News & Book Review: Holy Labor

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Quite a bit has occurred since the last time I've written. I'm still unsure of where I'm wanting to redirect this blog, but that will come in time. We have been quite overwhelmed and underwhelmed at times and because of that, this site has taken a backseat. Which is totally ok! But I have missed it, I've been so quiet lately. So to get back into things, I'll start with some news and then a book review...

First, the news. Over Independence Day we announced that we are having another little blessing! And just the other week we found out it's another boy! We are halfway right now and due the end of January. I'm still figuring out insurance and provider things, but that will come in time, I'm not worried. I didn't feel peace about where we were with that beforehand which is why it is changing, and knowing that we didn't see the provider that delivered Taylor until  I was 34 weeks along (another few months from now).. well, I'm not worried. It's incredible the kind of peace you can find in situations that would drive others crazy when you find that true joy and assurance in Christ, above all. (I just have to remind myself of this often)

That's another thing. We have had a hard year, and last year, too. Remember we lost two babies? It's incredible to know that this little one has made it and is growing and on his way to us! It is a true blessing. I'm already getting looks and comments from some we know and complete strangers at the grocery store about "having my hands full" and "being too young" or "not knowing what I'm doing." How obnoxious, right? And downright disrespectful, among other things. Note to all reading: never disrespect a mother by telling her she is inadequate or overwhelmed or anything of that nature! Encourage her, instead! Children are a blessing and should be treated as such! We are so grateful to have this child to come, what a blessing and promise fulfilled after such a long, hard year of losses we've had. Never say those things to an expecting mother, because you never know what she has gone through to get to where she is today. It truly is insensitive. And if you knew what we went through, then I know you'd think twice about saying things like that. God chose this little man for our family at just this time for a purpose. We are so, so thankful. And Taylor is oh so excited for his "baby brudder!"

On to the book review. I am so excited about this book. I didn't even know about it until I received an email from the publisher, but oh, I was so blessed to receive it. I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and that is what I'll be doing today! So here it is:

Holy Labor: How Childbirth Shapes a Woman's Soul by Aubry G. Smith

Where do I begin? This book has been much needed.. and is probably the only one like it. Seeing childbirth from a Christian perspective, deep in theology, is life-altering. It truly is. Growing and birthing a child is not just a "medical event," "curse," or something to simply endure. It is a gift, and a window into God's own experience of birth and creation throughout all time. Childbirth is a deeply personal and spiritual experience, and the author shares that in many different ways throughout the book. After all, a little disciple and future world-changer for Christ is born at the end of it!
The author presents a beautiful theology of conception, pregnancy, birth, parenting and more. Even loss and birth trauma are handled with care and grace, which is something I really appreciated. It helps you to see the hand of God in knitting together your little one and the scriptural and doctrinal evidence for the sanctity of the growing life. One thesis is that childbirth is not fundamentally God's punishment on women but an area of redemption and growth---as it can teach us much about God and His grace. Birth is not necessarily a medical event and should not be feared. Birth is not an emergency, it is a happy day! One thing Smith touched upon greatly is submitting ourselves to God's design, becoming fearless in childbirth because He holds all things together. In this process of releasing control and trusting Him, we will not be disappointed if things in fact do not go our way. Birth trauma is real and lasting, yet so many just don't know the impact--- by placing our trust in God, we can have peace about birth no matter which way it happened or didn't happen. Like I said, handled with care and grace. What a saving perspective!

A beautiful excerpt:

Childbirth brings us to God in a very unique way: in wonder and awe, in fear and sometimes agony, in loss of control and anchoring ourselves to Him. It can be traumatic, transformative, pain, agonizing, anxious, beautiful, and messy. Childbirth is complex and unpredictable. And God uses it as grace in our lives to make us more like Him.
At the end of each chapter is a list of spiritual disciplines that coincide with the topic, as well as different ways to exercise them. I enjoyed how this book not only covered all aspects of all types of birth and the narrative of birth in the gospels and Christ yet also paired the teaching with disciplines to aid in learning and internalizing the truth.
For instance, Chapter 1 is about retraining our hearts and minds in the whole gospel, focusing on the fact that in Christ (with Christ in us), we become a dwelling place of God's presence; therefore we train ourselves to be attentive to His presence in this current age of media and distraction. Spiritual disciplines to right this narrative include solitude, meditation, and prayer: lose distractions and rest with God and His Word, imagine God knitting the child together in Your womb, pray for any concerns about childbirth and ask Him about the details, meditate on God's great love and mercy for you in the places you've seen him working.. Listen. Rest. Journal the Word. It's incredible, applicable, and practical---what a way to truly dwell in the miracle that is pregnancy and the impending childbirth!
I'll end this with the last chapter of the book, another except, because it is just so, so good. This book is for all types of mamas, no matter where you are in your journey:
Ultimately, as image-bearers of God, our identity is not in childbearing, but in Christ. Women who never become mothers--by choice or not--are not inferior, unfulfilled ,or lacking. Women who are mothers are not merely successful uteruses, solely defined by their children and their role as mother. We cannot fully understand God's providence over our wombs and our lives. But we can trust his goodness no matter what our circumstances may be or become, because we know that in all things, he longs to make us like himself, and he is working for our good. May our eyes be attentive to God's work in our lives and in this world as we await the birth of the new heaven and new earth and of our bodies that will grieve no more.


This is not your typical pregnancy and childbirth book. This book is a gospel-and-grace-laced reference for an eternally and spiritually minded mama who longs to rest with God, and experience Him in the transformative experience of birth and mama-hood. I am so grateful for a free copy to review and will definitely be recommending it to all the mamas I know!

*This is a sponsored post. I received a free book in exchange for honest review and promotion. All opinions expressed are my own.


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