I remember like it was yesterday. I was snuggled up on our couch in Ecuador as I ate some spicy food and talked on the phone with my friend Abby in Texas. My contractions had started at 5 o'clock in the morning. It was now 8 in the evening. I was seriously beginning to wonder if I was ever going to have a baby. I'll never forget her words of wisdom. She said, "Amanda, try not to fight against the pain. When the contractions come, don't clench your fists. Don't curl your toes. Just let the pain come." I hung up the phone and closed my eyes. When the waves of pain came, I did exactly as she said. I allowed the pain to take over and do it's job. You see, there was purpose behind the pain. I didn't escape the pain, but I learned how to deal with it until it passed. Boy, did it work! One hour later we were on our way to the hospital and everything went pretty fast after that. Allowing the pain to overcome me brought me the most beautiful gift this life can offer. I got to hold my baby girl just a few hours later.
What beautiful words to live by. I sit here four years later snuggled up on the couch as the princess sleeps. I lost my father a few weeks ago and I'm trying not to clench my fists. I'm trying not to run. Some days I do well. Other days are so difficult that I can hardly breathe. They say "it's normal. It's part of the grieving process." You know, in some ways, I thought I would be more prepared to handle the death of my dad since I lost my mom already. I thought it might be easier. I was wrong. I find myself trying to stay busy because it hurts too much to be still. And yet I hear the whisper, "Do not run in the opposite direction when you see pain coming. Don't clench your fists and run the other way. Let it come, it will not overcome you. Do not be afraid, I am with you."
I know that God can make beauty from ashes. I have seen Him fight battles on my behalf. His love runs deep within me. Yet when I am feeling down and weak I find myself questioning Him, "Lord, why both parents? What have I done? I feel so alone." (The enemy can sneak in without warning and make you believe all kinds of lies). Please heal the hole in my heart. Please...tell my heart to beat again.
I think I have come to realize that I need this pain to be a part of me rather than "leave" me. I've been trying to run from it to make it go away when instead I need to face it head on. I need to look at it in the eyes and say, "Come." Pain is not my enemy, although I first thought that it was. My heart feels raw like it's on an operating table. It's vulnerable and tender. But I don't think the pain is here to hurt me. Remember the child sleeping in her bed. Remember the child that God sent to die on the cross. Was there pain? Absolutely. God allows pain to bring about something beautiful. I don't know what it is yet. But, God is good. His love is perfect and overwhelms me. I can trust in Him even though it hurts.