemed to light a fire under the hospital staff.
Speaking of fire, I was dreading the ring of it that was sure to come with pushing, but there was no turning back now. I was afraid this bundle of dynamite was going to blast her way out, right there in the van, so I did all I could to resist this reality.
It was normally a half hour drive down the highway to our hospital of choice (we may have arrived—bulging belly and all—in seventeen minutes flat). The ER staff was waiting with a wheelchair. I felt every bump up to the maternity floor as my baby bump led the way.
I was relieved to see the face of my OB (the same doctor who delivered our first daughter, twelve years prior) as I entered the Labor and Delivery Floor.
Now that we had safely arrived, I was determined to stop resisting labor and cooperate with the contractions.
Willingly embracing pain is about as natural as the processed American cheese slices I use to make grilled cheese sandwiches. In other words, “embracing pain” is a completely foreign concept. Most of us in American culture try and resist pain as we seek out comfort—comfort in food, in possessions, in relationships, and a life of ease. We’d rather grip the minivan handle than open our fists in surrender.
As the pain swelled, this phrase kept circling in my mind, I can’t do this without You. I can’t do this without You.
The only way through the pain was to face more pain.
Surrender was required in order to experience deliverance.
And finally—okay it was only 2.5 hours later, don’t hate me—the time came to push.
My body had pushed babies out before, but this time was different.
Scared and wide-eyed with fright, the pain took over my body with the force of a California tremor as tectonic plates suddenly slip.
“Help!” I yelled.
“Help me!!” I pleaded.
“You’re safe,” my doctor announced, trying to reassure me.
“You’re safe,” he repeated.
I felt anything but safe. This was unlike anything I had experienced in previous labors. The earthquake continued in strength as I held on for dear life.
I reached the end of myself. Face-to-face with more pain than I was prepared for, I had no choice but to go forward.
I can’t do this without You. I can’t do this without You.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to, because Jesus was not just the name I was calling upon for help, but the very One who could sustain me. I couldn’t feel Him then—all I could feel was the overwhelming pain, coupled with a thin intravenous line of hope that this would be over soon—but I knew He was there.
God created life after all, and as I hovered on the fault line, He met me with strength and determination to push through the pain.
I can do this with You. I can do this with You.
I found Grace clinging to my weakness as I reached the end of my capabilities.
What about you? Are you in a season of pain? Are you frightened by the gravity of your circumstances?
How do we find Grace when we reach the end of ourselves?
- Admit weakness. Dare to utter, I can’t do this without You and acknowledge your need for assistance.
- Ask Jesus to help. Yell “Help!” if needed. Call upon His name—not in vain, but because He is absolutely capable of meeting you in your place of need. It doesn’t mean He will make the pain vanish, but He will be with you as you walk in and through it. I think Jesus is waiting for us to ask for help, but we often charge ahead in self-sufficiency and eventually (or sometimes quickly) reach the end of ourselves.
- Focus on truth. Declare, I can do this with You. Meditate on, and consider memorizing, key Scriptures that uplift you. Ask the Holy Spirit to impart a laser focus on truth when the world and the enemy push back with lies. Stay grounded in God’s Word so that you don’t fall apart when the pressure is on.
You are not alone in this battle. You are not forgotten in the midst of this difficult circumstance.
I’m taking a moment right now to pray for you.
When you face pain, may you not give up.
When you are laboring hard, may sweet fruit be produced.
When you are fearful, may His promises deliver hope.
When you come to the end of yourself may you find Jesus.