The private world of labour

The pain, the anguish, the travail, the sheer determination… of a woman in labour.

9 months, you nurtured the new life in you.

9 months plus you maintained a healthy regimen to ensure everything was right for the growth and development of the baby – you ate the right blend of fruits and vegetables, you took the vitamins, your clothing even changed! Then, the moment came.

One thing that strikes me about labour is the fact that no body, not even your best friend in the whole universe can go through it for you.

I remember the night I sat on my bedroom floor, my face contorted as I waited for the last contraction to subside. In between deep breaths I looked up at my husband’s face. Beside him sat my mum. Watching. Waiting for it to pass. As my husband’s eyes and mine locked I could almost hear him saying, ‘’I wish I could carry this for you’’. I wish this was a suitcase I could help you carry up a flight of stairs, or a dirty dish, or dirty laundry, or even a 3 hour drive to a favourite spot.

But no, this was me. In my private world. About to give birth to something only I had the ability to. I was born for that moment. The 9 months had prepared me for them.

You see, I didn’t just wake up and go ‘into labour’

For about 40 weeks my body had prepared for that moment. The baby had changed position gradually. My cervix had prepared for this. For the birthing of the baby I carried, for labour…

All around us today so many are desperately searching. Searching for answers, searching for peace, searching for healing. The pain of the loss of loved ones leaves them numb at night, the lack of daily sustenance, the fear of losing another loved one, the terror from the doctor’s diagnosis. Many lie numb at night, staring in the dark. Panicking, unsure of what tomorrow holds. Wondering if they’ll survive the pain, the pain of the dark symptoms in their bodies, the pain of divorce, or separation from a loved one, afraid for their children, saddened by the piling bills and their inability to meet their rising daily obligations. All sorts of craziness, then they log on to social media and read about the death of a friend, a colleague, an acquaintance; they read about another disaster, domestic violence, shooting in another school…

It all seems just too much. Overwhelming. There seem to be no assurances of anything. The whole world seems to be sinking deeper and deeper into this dark chasm. The devil seems to be gaining the upper hand. Everything seems to be spiralling out of control.

You know, that’s how darkly painful and unending labour seems. The minutes seem longer than 60 seconds. You sit back and start considering all the promising options. It seems easier to just give in, to walk away from it all. I mean if the marriage isn’t satisfying you on all fronts walking seems easier right, or staying back and cheating? 45 and unmarried, it won’t hurt to have a sexual partner. After all, everyone seems to be having free, cheap sex these days, friends with benefits is simpler than the hassles of a committed marriage. God has probably changed the rules. Right living doesn’t seem to pay. Jamie was the epitome of right living, she had been on this Jesus thing from the crib yet she just passed on last week of, yep you guessed right, cancer.

Are we really safe? Is there really any way to predict tomorrow?

Can I just put a pause on those thoughts for a minute?

Can I remind you that God isn’t looking at these events unfolding around you appalled, wondering how to fix the mess. The same way, while I was writhing from the agony of being in labour, my mum calmly looked at her watch and moved her count from 20 minutes apart, to 8 minutes apart, to 3 minutes apart, to ‘go have a warm bath, it’s time to drive to the hospital…’ God is looking at you confident that you were prepared for these times. You have all it takes, all…

born-for-such

There is NOTHING you are facing today that is beyond you.

‘’But, Ulu you have no idea, I have prayed, fasted, confessed scriptures, given and nothing has changed. Things only seem to have gotten worse.’’ You may say.

Yes, I don’t. I must confess I may not really grasp the depth of your pain. You prayed so hard, still she died. You loved so much, still he walked out on you. Your marriage is just a façade, 8 weeks, no sex and you know he’s cheating… I may not understand these things.

Each labour experience is different, each birth experience is different. Whether with an epidural, whether via a section, or whether while tasting the raw pain, each birth experience is unique and sacred. But at the end, a new life comes… then, you forget….

