Dear Mama, Your Suffering is Not Just for Enduring



I sat here a little while then stood up to get coffee, paralyzed for the moment. I’m 9 months pregnant. With my eleventh child. And I’m, ahem, older. My back has to adjust to the change in my position from sitting to standing before I can walk, or my leg will collapse under me.

I’m heavy, I have random round ligament pains that make me think I’m dying, I hurt and I’m struggling with anemia, to exaggerate all the other things. People wonder why I would go through the physical hurdles of having another baby. (Sometimes even I wonder why!)

Of course anyone reading can surmise the obvious: it’s temporary, and compared to the horrendous trials other people face, my worst day is still a walk in the park.

But then there’s the reality of suffering, even if one knows it’s for a season. And pregnancy can cause real, difficult seasons in life that many simply choose to avoid.

To be transparent, I’ve endured other things in my life during this pregnancy that are far more difficult but they have helped me understand God’s heart behind allowing us to suffer, in whatever situation.

Is there actually good in suffering? If you are a Christian, you know the answer to that is “yes”, though that may be the biggest paradox in the human life.

The Clincher About Suffering

Suffering, the Bible says, brings about all sorts of good in our lives, if and when we are willing to let it. And that is the key. Nancy Leigh Demoss said, “We can choose to whine or we can choose to worship.” And it’s true, that choice makes all the difference in the world.

As I spend these last days in pain and suffering, also enduring the deeper trials of heartache life can bring, I can honestly say I see it differently than I once did. It’s more than just something to get through. It may just be that this will likely be my last baby at the age of 43. Or who knows: perhaps I’ve actually grown up a bit.

But we live in a culture that deplores suffering and because of that, can be critical of our very choices to not avoid it. “Why would you do that to yourself?” But what if it’s more like allowing the Creator of the universe to have His way in my life, trusting in His mercy and grace, resting in His goodness and–here it is–when suffering comes along, and it will (“In this life, you will have trouble…”)

to rejoice,

be glad,

give thanks and

look for that pearl,

that lesson the Lord so desperately wants to teach me,

to surrender my heart to refinement,

to submit to the chisel of His love,

to be glad and enjoy this journey which, without suffering would be spiritually impotent.

That’s what I’ve learned this year and it has brought unspeakable peace to my heart. Why, you ask, another pregnancy with all its challenges?

Because it’s not the pregnancy. It’s the soul. The new life, the new thought of God, the new person with potential to impact the Kingdom for His glory, the one whose days were established before the foundation of the earth that I get the privilege to bring to life.

The suffering? An added benefit if we believe Jesus. Not something we pursue, but receive. Not something we hope for, but rejoice in when it comes.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”  2 Corinthians 4:17

Those verses about suffering sound like happy little Christian quips until we’re called on it. Do we believe the truth?

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1: 2-4

So whatever your season of suffering, rejoice. Surrender. Choose gratitude. Ask God for His refinement as well as His grace to endure it. You’re not just suffering in vain; He’s doing a good work in you.

By His Grace,

Kelly Crawford

To find out more about Kelly, visit her website or her on facebook here.

About Angie Tolpin

Angie is married to her best friend Isaac and is a homeschooling mom to seven children ranging in age from 5 months to 15 years old. She loves to encourage moms and wives and thrives best when accompanied by her husband as they speak together. She is the author of Redeeming Childbirth, The Growth & Study Guide, and the online Bible Study: The Quiet Fight Between Women.

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  1. Peaceful Mother says:

    I’m sorry the author is uncomfortable, but I hardly call being pregnant “suffering.” Why not rejoice in the blessings God gives us, instead of dwelling on aches and pains?

    • Peaceful Mother,

      First of all, pregnancy can bring about much more than discomfort. In my case, I am not suffering nearly as much as other women I know. But if you are reading clearly, the whole intent of the article was to rejoice in not only the blessings God gives us, but to rejoice in the suffering too, because He gives us good out of that.

      My article is to encourage other mothers, not dwell so much on my suffering.

      Furthermore, there’s an important line you seem to be missing: “To be transparent, I’ve endured other things in my life during this pregnancy that are far more difficult but they have helped me understand God’s heart behind allowing us to suffer, in whatever situation.”

      I’m writing from a place of suffering that doesn’t have anything to do with pregnancy right now, I just used it as a springboard to encourage expecting moms because that’s the intent of this blog.

      So comment, but try to be reasonable.
      Kelly Crawford recently posted…What Do You Do When You’re Suffering? Is There More to It?My Profile

    • I totally disagree with this comment as you seemed to have missed what Kelly was writing about. I have had pregnancies that I would consider a discomfort and others where I WAS suffering. If pregnancy and labor wasn’t a form of suffering people wouldn’t be going to extreme measures to avoid it.

  2. @peacefulmother, since this blog is about pregnancy and childbirth, there is relevancy. Because of the Fall, childbirth comes under the curse. We are to worship, praise and be joyful – but does that make pregnancy/childbirth easy? I admire Kelly, she’s had 11 children, AMAZING. To me, that is praising God. I have two and it’s unlikely we’ll have more. I had ten bloodclots in my second pregnancy {with one in the first} and it would be medically concerning if we had more. Did I praise God during my pregnancy? Yes! Did I suffer in some way shape or form? Yes! Suffering may have a scale, but it is still real to the individual sufferer.
    Sarah @ The Life of This Mother recently posted…Top Picks by Homeschoolers {at Educents}.My Profile

  3. Last night we read James chapter 1as a family, and God opened my eyes to the very thing you’re talking about. KJV uses the word “patience”. For the first time I saw it as a work, not a goal. God uses trials to work patience in us by the strength of His Spirit. I can rejoice in that. It’s so amazing how God reinforces the lessons He wants us to learn. I’m not pregnant…I’m beyond that season…I’m here as a visitor via Generation Cedar. So I’m truly amazed at God bringing this article to my attention. Grace and peace to you.


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