Bear your pain with gladness

 In faith, family

Mothers’ Day … it can come with great pain for many. It also comes with great joy. And sometimes, it comes with a heavy dose of both.  Oh, how clearly I remember giving birth to my second baby girl, and then being in the hospital to recover and snuggle my new baby bundle on Mothers’ Day. It was my most difficult delivery; but it also came with an enormous amount of heavenly love and messages from above.

See, I had been having contractions for nearly 24 hours – but they had not been consistent or close enough together to authenticate true labor. However, my body shook as the intensity increased and I eventually woke up my hubby and said I thought I should go to the hospital even though the contractions were still 10 to 15 minutes apart … that was around 3:30 a.m. …

But before we left for the hospital, my husband and father-in-law placed their hands on my head to give me a priesthood blessing. My husband’s voice spoke words straight from Heavenly Father to my heart. At one point he said, “Bear your pain with gladness.” … and I remember thinking, “What pain? I didn’t have much pain last time, and I’m getting an epidural again.”

I tried to convince my hubby driver to find a bakery on the way to the hospital –I craved some warm, fresh bread for a snack. I’m glad that didn’t happen … because when I arrived in a pre-admission room and the nurse checked my progress, she looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t sit up! You’re at a nine and a half. Do you feel the need to push?” Wait – what!?

That sweet nurse then broke the news that an epidural wasn’t going to happen … and crocodile tears tumbled down my cheeks … and then the tears empathetically pooled up in my nurse’s eyes too. This wasn’t my plan. My enthusiasm for birthing my second beauty completely shriveled and all that remained was fear. Utter fear.

… and then the Spirit brought the words from my priesthood blessing to my mind: Bear your pain with gladness. When God had spoken those words He knew what was coming … {Doesn’t He always?} … and He wanted me to know that He knew it all in advance and He knew it right that minute. The words were a tender mercy; they gave me knowledge, motivation and spiritual comfort.

On the other hand, physical comfort didn’t hang around. I gripped the bedrail as another contraction arrived with furious force. This was different than any contraction I’ve ever felt – and not in a good way. It came stronger, and accompanied with a command from my body for the next phase. Without any inner-monologue or conscious decision, I yelled, “I don’t want to push!” The echoes still rippled as my mom and doctor rushed inside the room.

That’s when my doctor, nursing staff, husband and mother all assured me that I could do this. I tried to gain confidence by reminding myself of the centuries and generations of women who have given birth naturally. But, let’s face it, I didn’t want to … I also had to face the fact that at this point, I didn’t have a choice.

Sometimes, we have to push.

It was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. But, thirty minutes later, at 4:36 a.m., my doctor placed a healthy, beautiful girl on my chest. Her thick black hair and quivering bottom lip won me over in an instant. The majority of the pain was over, and the prize would be with me for an eternity.

blog beauty 3

It’s been several years since that birthing experience, and I still hear, “Bear your pain with gladness” whispers. There is so much deep pain in the world – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. No one is immune. And I think we all face times when we just have to push through. Yes, we all suffer.  We feel a variety of pains, and at a variety of levels … but we all feel it. It’s part of the Plan. But why?

As Neal A. Maxwell says, “… how can you and I really expect to glide naively through life, as if to say, ‘Lord, give me experience, but not grief, not sorrow, not pain, not opposition, not betrayal, and certainly not to be forsaken. Keep from me, Lord, all those experiences which made Thee what Thou art! Then let me come and dwell with Thee and fully share Thy joy!’” (“Lest Ye Be Wearied and Faint in Your Minds,” by Neal A. Maxwell, General Conference, April 1991).

So, as contradictory as it sounds, pain and joy go hand-in-hand. No wonder His words to my heart were, “Bear your pain with gladness.” I can try to be glad in the pain, because of the eternal joy the pain can lead to.

With that thought comes a wish and a prayer: May we all be strengthened by our sorrows; may the dark, painful moments lead to light and forever joy. May we greet pain with perspective and with hopeful hearts.

bear pain with gladness


Tell me – have you seen that in your life? Have you endured difficult days and then realized it was indeed in preparation for great joy?

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  • Gail Fage

    Tremendously written life experience teaching God’s wisdom to heed. “Bear Your Pain With Gladness” will be in my thoughts often.

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