The other day my husband reminded me how the devil is trying so hard to creep into peoples’ hearts through fear in these times. Even if you hide away, the news comes to you. All sorts of terribleness.

Guard your heart! You mustn’t click on every link, you mustn’t share everything you read, you mustn’t assimilate every gory detail. GUARD YOUR HEART, you’re about to give birth, focus on the time you need to push…! F.O.C.U.S!

I didn’t say it, He did:

”… But I want you to be wise about what is good and INNOCENT ABOUT WHAT IS EVIL. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet…”

(Romans 16:19)

These are times to make the Word of God your best friend. These are times to wait on Him more than ever, in prayer, solitude and quietness.

Guard your heart – as you trust Him for your healing, don’t feed on how many people died from what you trust Him for; stop meditating on the wrong things.

Guard your heart –  as you fight for your marriage, for your children, for your future. Guard the information you let in. Yes, all these things are happening around us, but they will pass. He guaranteed that. So, I believe Him. And so must you.

He already told us,

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”

and

‘’I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage–I have conquered the world.”

I told you He knew all these things will happen. But, you were born for such a time as this….

He put you here because you can handle it. You can.

That sickness, the debt and all the hurt you feel, He conquered them for YOU.

Don’t be afraid. The pain of labour won’t kill you. It’s indescribable,yes, but if you could just hold on a little longer, 3 minutes will move to 2 and 1 minute and then you would be fully dilated and ready to push! Then when you push out that baby and hold her to your chest, nothing else will matter, you won’t remember the night you poured out your heart to Him in prayer; you won’t remember the symptoms that ravaged your body while you muttered, ‘by His stripes I am healed’

You won’t remember it at all.

We’re in it together, surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses together, and we rejoice in those three words from scripture, ‘God is faithful…’

Today, put a smile on your face knowing your baby is about to be born, knowing that the God of heaven and earth is with and for you. Knowing that the ones with you are greater than those against you. Knowing that the greater One lives inside you. Haha!

He’s asked me to cheer you on today. To remind you that He sees your faithfulness, He sees you holding on when quitting seems easiest and He wants you to know that He chose you, He called you and He is holding on to you tightly. You are so precious to Him. More precious than you can imagine. Let go of the pain of the death of the one you held dear, he feels your hurt and He has carried you all these months but now it’s time to move forward, to let go of the pain that has immobilised you. Let go of the disillusionment and decide to make your life count. You were born for such a time as this. Your family needs you, your neighbours need you, the world needs you, PUSH!

‘’…And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.’’ (Romans 8:38-39)

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Posted in Comfort, Destiny, Fulfillment, God's grace, Gratitude, His Presence, Waiting on God, Words of Encouragement, Worship | 19 Comments

What is your testimony?

‘… that which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim to you… to make your joy complete.’ (1 John 1:1-4 NIV)

When I say the ‘Word works’ it probably sounds like a cliché…. You know, like another Christian way of speaking. Like saying, ‘it is well’ or something similar.

But it isn’t… It’s more like me saying in the words of that beautiful song by Kurt Carr ‘I’ve seen Him do it’

It is me testifying of what I have seen with my eyes, looked at and touched with my hands…

Today I ask you a major question: ‘what is your testimony?’

For me, I testify that I am alive today, kept by His Word and His grace. I testify that in Christ Jesus I am the righteousness of God, not because of how good I have been or anything else I’ve done all week but because of what Christ did.

I testify that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. You can’t ever out give Him, I guarantee you that no minute, and no resource you give Him is ever wasted. He just takes it and multiplies it.

I testify that the Lord is my helper, I refuse to fear anything. I testify that the Word of God word burns like fire and is like a mighty hammer that smashes all rocks in pieces. His Word has always worked for me, no matter how daunting the opposition.

