After the Hallelujahs

After the Hallelujahs

When my Ramblin’ Man  and I first got married –back in the day! — I don’t remember being very anxious about anything.  Those were the days when I pulled frozen meat out of the freezer in the morning, left it on the counter, of all places, and cooked it up for supper several hours later.  Yes …I did that and by some miraculous intervention, we lived to tell the story!

I used Clorox by the gallons to clean just about everything,  had no clue about the possible harmful effects of microwave use,  knew nothing of what the presence of or lack of BPA in plastic meant, or had any concern whatsoever with what has become a current all-time-fear-obsession  …rust! {don’t laugh!}

I had a somewhat fairy-tale, romantic idea about life …married the man I loved and easily got pregnant with our first child.  Life was good.

My early married blissful thinking continued and  I didn’t really have a fear of pregnancy or giving birth since I came from a long line of fantastic “birthing women”. My mom and sister had successfully given birth to a combined total of 13 children — all  normal deliveries — no miscarriages, surgeries or serious complications that I know of.

But now it was my turn …

After we hit the 2 weeks overdue point and my blood pressure started rising with the tide,  our beautiful  9 lb, 4 oz little boy was ready to come  but the delivery would need some help  …surgery …C-section {Cesarean delivery} …not in my fairy-tale plans.

While being a mama was one of the most wonderful things I had ever experienced in my entire life, recovering from a C-section while my hormones were trying desperately to find  equilibrium,  left me with a feeling that I had somehow failed  womanhood with my surgically induced  birthing process.  At this point I found myself  in the throes of   postpartum depression …and not the “you’ll-get-over-this-in-2-weeks” kind! Mine would last for months!  Not only was this not in the fairy-tale plan but since it was not as openly talked about or understood at that time, feeling alone in the suffering became a reality for me.

Trying to be “normal” again with the labor and delivery of our second baby ended in yet another C-section and two more would follow to round out the four in all.

By this time, my body was not as happy to accommodate the process and the complications of surgery and excessive blood loss made for some scary moments.  There was the ecstatic joy in holding that little baby in my arms while feeling the extreme vulnerability of life being held together…mixing  in waterfalls of emotions.

I found myself feeling very alone  in the hospital that day and asking God …”Why? Why is this happening to me?”

And He softly spoke into my heart …

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings…”

…and the Word  was revealed right in the middle of my story.

I had heard many teach about the “power of His resurrection” and I loved that! The power that raised Jesus from the dead is paramount to the Christian life –the Hallelujah of that Easter Resurrection morning we just celebrated last Sunday.  But somehow I had often stopped at the first part of that verse  and not given much thought or attention to the last half.  I’m not sure if it was a matter of feeling uncomfortable with the idea of suffering or  if this was not as popular to embrace but that “fellowship of His suffering” wasn’t something I think I wanted.  The power of His resurrection  definitely sounded better to me!

I was experiencing something that felt very powerful for sure, but not of the resurrecting kind;  yet as soon as the Holy Spirit spoke this into my heart, I immediately felt an intimacy with the Savior that I had never felt before as He allowed me to participate in the fellowship of His sufferings!   I began to weep as my heart understood the depths of this sharing. I felt closer to Jesus …closer to His pain …a part of our suffering mingled together.    Somewhere I was beginning to understand,  as the Amplified Bible explains, that “knowing Him” has to do with “experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely.” (Philippians 3:10 AMP)

In this verse, Paul ironically shares the Resurrection first — then the fellowship of His suffering.  It seems backwards. Didn’t we go through “Good Friday” first — THEN the Resurrection?  Haven’t we already remembered the suffering so we can  hurry up and  move on to the party?

But this is what I call, “The post-Hallelujahs” …after the celebrations of triumph and the glory of the Resurrection and Easter are over …this  quiet, intimacy of  sharing in the suffering with our Savior –Jesus Christ.

There is often an attempt to avoid this part at all cost.  Even Jesus said, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from me…” and yet this had to be.  There was no way around it.  “Not my will, but Thine be done.”  (Luke 22:42 KJV)

And how could there be  fellowship in suffering? How could that bring intimacy and a deeper knowing?  How could suffering make me “more thoroughly acquainted” with Jesus?  And if this is the way, might there be a more scenic  route …avoiding busy highways, traffic jams and accidents?  I mean, do I really want this kind of fellowship?

And it seems the only way to truly knowing is  a cutting through the walls of pride and self-sufficiency to bring true life into the world of my existence…a birthing of a deeper relationship …a friendship forged in the pain and the scars that can truly say, “I know you and I understand what you’re going through. I feel your pain.  It is my own as well.”

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

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  1. flt

    …and there it is…wondering if you were reading what He was writing over here?! He. Is. Good….

    1. Bernice du Plessis

      Joy, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. Feeling so blessed to be able to share in His suffering…… The service on Sunday was just so beautiful and heart touching…..WOW…..
      Just enjoying His presence right now and knowing how much He loves us. Bless you dear friend.

      1. Joy Waters Martin

        It’s that weirdly wonderful thing …the fellowship of His suffering. So thankful for you, Bernice, and appreciate you dearly. Enjoying His presence with you …

  2. Being known and accepted in our vulnerabilities is perhaps the strongest expression of love there is to be known and it is most challenging to be willing to open ourselves up to that vulnerability. You have done that so well in sharing this part of your life with us Joy. Powerful! Love you!

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      It reminded me of our days back in Chattanooga, Kim — with all our babies in tow …loving life and walking together in all our ups and downs. What precious time for me! Thank you dear friend!

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      @marajoanna7 …you know all too well Joanna … You are a real hero of mine! Keep writing …the Holy Spirit will bring the words and the encouragement others may need from your story. Love you!

  3. Dianne Hunt

    Joy thank you for sharing your heart.God has used your post to speak into my life.If someone looked at me they would not know that I stay in chronic pain with my back and it can become frustrating when no one around me can even be a little sympathetic. BUT GOD who has suffered let’s me know I am not alone and if He chooses to heal me here or I receive the ultimate healing when I see him face to face,I will continue to trust him because I know the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that lives in me.
    May the Lord’s favor and blessings continue to abound to you and your family.I love you.

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      Dianne …you’re one of the reasons I’ve kept my comment section open …you bless me through your words and I love you dearly! My chronic pain has more to do with anxiety and emotional but we both are walking a path that God is shaping us through. May our words bring healing to others through the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s keep praying for each other ! Thanks so much for sharing.

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