I am in transition.
We are getting ready to move our little family of four out of state. Many unknowns still lie ahead as we step out in faith. We are confident, excited and full of hope. But there are occasional moments when all the unknowns, the tense pressures and the shifting of my life begin to bear down intense weight on my mind and I feel my head spin out of control and everything seems crazy….
I am not here.
But I am not there.
I am somewhere in between.
It’s a familiar feeling…when have I felt this before?
When have I felt as if I was splitting in two from the pressure and I could not even see straight and everything was blurry?
Oh I remember now…..when I was in…transition………….during…..childbirth!
When the baby was not quite in my womb
And not out into my arms
But somewhere in between.
God led us to choose natural, midwife assisted home births for the births of our children and so having experienced natural birth I can attest that transition in childbirth is the hardest part. In my Bradley (“Husband Coached”) Childbirth method class workbook it describes transition by saying things like –
Sensations change greatly often causing panic, disbelief, and fear. You may feel the baby shifting into alignment, a lot of pressure…may feel frantic, confused, self-doubt, unsure, scared, nervous, may give up, may yell.
So the women you see in the movies, screaming like wild banshees and going totally berserk? That is not labor, that is TRANSITION, which is the mountain peak of pain and intensity of the labor. Transition is the short, but head-spinning, body-splitting time right before the baby comes. Once you feel that crazy, once you feel like you just can’t do it…it’s almost over, your baby will soon be in your arms!
I believe that God teaches us spiritual things through the natural things, the natural reflects the supernatural. As I navigate through this life transition I recall all that I learned through the physical experience of transition.
What we know for sure…transition is HARD!!
With my first child’s birth I remember when I was in transition, I began to doubt. Doubt my ability, doubt that everything would turn out ok. I thought to myself, “if this is not transition then I sure don’t want to experience what is” (thankfully it was). In the birth of my second child I felt so completely out of control. I wanted it over! My son was barreling through transition, shifting my body at an intense rate and I could not even see straight. Then my husband whispered in my ear “just focus on the midwife”. She was right in front of me and I opened my eyes and I just fixed my eyes on hers and everything around her began to swirl into a blur and all I could see were her eyes. I just listened to what she and my husband said.
I love the idea of “husband-coached childbirth” as it applies to this analogy of comparing it to our life transitions. If Jesus is our “husband” we focus on his voice, on his direction. We look him in the eyes; keep our focus on him and all the rest grows strangely dim. We must set our face like flint on Jesus’ face to stabilize when everything feels out of control.
If we are to embrace transition and allow the shifting necessary to make room for the new life coming, we must rest. As a woman relaxes during labor her body can do the work. We can enter into God’s rest and peace in the midst of the pain and tension of transition as we surrender to the process. This is the hardest thing for me, I want to hurry my way through a transition to get to the other side, but rest makes me feel I am slowing it down, when in fact it is doing the opposite. Rest allows Holy Spirit to breathe his work into us as we are transitioning.
One of the best things for a woman in labor during transition is to have very little to no distractions; women often have need for quiet and deep concentration. Distraction can often cause more pain and prolong the transition process. How much so can we apply this to our lives, to get rid of distractions during these times we are transitioning? Getting rid of distractions enables us to focus on the one thing that will get us through this transition…His face.
When a mother is in transition she doubts herself and her ability. She needs people around her to remind her of who she is, that she can do this, that she will do this. People who remind her of her identity, her strengths, remind her of the truth and promises of God. Something I say to every mom who doubts is “You can do this! You were made for this!” During transitions we must surround ourselves with the truth and people of truth. People who speak our identity and call us into our destiny.
Another thing we can learn is that there is hope! The pain of transition is not in vain, but rather the expectation of the child to come, despite the pain, childbirth is full of hope. Transition is not for nothing! The other side of transition in labor is a beautiful baby! Childbirth is a beautiful, hopeful, life changing moment. Likewise the other side of our life transitions will bring us new life, so there is hope now in the midst of this transition. Transition is beautiful.
Our current transition started over a year ago. We began to sense it coming, we felt the shift within our life group, we thought it was our families, or our group. And things did shift within those families and within that group. But then my husband and I began to travel and see that transition was everywhere. Transition is happening to so very many all over. Transition is happening in the body of Christ. This is so much bigger than all the individual transitions that are going on. Holy Spirit is moving and shifting people and places… as one body we are shifting, we are in transition…and what are we in transition to? On some level the people of God are in a lifestyle of transition, always transforming, as scripture says, from glory to glory. We live in the now and the not yet. We are not really on earth, nor are we in heaven…we are somewhere in between…we are on a ladder bringing heaven to earth. But beyond that, Holy Spirit is shifting people to new places and new roles and new levels to make ready His body for the move He will do. I believe ultimately what is going to be birthed out of this transition is the pure, spotless and beautiful bride of Christ. As Romans 8 declares that all creation is groaning in eager expectation as in childbirth for the children of God to be revealed, for the bride to be unveiled. If all of creation has been groaning all of this time in labor, then perhaps now is the transition of that labor. (I also wrote a little about this in my Hope Groans post.)
In the beautiful place that is somewhere in between,
Surrendering to the process we find ourselves in,
Entering into the rest of God,
Eyes fixed like flint on Jesus’ face,
Clearing away the distractions,
Surrounding ourselves with truth and truth speakers who call out our true identity
And clinging to HOPE,
We will make it through this transition to the new life that awaits us.