Saturday, August 13, 2022

Is my work worthwhile?

I step into the yard and breathe deeply. All around me, the world slumbers. It is late; yet, I walk. I meander barefoot in the grass, twirling occasionally under the cloud-covered moon. I pause under the towering pecan tree and gaze north, where silent flashes of light illuminate the darkness.  

A jagged line of lightning splits the sky. I continue to watch the flashes of light as a small contraction roll through my body. I turn and continue to walk as my thoughts begin to churn, seeking clarity in the still night air. 

I ponder the challenges in these recent months and weeks of pregnancy: The anxiety, the fleeting depression, and the nocturnal panic attacks that stealthily slither through the dark bedroom to rip me from sleep. Why, God, why? I pray. Why am I having such a hard time with all of this? 

The night offers no response, save the buzz of air conditioning units and the hum of crickets and cicadas. 

I continue to walk and pray as I move back and forth across the yard. My mind grasps for a reason. Surely, God is trying to tell me something, teach me a particular lesson through all of these difficulties. 

No great epiphanies come, but as I move and pray my way across the grass, a simple phrase rises in my heart:  None of this work will be wasted.

As my body pulses and stretches with the gentle tug of my uterine muscles, I think about how all of these “practice” contractions, sporadic and brief in appearance, are not without fruit, even if "actual" labor will not come for several more days. Each one gently guides my body, reteaching it how to open and coax a little child out of the womb. 

None of this work will be wasted.

I think of my children who several times-with the beautiful bluntness of youth-have commented that "Baby might die." What they say is true; even though the baby and I are in good health, we can never take a safe childbirth, postpartum, and newborn days for granted. We can never take life for granted--we could die; any of us could at any time. And yet, even if we don't get to enjoy joyous years with our child here on Earth, all of the difficulties of pregnancy are not without purpose, meaning, or fruit. Our child's destiny is ultimately eternal life with God. Nurturing a human being-a unique unity of body and soul-is a tremendous gift and privilege. 

None of this work will be wasted.

I think past pregnancy to all of the projects that I begin, all of the work that I start which never comes to completion. I think of the rejection letters, the discontinued ministries, the ended friendships that dot the years. I think of how all things, even the failures, are learning experiences. Every single one teaches me about myself, about others, about God, about the life that I am called to live each day.

 None of this work will be wasted.

It can be discouraging to undergo failures, sufferings, or sacrifices and never see good outcomes. We can try so hard to siphon meaning from events, to find hidden gifts and signs; yet sometimes, even our most determined efforts may reveal nothing. 

It's okay if we don't see the fruit of our labors. 

It's okay if we don't understand how challenges, sufferings, and trials are being used to form us. 

It's okay if we experience failure. 

It's okay if we don't experience the instant gratification of good results that we may crave. 

Rather than letting myself become consumed by a desire to know why, I can instead seek to rest in God. I can place my trust in him and live with peaceful assurance that God uses all things for his greater glory. I can dedicate all things to God and know that none of my work will be wasted in his divine plan. 


  1. This is such a beautiful, powerful post! It brought tears to my eyes, I could relate to many parts of it. I love that notion "nothing will be wasted." Oh how I need that reminder on a regular basis! I hope these last days of pregnancy go smoothly for you, the final stretch is always the hardest part for me. Know of my prayers for you and baby!! xo

    1. Thank you for the prayers and encouragement, Elisabeth! I'm so glad you could benefit from reading this :)

  2. I regularly have similar thoughts. You are not alone in this. Here is a blog post from an older mom that has given me alot of encouragement. Maybe it will help you in these last hard endless days of pregnancy.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and solidarity, Ellen! And for passing along that post-that is beautiful, and excellent to read right now :)