a choice to love

A quote by writer Ann Voskamp is ringing true for me today:

“Love is not passion. It is the pulse of sacrifice.” 

In this moment of my life, there may as well be a banner hanging somewhere nearby with this quote and the phrase, “Welcome to Motherhood!” just below it.

I’m facing the fact that I’ve had a pretty easy pregnancy, which is coming to a quick ending and being replaced by the final weeks of waiting on baby (as it does for all mothers), and now my sacrifice begins. For anyone who (like me) hasn’t ever put much thought into what your mom sacrificed just to birth you, not to mention raising you for all those years, here are my experiences – and I’m positive there are worse experiences than mine out there. I would say that these things in themselves are not that bad, but right now, I have been experiencing them for 10 months, and some of them are increasing in intensity:

– having to sleep on your side, and not your back (and currently on a rather hard mattress)
– trying to turn from one side to the other in the midst of pain
– waking up from nights of inadequate sleep due to aches and pains
– persistent bathroom stops, all day long and at night
– one word: sciatica
– avoidance of foods you love and crave

And I am just now realizing, at the end of pregnancy, that my sacrifice has not truly begun, but I thought it was almost over.

Yesterday my Korean doctor told me that if I want to have a natural childbirth, I will have to exercise 2-3 hours a day for the baby to come in time. I am willing to bet that it is a bit overkill to try to do that much exercise. But at this point, even an hour of exercise is a lot for me to do, partly because I have sciatica which flares up if I push myself too hard physically, to the point where I am unable to walk on my own. The funniest part of this whole thing is that when I mentioned this to the doctor, her response was, “Well, then, how can you expect to exercise that much?” As if I have no choice but to medicate myself in order for labor to happen.

Well, I do have a choice. And I think yesterday was the first really difficult choice I had to make for the love of my baby and what I (and Willy) believe is best…

I waddled my pregnant self to a gym on a 10-15 degree snowy night in late January, and I walked. I used the treadmill there for about 35 minutes, then we walked home.

Got sciatic pain. Got heartburn. Took Tums. Went to bed. More heartburn. More tums. Sobbed for a bit. Had my husband warm up my heating pad that I’d bought earlier in the day so that I could lay it on my back/butt/leg when (not if) I got sciatic pain. Slept (not especially well).

I already knew just from being married that love is sacrifice, but I know it’s going to be taught to me in a whole different dimension now. There will most likely be very little affirmation or recognition for this sacrifice, at least from the person whom I will be loving on. It will be hard, and that love will require me to suffer.

But I have Someone who has already done this and who I can model myself after. Actually, in the middle of my crying last night, the thing that calmed me down was remembering Him.

3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, 
   a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. 
Like one from whom people hide their faces 
   he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

 4 Surely he took up our pain 
   and bore our suffering, 
yet we considered him punished by God, 
   stricken by him, and afflicted. 
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, 
   he was crushed for our iniquities; 
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, 
   and by his wounds we are healed. 

–Isaiah 53

His sacrifice was the greatest… therefore, I can make it through, even though I’m fleshly, selfish, greedy and like to throw  pity parties.

I’ll choose to thank Him for the opportunity to be more like Him and less like me.

And I’ll choose to love.