Groanings and Birth Pangs

Groanings are such a strange concept, they’re uncomfortable and private and just plain guttural. I remember being in labor with Noah and initially feeling self-conscious of how I was responding to contractions. After reaching a certain point, I no longer considered modesty a necessity. I just was.

In the past few weeks, I have experienced moments where I felt so full of emotion that I was left completely empty. My lips could form no words, my very spirit was emptied by the weight of life’s burdens. I found myself praying and unable to utter a single word. In those moments, my heart was groaning, murmuring, and sighing in the most guttural and unashamed form of the word.

In Romans 8 (26-27), Paul talks about how when we have no words, the Holy Spirit uses our groanings to intercede on our behalf. He uses what little words we have and lets God know our hearts, our prayers, and our deepest pains. The spirit pleads for us. For this, I am truly and utterly speechless.

A breathtaking design.

As I re-read those verses this week, I decided to read through the chapter and was specifically drawn to the verses surrounding it.

Romans 8:22-25 (MSG) “All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.”

It’s amazing that through our pangs, our lack of words, and our pain, we are only building a greater yearning for deliverance from this earthly life. As my husband put it, without these experiences, we would not be able to properly appreciate the expectancy of Heaven and the waiting.

I love the pregnant creation (literally and metaphorically), I love being enlarged by the hope that is yet to come. I am filled with awe at my God’s ability to understand my heart when I am a big, pregnant, hormonal mess. I am thankful that He knows my heart, desires, and deepest longings for healing in those I love who are hurting. That He has the ability to heal, restore, and bring life to barren bodies in the darkest of places and situations. My whole spirit yearns for this amidst the pain I see.

A carefully constructed prayer is meaningless when my sigh can resonate with my Father’s heart.

Heed my cry, my God
Abba. Our spirits are one
Heart groans, love collides

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