Faith, Suffering, & Restoration
Real talk, this is the 3rd draft of this blog post.
I planned on recapping my birth experience, and sharing more about that trauma and the other issues (lip + tongue tie and food sensitivities and more) we navigated these past 11months, but that would be one long blog post because there's a lot to unpack there!
After a couple drafts I also realized my intention behind sharing it all was to validate why I was so MIA from work for almost a year and why his birth was traumatic for me, seeking worldly affirmation and understanding. Silly me, I don't need that!
Instead, I'll talk about God. Because really, it all comes back to Him anyway.
I had every intention of sharing the nitty gritty of my transition into motherhood thinking the nitty gritty would be some sore nips and lack of sleep (Oh little, Anna), but Lucca Paul rocked my world, as babies tend to do. So much so, I had to really take a step back to find my footing and further cultivate my faith.
Looking back, I can see that my relationship with God really needed tending to.
Here's where I landed: God doesn't cause suffering, of that I am sure. Even still, suffering happens. So where does that leave me?
Well, it left me looking for God like "Hey Man, you said you'd be here and all this hard stuff keeps happening. Where are you?!"
Turns out, I was left reeling because I had put most of my faith and identity into things of this world and what I thought I could control.
All of my closely held beliefs and much of my identity kept being stripped away.
When I had to have a C-Section because nothing I learned about and tried worked to achieve a vaginal birth, when Lucca had a lip and tongue tie that made breastfeeding very difficult, when my healthy diet didn't stop my son from having food sensitivities, when my time in therapy prior to Lucca's birth didn't make me immune to trauma or Postpartum Anxiety and Rage, and all the other little difficulties in between... what was left?
My heart was a confused and angry mess. I was suffering.
God wasn't first of my list. At some point prior to Lucca's birth, I had begun to call upon Him in a last ditch effort like, "Ok Jesus, I tried everything else and now I need help. Send in the Holy Spirit." *eye roll*
I don't believe God causes suffering. I don't picture Him up there thinking my ego could use knocking down a few pegs, but I do believe He allows it (because free will and all). And I also believe it can shape us for the better if we let it guide us back to Him.
At some point postpartum, hands turned upward and empty, I finally surrendered and began asking, "Lord, what would you have me do with this suffering?"
That one question changed a lot for me. There was not only acceptance of my circumstances and my inability to go it alone, but I was asking for His guidance first instead of calling in the angels in the final seconds.
Suffering refined my faith. It has been like endurance training for my soul, and I pray it continues to be. This world will never be without suffering, no matter how many supplements I take or how many birth books I read. It's gonna happen, but in all of my trials He is right there with me. He is holding me and seeing me through.
In my arrogance as a human I forgot that. When I remember this, it brings me peace. It's not all up to me and I am not alone.
"He restores my soul." Psalm 23
"Lord, what would you have me do with this suffering?" For me, the answer was to humble myself to Him, to ask for help and accept Him into my heart, to entrust my soul to Him, to rejoice that through this experience I was drawn to His cross, and to know He alone heals. In this is hope.
Now I am working on reclaiming my identity in Him alone. "Who does God say I am?"
It's been on heck of a postpartum journey. I still have so much more to learn, and I'm sure it's going to get even crazier this side of heaven and in motherhood, but I am excited to bring Him into all areas of my life including my work + vocation.
And I am so thankful that I know without a doubt in my soul that when I wept in fear, sadness, and loss, and when God felt so far away, He was nearer than I could have ever imagined. He was weeping right alongside me, and my heart was and is being transformed by Him.
God restores. I pray we can all rest in that truth.