One thing that helps me is to remember the process of giving birth. Even though there is life coming, it also hurts more than anything else ever has. There are times when I wanted to give up. But breathing, really working at breathing, squeezing the stuffing out of my husband's hands, listening to the midwife read the words from Isaiah 43:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shalll not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I try to remember these things when the darkness closes in tightly, like a contraction within my middle; that it will pass, like a storm cloud overhead, and that holding hands through a storm is one of God's greatest gifts.
The choir director of my church asked if I would sing "Be Still My Soul" this Sunday as an anthem. The version he gave me had a different translation I had never heard before, but lent itself beautifully to the slow, ballad-like tempo that he played. I had read Mark's blog yesterday afternoon, then read these words last night at rehearsal. This is my prayer for him.
Be still, my soul
The Lord is on thy side;
Stand calm within
The storm of grief and pain.
Trust in thy God to order and provide;
Through every change
God’s faithful light remains.
Be still my soul, the restful peace within
Through trying times
Leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul;
The wind and waves shall know
The voice who ruled them
While he dwelt below.
Torment and doubt have slipped into the past;
All darkened mysteries
Shall shine at last.
God’s burning sun shall melt the ice of fear;
Lift up your heart,
God’s soothing voice to hear.
Be still, my soul
When light you cannot see,
And trembling skies
Speak to the fear in thee.
The face of God illuminates the night
Unending peace and trust in perfect light.
Be still my soul, when tears fall from above;
You are divine,
Eternally in love.
Hold on, Mark. Please get some help. And remember to breathe and not give up.