“The World is in labor,
She groans in travail…..”
Lyrics from, “For the Love of it All”, Paul Stookey
Peter, Paul and Mary
Every where I look these days I have only one word that adequately describes this season to me…Transition.
There has never been a more poignant season of transition. Globally the news is full of reports of wars, riots, regimes falling, economic crisis. It’s as if the entire world is shaking and shifting….groaning. As an American celebrating this 4th of July, Independence Day, I feel more concerned and prayerful over this nation than ever before. I believe our only hope actually rests on taking our God given freedom and freely choosing to become completely dependant on God. The problems in our nation have escalated to unprecedented heights.…
Staggering debts, unemployment, rising costs, it’s as if the very nation is….groaning.
In my own young fellowship there is a squeezing and shifting best described as a state of transition.
Like a woman in labor….about to deliver….the squeezing, the stretching, the intensity of the pains increasing and coming closer and closer together…ah yes, transition.
When the early labor begins, it’s so exciting! New life is coming! There is still the ability to laugh, to walk together, to rock and soothe. It’s a time of great joy and anticipation. The pain is….manageable.
Oh….but when things shift into the transition phase of giving birth…
Things can get…intense, even downright ugly.
Having birthed 4 babies and being privileged to attend several births, I can tell you a bit about transition.
I have seen quiet little mama’s practically stand in the stirrups on the birthing table and tell things they never dreamed of saying out loud, and sweet voices changing to almost grizzly bear growls.
I heard one poor woman shout, “I’m done.“ She was cancelling the whole thing and just wanted someone to stop the process and let her go home.
My girlfriend told me she was putting her “face” on when transition hit. She had only gotten past the green primer that helped tone her pregnancy induced red flushed skin when like a race car, her body shifted gears! She gave birth looking more like Shrek than herself, although her poor husband might have wondered if she had taken on ”true love’s form”!
She laughs about it….now. I’m still laughing! It’s a perfect picture of transition!
So….I guess what I’m saying is….once the baby is born, all the green faced growling, name calling, angry outbursts, words said under pressure and in the squeeze, the husband that doesn‘t seem to get what’s happening, say the right things, or goes too fast or too slow…well, they just don’t matter.
Actually, they become a precious part of the story.
The transition phase isn’t much fun when you’re in it…. but later it is remembered with a lot of joy and laughter!
When I realized I was sitting in church next to some green faced ogres, and there were some pretty amazing words and emotions swirling around….I thought…transition! Here we go! It won’t be long now!
It won’t be long now….although it seems like forever to the ones laboring and feeling the pains, the squeezing…transition doesn’t last forever. Soon we’ll get to hold “the baby”…and the joy of that moment will be worth it. It’s going to be worth it all.
Transition is best handled with grace, lots of love, and not taking stuff said personally. In addition to prayer and Bible study here are a few ideas to consider.
Some tips if you are in “transition”:
1. Rest as much as possible between contractions.
You will need strength to push and then care for the “baby” God is bringing. Rest between the pains and the tremendous pressure and stretching.
2. Focus on what’s important.
So what if every one sees your green face, or you said or heard some pretty ugly stuff? Focus on what God is birthing.
3. Don’t forget to breathe.
Stop and take a breather. Relax, don’t hold your breath! Be aware.
4. Work with your body.
You may need to change position…rock a while, lay aside, get low.
5. Ask for what you need.
It’s okay! Ask for a backrub, ice chips, someone’s hand to squeeze, for quiet time, for….help. Transition is no time to be alone!
6. Forgive quickly.
Forgive. Forgive generously. My friend, Susan, shared that it helps to focus on how God feels about that person. Let’s remember John3:16!
The word of God tells us…
We know the whole creation is groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
We are all in this season! Joined by the entire creation we hear the sounds of the season…the groaning that is beyond words, the roar from even the most timid soul, the squeeze, the pressures as God Himself is enlarging us….stretching all of us in His own way.
It’s a time for love, grace, prayer, grace, humility, more grace….um- did I mention….Grace?J
Romans 8:22, NIV