The Beauty of Bringing Forth Life

The Beauty of Bringing Forth Life

by Heather Cofer | October 4, 2013

I have always thought pregnant women are absolutely adorable. There is something about them that glows. Like many girls, I had dreamed of having babies from the time I was little (and yes, I really wanted a baby bump). So last year when I became pregnant, I was thrilled! My husband and I had just come out of a season of thinking we may not be able to have our own children, and were deeply grateful to the Lord for giving us this child. But I would have never imagined how significant this time in my life would be, and how the Lord was going to use it to refine and grow me. 

Being the second of eight kids, I watched my mom go through quite a few pregnancies. I was aware of the morning sickness and other aches and pains on occasion, but she walked through it so graciously, I don’t think I realized just how different life becomes.

My first trimester had its difficulties - the typical tiredness, nausea, and food aversions (I never would have thought I would detest the smell of coffee, which led to some minor sacrificing for my coffee-loving husband), but none of this could dampen the delight of the new life growing in me. Still, I greatly looked forward to the second trimester, which held promises of less nausea and more outward evidence of a baby. Sure enough, after week 13, the sickness went away, and the “bump” began to show! I was very excited, to say the least. I loved feeling the baby move inside me and others begin to notice my growing belly. There were times when I had pretty severe back and nerve pain, but the joy far outweighed the pain. There was one thing, though, that was harder for me to swallow more than any other change: the weight gain. To put it simply, I wanted the evidence of being with child without watching the scale go up. Ever since my early teenage years, I’ve been very careful about eating well and exercising regularly, so wrapping my mind around the fact that this weight gain was a good thing was quite the shift. I knew I had to eat more than normal and that I couldn’t do the same kind of exercising that I had been in order to protect and foster the life growing inside me, but instead of accepting it graciously, I often felt very discouraged by it. Also, although I was ashamed of it, I was concerned about what others would think of me. I had the fear that they would inwardly scrutinize my changing form. This was an area that I had already wrestled with previously, but pregnancy seemed to intensify it.

One day, a couple of months after this struggle began, I was thinking about the concept of bearing fruit talked about in John 15. Someone who is bearing fruit spiritually is being continually refined and pruned to bring forth more life. It is not an easy process, and it usually means hard and often painful changes have to take place. But the result of these things is absolutely beautiful, and the difficulty of them becomes a joy as we delight in the Lord and the evidence of His work in our lives.

Right then it struck me that “bearing fruit” physically has many parallels to this. In order for my body to be able to nurture and bring forth life, there were certain changes that had to take place—often painful and uncomfortable changes. But just as the sometimes-challenging process of bearing spiritual fruit is evidence of Christ’s life in us and is therefore something to rejoice in, the changes that were taking place in my body was something I should be thankful for. 

From that point on, my entire perspective was altered. And, as I prepared to head into the third and final trimester, I had a new resolve to be thankful for these changes that were taking place.

I decided to do some things practically to encourage this shift in my thought pattern. When I would notice my face filling out or my pants getting tighter, I thanked the Lord for His goodness. When my feet and ankles became so swollen that others began to notice, I would smile and think, “it is worth it.” I began to call my stretch marks “marks of beauty” as a reminder of the precious life the Lord had given me the privilege of carrying.

This resolve to be thankful was often easier said than done. Every day there was huge bait to turn back to the discouragement that had threatened to overtake me at times. I had to deliberately choose not to listen to my emotions and instead turn to Jesus and His truth. And as I did, He was entirely faithful to His word. I found as each day passed that I chose to fix my gaze upon Him, these things that had bothered me gradually began to grow more and more dim; sometimes days would go by without barely a thought of them. I didn’t feel so self-conscious around others or wonder what they thought of me, because He was renewing my mind to think as He desires me to. By His grace, I was able to walk through the last weeks of pregnancy with deep joy and gratitude to Him for giving me that season of life.

Now, as I write this, I am two months into being a mother to my precious son—most of the extra weight is gone and the stretch marks are beginning to fade. But choosing to keep my eyes fixed upon Jesus is not over, and never will be. I still have the responsibility and privilege, just as every woman of God does, to view my body simply as a vessel to bring Him glory, and to find my joy, contentment, and delight in Him! 

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