I climbed into the passenger seat of the car as gingerly as I could and prayed for a smooth ride to the hospital. As pain intensified again and again, I gripped the handle in the door and held on for dear life. The short drive across town felt like an eternity and I prayed, “dear LORD, please let me be far enough along to get an epidural!”
I was in labor with my second baby. My first delivery had been long and hard. I weathered hours of contractions spiking off the charts and lasting double the usual time before I was granted the longed-for epidural that would take the edge off so I could think straight.
This second labor had come on fast and furious. I learned later that my mother-in-law, a career OBGYN nurse, could tell I was already in transition and had ushered us out the door with earnest! She did not want to deliver our son at home!
An orderly met us in the hospital lobby and assured us he would see me through check-in while my husband parked the car. “Are you in labor?” he asked. “I sure hope so!” was all I could sputter out between breaths, “because if this isn’t the real thing, I don’t think I’ll make it through!!”
A kind and efficient nursing staff met me on the 5th floor and quickly settled me into a hospital gown and a bed, making me as comfortable as possible until my husband could join me and the doctor could arrive to check my progress.
It didn’t take long for my doctor to agree with my mother-in-law’s assessment. Labor was progressing quickly and I watched in shock as she donned those notorious blue scrubs. “Wait!?” I squeaked out, “When the doctor puts on their scrubs on TLC’s Baby Story, the baby is almost here! Can I still get an epidural??!”
“Oh, no,” she replied gently but confidently, “there’s no time for that! You are going to deliver this baby.” I opened my eyes wide. “Can I do that??!?” “Women do it every day!” she responded with a smile and a wink. Then in all seriousness, she shared one important piece of advice, “Don’t fight the contractions. Just imagine sinking into the bed as the pain washes over you. Let your body do its job. It is delivering your baby, just as it was designed to do! This pain has purpose.”
Again, I prayed for help. I closed my eyes, unclenched my fists, and focused on the doctor’s words. It was a free-fall I can hardly describe! The LORD answered those prayers, allowing me to relax completely, letting the contractions take control.
The pain was still intense. Beyond belief! But I leaned into the LORD’s help, trusted the doctor’s expertise, and heeded my husband’s reminders to breathe! And before I knew it, I was holding our son, basking in the miracle of a new life entering the world!
. . .
Life can feel like labor. Painful. Unrelenting. An onslaught from every direction. A merry-go-round spinning too fast, leaving us nauseous and disoriented. Like a tornado. Could there be a way to “sink into the bed and let pain do its perfect work” in all of life’s challenges?
In STILL: 7 Ways to Find Calm in the Chaos,” Jenny L. Donnelly says, “Yes!” The winds may swirl around us, but we can find a place of stillness and REST, sinking deep into the Savior’s embrace. When we focus on His heartbeat, we can learn new rhythms of REST.
Jenny assures us there are priceless treasures to uncover as pain does its perfect work. We can wrestle it, fight against it, angling for control that alludes us.
OR . . .
We can surrender control to the only One we can truly rely on to orchestrate the best outcome. The more we hunger to know His heart, the more confidently we will stand against the torrent, knowing the breadth and depth of His love, His power, and His limitless resources to provide anything and everything we could possibly need! And that speaks PEACE.
Let Jenny cast a new vision for stress management. If the challenges of this life leave you feeling tossed about on a stormy sea, with her help, imagine stepping from the frightening confines of a rocking boat to the broadening expanse of a beautiful, peaceful, thriving garden. Trust that pain can lead to progress. Believe broken can become beautiful, that it is possible to “release every single thing” and REST (p. 165).
“Is it possible that the struggles of life are a gift?” (p. 183) “Is it possible to enter REST when we are being terribly irritable or stretched emotionally in a storm of life? Yes, it is. And when we master this, we experience a whole new realm of peace.” (p. 184)
With passion and confidence from the reality she has lived, Jenny urges (p. 185, 189):
Breathe in the burn.
Dance with it.
Praise Him in the storm.
Wrestle into REST.
Just like the miracle of my son entering the world, “your new birth” into a world grounded and centered in the Savior’s love is “worth the dance!”
STILL: 7 Ways to Find Calm in the Chaos, by Jenny L. Donnelly, is published by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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