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The God who delights to humble us

Suppose you eliminated suffering, what a dreadful place the world would be! because everything that corrects the tendency of man to feel over-important and over-pleased with himself would disappear. He's bad enough now, but he would be absolutely intolerable if he never suffered."
Malcolm Muggeridge, as quoted in Elizabeth Elliot's A Path Through Suffering: Discovering the Relationship Between God's Mercy and Our Pain

My labour experience with Elnathan was a wonderful example of God's providence and answered prayer, which I hope we will always look back upon with gratitude. It was also one of the most painful and difficult experiences of my life, which I came out of thinking "Wow, I've been through that and I'm still here!". Our early weeks with Elnathan have likewise been full of examples of God's goodness, and full of physical pain as I've had problems with breastfeeding.

At times I've wondered what on earth God was doing - the pain of birth seemed enough, without the added feeding problems. My answer is that God has humbled us through this pain. We often prayed for humility, and God has answered through suffering. There is nothing like suffering to put us in our place. Pain reminds us that we are not in control. We have to surrender to God's will, not our own. 

Suffering also reminds us not to judge ourselves to be better than others. Would we do better if we were in their place, with their suffering? My relatively small sufferings have given me a greater appreciation for the reasons why people might be afraid of birth, or might give up breastfeeding in favour of the bottle. I don't believe I was ever harshly judgmental of those who opt for elective cesareans or bottle feed from the start. Now though, I realise that I could easily be one of them if I did not have so much wonderful support. 

Pain has humbled me again. May God be glorified.

Deb  – (June 11, 2009 at 11:23 PM)  

Sherrin ~ I am so sorry that you had such a painful labor and delivery experience! Giving birth is quite a daunting challenge. But praise the Lord you are trusting Him through all these learning experiences! I actually had wondered if your labor would be harder than most since you have mentioned on your blog about your back pain. Maybe this did or didn't have anything to do with it. I'm still praying that you will continue to be able to nurse and that all the painful memories will be subsituted with good ones of raising your little one.

(And I didn't comment on your post about Your Wonderful Man awhile back, but what a blessing that your husband is right there with you and helping so much!)

Sherrin  – (June 12, 2009 at 9:58 AM)  

I so much appreciate your prayers, Deb! Painful memories are already becoming smaller in my mind, thankfully! The pain is all worth it.

Faith  – (June 14, 2009 at 8:09 AM)  

God did tell us we would have pain during labor...but...for me it was a pleasant pain because I was so focused on holding my little girl(s). The back labor is tough but looking back.....it is SOOOOO worth it and really, compared to what some people face every day..between physical, emotional, mental or spiritual pain...I'll take childbirth :)
Glad you are sticking with breastfeeding. I loved it although my first daughter had trouble latching on the first 3 days...once my milk came in she was fine. I also had to learn to relax and so I played worship or classical music while feeding her. That helped me. Glad you are doing well!!

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