Like I mentioned before, morning sickness was just about the worst thing in the world. The more I think about it though, I think this sickness really needs to be renamed. “Morning” sickness? I mean, who the heck came up with that???
I’ve taken the liberty to rename this hell that hath many women couch-ridden for days and weeks at a time.
- The “Hang-a-vomit-bucket-around-my-head” sickness
- The “Grab-my-flippy-floppies” sickness (because I’m never getting off this boat)
- The “Don’t-touch-me-look-at-me-or-sit-by-me” sickness
- The “Throw-me-the-saltines” sickness
- The “Oops-I-put-a-permanent-body-dent-in-the-couch” sickness
- The “What’s-next-after-I-watch-ALL-the-Netflix” sickness
- The “Kate-Middleton-has-it-worse-but-how-does-she-still-look-like-that” sickness
What do you think? I vote the “Oops-I-put-a-permanent-body-dent-in-the-couch-sickness.” It seems fitting, considering the dent in my couch isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
For those of you in the midst of pregnancy blues, I’m really sorry to say that I don’t have any words of advice to aid your physical suffering. Nothing helped me feel better at all. I tried everything people suggested and I was on medication for a while which only made me feel drugged up. Since nothing helped, I kind of just had to deal with it. (And by deal with it I mean me and my kiddos watched a lot of Netflix. A lot, a lot.)
Though I found no relief for my physical suffering, I did find some relief for the spiritual toll it started to take on me. I think our pains are the absolute worst when we allow ourselves to cave in when we are suffering. The bouts of crying that I experienced during it all were always when I started to feel sorry for myself.
If there’s anything I learned it’s that self-pity definitely isn’t a cure.
It only makes things worse.
I knew I had to try and get out of those funky moments through prayer. I couldn’t be sick to my stomach all the time, while simultaneously crying. I had to try and find meaning in my suffering, or at least direct it with a purpose. At some point, I realized that I could continue to wallow and feel sorry for myself, or I could try and offer up my suffering.
Honestly? At first, I definitely treated this type of prayer as a sort of tool to help me magically feel better. I hoped it would serve as a bargaining chip that I could hand to God and say, “See! I’m praying! Now please make me feel better!”
How awful, right?
But God responded to my selfish pleas by prompting me to think outside of my own little world. Offering up my suffering with selfish motives was doing nothing to help my spirit. God began opening my mind to remember all the people who were suffering in ways similar to me, but even more, he began showing me that my suffering was incomparable to the trials some people have to go through.
I thought of all the women who struggle with infertility. I remembered that there are so many couples who pray hard every day for a baby, and realized that they would most definitely trade places with me any day if they could only have a child of their own.
I thought of the many women who were enduring the pains of a miscarriage, or still reeling from the loss of a child.
I remembered that there were many women who were actively contemplating an abortion because the difficulties of being a mother seemed too hard to bear.
I thought of the unborn–I thought of all the beautiful babies who would never have a chance at life because it is stolen away from them.
I remembered that there are so many people who are diagnosed on a daily basis with serious or fatal illnesses, many of whom are enduring hard rounds of chemotherapy.
And I began offering my suffering for them. All the little things that I didn’t think I could accomplish on my own, I could for them.
Of course, praying in this way didn’t make me feel any better like I had first selfishly hoped it would. But as I tried my hardest to keep these intentions in my mind, the meaning behind all the sickness I was experiencing was elevated and transformed.
That is the power of redemptive suffering.
On the cross, Christ gave meaning to our suffering. He allows our pain to be transfigured through him. He makes it new. He makes it powerful. He makes it important.
He allows us to use our suffering as a tool for another. He takes our offerings–the little moments in our day when we accept what we don’t like, want, or that bring us pain–and he uses them for the sake of another.
When we willingly accept our own crown of thorns by leaning into him, he in turn crowns us with his glory.
I wish I could say that I came to a state in my ten weeks of suffering where I completely quit complaining and wallowing in self-pity. I didn’t. God still has a lot of work to do on me, and it’s up to me to daily allow him to do it.
I speak of this experience I had with suffering not to paint the picture that I’ve “got it all figured out” or something of the like, but rather to express how, at our lowest points, when we let him, God works in amazing ways to transform us to become more like Christ.