Labor of Love | by Britta

Everyone around me is getting their gardens ready. They call it a labor of love. Soon they will reap a harvest of yummy fruits and veggies. Every sunburn, sliver, dirty finger nail, and bruised knee will all be forgotten when they enjoy the fruit of their labor. On Mother’s Day I started to think about the different labors I have had with each of my five children. As I recalled them one by one I was reminded by the Lord that each one is very special just like the child that came after that labor. Webster’s Dictionary describes labor as an expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory. Not all of my children were birthed from my body…but they were all a labor of love.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

I honestly think that the labor of a child starts long before we actually are about to meet our child for the first time. We prepare by first dreaming of becoming a mom. What color hair will he or she have? Should I paint the nursery blue or pink?  Some of us get books on how to boost our fertility. How to have the best labor. We get every book we can about parenting.  We walk down the baby isle at Target. Some of us buy books on how to bond with our adopted child. We pour over the internet reading adoption and/or birth stories by the dozen. But in our wildest dreams we never realize that the labor for this child will change and grow us. We learn so much from the process of labor.

When the day finally came for me to give birth to my first born child I had no idea what was in store for me. My labor was induced due to high blood pressure and my feisty red-headed daughter was born via forceps. By the time my second child was due to arrive I signed up for another induction. I thought in my head that I knew all about that and I could do it again…no problem. My hungry toe-headed son was born via c-section. Then came surprise baby number three. I had learned a lot from my previous labors and decided to blaze a new trail. My 3-week late brown haired son was born a VBAC at home.

As I sit back and remember each detail of those labors something stirs deep within me. I start to think about our road to adoption. That is a much different type of labor. After five long years of praying for more children we were called to adopt. I never thought I’d get to hold another newborn but the Lord blessed me with that privilege two more times. My labor for my last two babies was much more spiritual and mental than it was physical. Adoption really is spiritual warfare. We are laboring in prayer for these children lives, literally. My two should not have lived according to the medical community. We are laboring in prayer for them to be raised to know the Lord. Either with us or with someone in their bio family. We are laboring for the truth to be told and that the lies of the enemy will be squashed. We hold up the judges, lawyers, and social workers in prayer. If we are fostering we also pray for the birth parents. For their salvation and for them to be set free from the chains that bind them. We even begin to have a strange love grow in our hearts for the birth parents and family.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58

When we labor in prayer for our foster and/or adopted children we need to remember this scripture. Let NOTHING move you dear mama!! Stand FIRM!! Give yourself FULLY to this work the Lord has called you to…because those that labor for the Lord do not labor in vain!! I remember many of my prayers during our long road to adoption. Oh the tears that flowed on the feet of Jesus during that time. I constantly had to remember that these precious children were God’s children first and He loved them more than I could ever love them…but I love them so much!! My love for my adopted children is just as great as my love for my birth children. No. Different. The labor may look different but in the end my love is the same.

So I want to encourage you today. Whatever stage of labor you are in right this moment, focus and breathe. Do not give up!!! Call on your praying friends to stand with you. Be diligent dear mama. Put on the full armor of God. You have been called to the highest calling…Motherhood.

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When the Going Gets Tough

Romans 12:2

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

I grew up with a saying etched in my values: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” So, when the going gets tough, I make a plan, set my goals, and blaze ahead to make the tough go away. The problem is, in this season of life, my usual tactics of self-dependence just leaves me sitting on the floor, exhausted, overwhelmed, and crying.

You see, some seasons in life are tougher than even the toughest can handle. Whatever your situation, whether family issues, work, finances, or health challenges, there is hope to have the strength enough to handle the blows. Here are a few key practices to turn to when the going gets tough.

  1. Be joyful in hope. Nothing makes the hard situation harder than a sucky attitude. I am the best at building up my home with love and encouragement… and the best at becoming a dark vortex of lifelessness. There is always hope when we turn to the Lord in our touch places. Always. God can do anything.
  2. Be patient in affliction. Patience is not my virtue… just ask my mom, lol. But, patience is something required of a daughter of the Most High God when we encounter situations more than we can bear. God works in His timeframe that accomplishes His purposes in the way that brings Him the most glory. For me, that usually means He does not work on my time clock and often in the way I think He should. As we endure and suffer, we must lean in and trust His plan with patience. Impatience can turn us inward towards bitterness, anger, hatred, and even rejecting God altogether.
  3. Be faithful in prayer. Read Ephesians 6 when you have a moment. Prayer is the offensive strategy of God’s kingdom. When we pray, we advance against the enemy and we invite God’s power, strength, and goodness into our tough places. The awesome thing about prayer too: you can do it anywhere at any time. So pray and then pray some more. You can pray with your eyes open, or on your knees, or walking the dog, or driving your car, or lying in bed. Pray through your tough place, and watch it transform into a place of beauty and unity with our Heavenly Father.

This sounds a bit like pious platitudes, I know. Because I am in a tough place right now and I am writing this post for me.

You might say, “But, you don’t know…. Fill in the blank.”

No, I don’t. But I do know hard… and broken… and hopeless… and fearful… and grief… and doubt. I do know being at the end of all my toughness and needing God’s strength. He is ready to meet each of us here, in the dark places and take us to where His glory dwells.

Will you join me?

-Seana Scott (find her at http://www.SeanaSScott.com or www.facebook.com/seana.s.scott)