History is filled with individual stories of struggle, pain, tragedy and triumph. We may have some idea of the future we desire for ourselves and our families yet ultimately we have no real clue as to how the future will unfold or what experiences we may be facing some time down the track. Some days I wish I had been forewarned or been handed a book that was filled with every experience I was to be walking through. Thank goodness such insight is not possible as I know it would bring more apprehension and distraction than I could possibly cope with.
Some life experiences are written in books giving us information to be somewhat prepared. Even with preparation we get overwhelmed with new situations. An example that comes to mind is child birth. While there is endless information on pregnancy and labour no amount of reading helped me with the idea of giving birth for the first time. I was excited yet extremely nervous at the thought. In fact I recall when I was younger a conversation my mum and her friend were having about this topic. I remember saying “if that is how painful it is to have babies I am never going to have one”. Little did I know that I would in fact give birth to five babies down the track?
My first pregnancy was going well. After attending a birthday party until late it seemed when we got home that I was experiencing back pain. It was getting very intense. My due date was 5 1/2 weeks away so how could it possibly be labour? Something didn’t feel right and so I was taken to hospital. After being examined the doctor stated that there was nothing they could do to stop me from going into labour. That in fact I was in labour and this first born baby was going to arrive early. All sorts of fears and worries flooded my mind. To begin with I had no idea what child birth was like and suddenly I was faced with a premature childbirth. After 11 or so hours of intense labour my Joshua was born. He was tiny and weighed a little over 2 kg. There was no possibility of cuddles as he was rushed into a special crib and given oxygen. The first cuddle I got with him was after 3 days. It was a brief cuddle. Everything turned out well after lots of ups and downs both physically on my end and Joshua’s. Three weeks went by and Joshua was given permission to come home.
Having had such an experience with my first baby taught me so much. I was stretched beyond my comfort zone. Each step with Joshua was one of learning. After a few months I became more confident looking after him. Eventually routine came into place and my life became more manageable. I was able to enjoy my new baby.
The experiences I went through with Joshua prepared me for all four of the other babies that were yet to be born. This meant that I was no longer as apprehensive about pregnancy and labour. I had experience. I was stronger and more capable of taking care of a family with lots of little onesIn the midst of new experiences we are faced with many unknowns. We often don’t realise everything we go through in life somewhat prepares us for the future. While there is no book detailing the future to come, it amazes me how all of the experiences I have endured have equipped me unawares. It seems that each difficulty that I have ever faced has increased in intensity. Which continues to stretch and challenge always to newer heights providing me perseverance and persistence. The different levels of challenge have given me an ability to outlast the pain barrier. In fact as I am navigating my new season right now on many occasions I think back only a few years and know without a doubt that had I gone through what I am going through now I would not have managed.
In recent days I have felt like quite the novice. For 27 years I only knew marriage. Now I am learning what it is to be walking through a marriage breakdown. I may feel like a novice yet I am still here and breathing, I am moving forward each day, learning and growing stronger. I’m developing new skills and am being stretched once again.
Over 20 years ago we moved away from family here in Canberra. It was the hardest moment of my life knowing that family was not going to be around the corner. I missed my parents and sisters so much until eventually I accepted the fact that we lived far away. Somehow i have done full circle and landed right back where I started only this time without my adult children. I love all of my children so much that words dont come close in expressing my heart for each of them. As I make my new life here in Canberra I am being stretched yet again missing my own children incredibly. I recognise that I have been in this position decades ago with my own parents and sisters.
No experience we go through in life is ever wasted. Each experience the good or the bad trains us to be strong and enduring. There may not be a personalised book detailing our exact future yet we can take courage from the idea that we will get through life’s incredible challenges. We may feel like a novice perhaps lacking confidence. Take heart in the fact that what you have been through has equipped you for today.
You will get through it and keep growing, learning and becoming stronger!