This is Our Journey. Part 2: Thorns in Paradise.

Next time you see newlyweds, tell them to take a good look at their spouse. . .

I was energetic, bubbly and vivacious.
If I was a drink, effervescent would be me.
After the birth of our firstborn, blue and weepy was my name.

Suddenly, within a twinkling of an eye, my body had metamorphosized into something else, unrecognizable to me.

The stretch took a toll on me. I couldn’t sit properly, I needed a gym ball to support my warped back and hurting spine. I couldn’t stand for long. My fast-paced walks were replaced by slow trudging paces, hobbling from the pain of my back and the C-section wound, or tiptoeing around the house, lest the baby wakes up again.

Our nights were long and winding. We were somewhat drifting in between walking human beings and zombies. I can’t remember being fully dressed at any given point.

My head hurt, my back ached, my sight was blurry, my tummy sagged down and my heart was heavy. Diastasis recti took a toll on me. Damn! I hated the feeling of being weak.

I had no time to adapt to my new self, yet I had to. . .

The feeling was so overwhelming. Johhny found me sobbing my eyes out one day. He took me in his arms and said, “We will be all right Hunnie, our weakness, is His strength. We will just need to adapt.”

This adapting was too foreign. The theory seemed too easy, the practicality bit of it, was another. . .

Two words, weak and adapting.

Those two words couldn’t even seem to co-exist together, yet God knew, that in our weakness, we would need Him, and we would still need to adapt to every season He presents to us.

The recti had taken a toll on me so bad that it rendered me incapable of doing basic things that I could do.

I couldn’t carry my child without screaming out in pain. My husband would bathe me because stretching out my hand meant moving my back, and that was excruciating.

There was this growing tension between wanting to escape the pain on one side and learning to trust and rest in where God has us.
My body felt like a worn out car, having a maintainance cost. I wanted to be well, to be whole, but then, here was a situation that God allowed. I grieved my lost strength.

Then there was Johhny who bore my pain indirectly. In marriage, thorns don’t pierce only one party. Our spouse may get pricked, but both bleed.

I could see how much he wanted me to be well. He went to great lengths to bear my pain. He still called me beautiful, still thought and felt that I was desirable, but I hated my new body, because I associated it with pain.

See, Paul was given a thorn. Paul tells us he pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave him_2nd Corinthians 12:7.

Whatever this thorn was, it pierced Paul deeply, yet the thorn-giver was God.

Sounds confusing? Right.

It’s funny how God customizes our thorns. They grow virtues in us that would actually never bear any fruit in merriment or comfort.
We all experience thorns but plead the Lord, like Paul, to remove them from us, yet they are there for a purpose.

Next time you see newlyweds, tell them to take a good look at their spouse.

Thorns produce a weakness, and those thorn-constructed weaknesses, create the fruit necessary for marriages to go the distance; fruit achieved in no other manner than by flesh-splitting pain.

God also uses thorns to connect us to His strength. The Bible says in 2nd Corinthians 12:9, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.

Weakness is the place where we meet God in our inability, and discover his remarkable power.

Perhaps, God allowed my journey to be difficult to suppress any kind of pre or post partum idolatry. You know the kind where you are obsessed with your pregnancy journey because “nothing happens to you” since you take vitamins, folic and Pregna-Care.

The kind of idolatry that debases other women for going through C-section, after all, “they didn’t exercise enough, or take enough pineapples!

Perhaps there were lessons of love God wanted to nurture in Johnny and I, teaching us over time that sex should be less about physical attraction and more about being together. . .a heart to heart connection even after the children come.

Perhaps God was at work to growing Johnny into a husband who knows how to encourage his wife even when she hated her body.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Eventually, my gaze shifted.

We realized that we had to quit living a thorn-centered life, and begin living a grace-centered life, because God had already provisioned for it.

I received “sufficient grace” to change how I viewed myself. With time, I began seeing God in every space and every margin of my new found life. I saw my body as a cup filled, out pouring itself as a living sacrifice to God.

Motherhood become fulfilling.

I thanked God for a husband who saw me once as an hour glass and then, as a mound of wheat but still smitten over my un-proportional parts.

My thankfulness changed my thoughts and my perspective. My thankfulness yanked me from the comparison trap of what was slowly building.

Funny how we clench our fists tight, yet His grace is sufficient in all things.

God is never doing just one thing in what he does with us. He is always doing thousands of things that we cannot see.

He never has only one purpose in what he does. He always has thousands of purposes in everything he does.

For those who love him and are called according to his purpose, all of them — all of them! — work together for good.

The steps to recovery were hard, but they were purposeful. Healing was not without its tears, but those tears fell on fertile ground. A ground that was effervescent with His grace.

I was not self reliant any more, but relying on God’s grace and strength at every step of the way.

Possibly it’s a rogue husband, a sick child, a financial crisis, miscarriages, death of a child or loss of job, whatever the thorn is, don’t sanitize it.

God might be growing something in you that you would never have grown.

Grace comes to those who redirect their attention from what God denies to what God supplies.

Do not let grievous loses or painful trials have the final word in your marriage. Your trial isn’t your own, but your spouse’s as well. Don’t forget each other during those bends. Don’t assume that your spouse isn’t doing enough to be “well.”
God is growing them too.

Walk the road together, extend grace, communicate your hurts and fears openly, whilst prayerfully relying on Christ.

Love each other well through the journey.

Next time you see newlyweds, tell them to take a good look at their spouse. Then remind them that if their marriage is to endure, they must remember that He’s God if He removes the thorns from their paradise and He’s still God who will grant the never ending grace to live with the thorn too. . .

We are John and Mary Munene and we love the Lord! Christ is our all in all! All we are is by God’s grace. Apart from having our individual careers, we are ardent bloggers, authors and misters of God's word. We have been blessed with two amazing children. A beautiful daughter and a handsome son. We love adventure, anything with lots of adrenaline is always a ‘go-thing’ for us! A cup of coffee next to a fireplace and a good book always does good to our souls! Hope you enjoy this blog!

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We are John and Mary Munene and we…