Pregnancy can be the most joyous time of your life but it can also one of the most challenging. Heartburn, digestive issues, backaches, muscle pain, a growing belly and those are just the physical aspects. As a mom over 35, my "high risk" pregnancy could have caused much anxiety if I let my thoughts go anywhere they wanted. How can we find joy during a time of pain, waiting and uncertainty? The answer is to choose joy.
|Lot's of joy right here!|
Focus on the end result.
The good Lord is knitting a sweet blessing in your womb. What a privilege. I know it is hard and can be painful. I don't know if it was my age (I'm high risk y'all :D) or just the fact that it was my fourth child but this pregnancy was painful! My hips were killing me, some days I could barely walk.
I would remind myself that these present sufferings are temporal but will produce an eternal reward as 2 Corinthians 4:17 says. I would think about that darling, blessed reward and picture myself kissing my sweet baby.
Love your belly.
I wish I had taken more photos of my baby bump during this last pregnancy. You may not think it is beautiful and you may not feel beautiful but I assure you, you are! The only thing more beautiful than a woman who has that pregnancy glow is the beautiful infant she will deliver. Love that belly! You may miss it someday. True story :D
|1 day before baby 4 came.|
Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Thanksgiving produces joy. Thank the Lord for your precious blessing.
We are called to rejoice, to pray and give thanks.
Life is what you make it. Happiness is a choice. Choosing joy is a discipline. You work at it just as you work at running a marathon. Ask any runner and she will tell you it get's easier as you train. The discipline of choosing joy is no different.
Exercise and eat right.
Understand this: I know you are tired. I would think, I can't use the only energy I have to exercise, who is going to unstack the dishwasher or give the kids a bath? I am here to testify that the energy you put into exercise you will get back. Exercise = endorphins. Endorphins = happy! It is important for you fuel your body with clean, nutrient dense food. Your baby will thank you and your body with thrive. Avoid energy zapping sugar and refined foods. Of course you want to discuss these things with our O.B. or midwife first ;)
Draw your strength from the one source of true joy and strength-Christ.
Nehemiah 8:10 says the joy of the Lord is our strength. You can turn that into an uplifting chorus to sing when you are weary. Ask the Lord to give you strength. Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Lamentations 3:22-25 says,
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
Memorize God's Word.
Times will get tough. As this was not my first go-round, I knew this. I decided to memorize verses for encouragement during those times. I would ask the Lord to get me through this brief moment and then recite some of these verses.
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Romans 8:18
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. James5:17
"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,
offer your body as a living sacrifice. Deuteronomy 30:19
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Romans 12:1
16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:5
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8
Each of my pregnancies presented their own challenges. I was put on be bed rest with my first two due to a blood clot inside the uterus. My third was easiest but I was teaching water aerobics and a barre class up until a month before I had her. Still, I was pretty exhausted after teaching and also caring for two little ones! My fourth was the most painful and exhausting but I praised God for every ache and pain. I was so thankful and happy to be unexpectedly pregnant! I didn't always choose joy, but I am thankful for the times I did.
1 Thessalonians 5:24
"Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass."
Grace and peace,