I testify that many years ago, when I was sated with being physically sick I cried out to God asking Him to show me if it was possible to stay free from sickness, I testify that God showed me through His word that it was possible. I testify that the Word works in my body and I know it is possible for anyone to stay healthy once they apply the Word to their physical bodies;

I remember when some of my acquaintances teased me no end about my almost non-existent ‘dating’ life; they felt it weird that Friday nights I’d rather go home than hang out with the wrong company. They felt I was odd for not seeing their way of fun as the way to go; I testify that when the time was right God brought the man He had kept for me my way;

I testify that those same people came to me later to ask me how to get out of the messes their very vibrant dating lives got them into. I testify that they acknowledged eventually that the Word way was the way to go. Things were evidently different when you partnered with the Word.

I testify that sowing into God’s house pays off. I remember days when I looked foolish, I remember hearing about the first fruits offering early in my career life and making up my mind to abide by it no matter what other contrary popular opinion I heard. I testify that God has kept his part of the contract. God indeed is a rewarder.

I remember sponsoring others to go for camp meetings to bless their spirits as an intern (youth corper) in my home country. I remember doing it with joy, choosing to be a blessing to lives with my ‘meagre’ earnings. I testify that even when men forgot, God didn’t. He has blessed me beyond anything money can buy!

I testify that I have gone through hard spots, tough places but through them all I have learnt to trust in Jesus. God has come through for me every time, every single time. Sometimes at just the last minute when I thought I would surely drown He came in and showed He was there all along, making my faith muscles grow stronger.

I remember doctors reports He made mockery of, I remember him picking me out from among many others and giving me jobs when everyone said it was impossible, I remember nights I thought I had reached the end of my rope, my pillow soaked with tears, my mouth dry with no words left to say, and I remember the sweetness of His presence enveloping me in the way no one else can, I remember Him telling me, ‘don’t be afraid’

Precious moments…buttercupI testify with all my heart that God is good, I testify that truly a just man may fall 7 times but God will always, always, always lift him up.

How I remember those times, soiled by sin, broken, sure he would never forgive me. He didn’t just forgive me, He called me friend, and He called me royalty.

With tears in my eyes I remember when it looked like it was the end for me, when it looked like I had blown my last chance, what did He do? He stepped in, He made those foolish mistakes work out in my favour, things that swallowed others up He used to lift me higher.

How can anyone then say to me that it’s just a cliché? How can anyone then say to me that the Bible is just a storybook? How can anyone then say to me that I am taking this thing too seriously and I should go easy on saying, ‘the Word works’?

How can you say you don’t need to go the Word way to have any of the things I mentioned and more? Don’t you know that what He gives is beyond money? Don’t you know that this peace He gives, this priceless Presence in a crooked and perverse generation can’t be paid for with the money in all the bank reserves in the world?

Don’t you know that no matter what hard place you are in right now, no matter the ridicule you have faced, no matter how messed up your world looks right now you WILL rise again because ‘the Word works’

I have touched it, I have seen it with my eyes, this Word… this living Word…

I have seen Him do it.

I have seen the barren woman give birth to child; I have seen the broke and disgusted man lend to nations; I have seen the widow woman raise mighty seed; I have seen orphans kept and protected by God to become super stars in their generation… I have seen with my eyes, the one called the black sheep of his family rising to become the sought after one… I have seen what the Word can do… The word works. It really does.

So today I ask you, ‘What is your testimony?’ Take out time to write it down, write down things He has done for you, shout them from the roof top, remind yourself of them. And then LAUGH… Laugh because like Tye Tribett sang, ♫’if He did it before, He will do it again…’♫

Just because you are in a hard place, don’t forget. Don’t forget who you are and Whose you are… be patient, because as surely as you can see these prints before you THE WORD WORKS and You WILL testify… Yay!!!!

Posted in Comfort, Destiny, God's grace, Gratitude, His Presence, Praise, Purpose, The Name of Jesus, Trusting God for a baby, Waiting on God, Words of Encouragement | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments