I was having a conversation with a friend when she told me about a mantra - something she told herself over and over during the birth of her child. Her mantra was, "This is a good pain." She needed to let herself know the pain was necessary in order to bring about the birth of her child. Something precious and wonderful would come out of this experience where her mind and her body would be pushed to the limits.
Although I am not currently giving birth, or in a situation where I will be giving birth in the near future, I can relate to the idea of a necessary - yet intense - discomfort. I've had challenging years to the point where I've wondered about the usefulness of my struggle. I've questioned what could possibly come from all this pain. It can be difficult to feel like you are watching everyone's highlight reels (via social media or in real life) in the absence of your own. Babies being born, date nights, exquisite vacations, and perfectly captured moments of laughter. As you watch, you can think that no one else is struggling like you - even if it's not true.
Sometimes we need someone to come along. Someone to tell us that this pain, although it's long and it seems to not be going anywhere, is still a good pain. That through this - something will come that will bring about something beautiful. Sometimes we need someone to tell us what we can barely hope to hear - that there's another side. That this challenge, this pain, is not all there is. It's not in vain.
So for any of you who are also going through long seasons of struggle, where your heart feels raw, maybe even broken open. Maybe you're wondering, What's the usefulness of this? You can know that there is more. That there will be another side, because there are people who have also gone through these things. People who have gone through the pains of birth, the pains that can only bring about something new and incredible. After they surrender to the process, the pain, they get to hold their beautiful baby in their arms. Those who have gone through it - they know there is another side to grief and tears and struggle. There is something new to come. Beauty on the other side of pain.
There is something being created, here in this moment. And yet, you cannot comprehend the magnitude and beauty of it. But if we can just hold onto the hope and the promise that is there - that the other side of this does exist - you will one day know what it is and what is was for. This is a good pain. Don't give up. Keep going. It can be so hard and although I can't know your pain I do intimately know my own. I know how isolating, how lonely, and how deep it can feel. You might be in the midst of it now. But is there something exquisite coming. The meaningful life that is being made from it all.