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Soul Food Labor of Love
by Jill Ryder
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique


I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately!

Whether a baby is birthed in the flesh or in the spirit; labor pains will take your suffering breath dear souls. One thing is for certain, conception promises a consequence of blood, sweat and tears, for you see, suffering is a necessity in the design of a love story. Yes, the labor of love. I really like Elisabeth Elliot’s definition of suffering. Suffering means “Having Something You Do Not Want”, OR “Not Having Something That You Do Want.”

That Which Is Born Of The Flesh Is Flesh; And That Which Is Born Of The Spirit Is Spirit. John 3:6

I was numbly reminded of that this morning after receiving a call from one of my colleagues. She wanted me to know that she had delivered her baby over the weekend. I held my breath knowing the baby was two months early. After a long silence, her shallow voice started to quiver, trailed by sorrowing tears …I knew. Having suffered three miscarriages myself…oh, how I knew the unutterable words of suffering! As that precious baby died in the flesh, it was born in the spirit. Still, tonight my colleague, like me, is groaning and longing for something that she “Does Not” have…her fruit.

Beloved, remember that God is the creator of every soul and spirit – there is nothing in existence without His command. He knew us before we were secretly knit in our Mothers womb. He knows us from end to beginning. There is no such thing as a mistake when it comes to life. Are we so pretentious to think we ourselves have the power to create life by missing our birth control pills, or take credit when infertility treatment brings a positive pregnancy test? Have you ever found yourself with an unwanted pregnancy? Perhaps by rape, or simply what you deem “bad choices”? Oh suffering!! Does the clay say to the potter you didn’t make me? We can’t become pregnant on our own. Not Physically or Spiritually! You know what else? Our babies? They aren’t our fruit either. The Psalmist says, .” Lo, Children Are A Heritage Of The LORD: And The Fruit Of The Womb Is His Reward. Psalm 127:3 …. His Glory for His suffering!

His “Labor of Love” began with His conception as He knitted Himself into the womb of Mary. Isn’t that marvelous? Scripture says the little children are made of flesh and blood. So the king of Glory poured Himself into flesh and poured out His blood to ransom from eternal death the souls He created. To redeem His fruit (Hebrews 2:14) His labor of love was the cross! Oh suffering souls, if you didn’t get to hold your babies in your arms, or if you did, but only for a precious moment….like my 3…acknowledge that these little ones were a first fruit offering to the Lord. Made perfect and bouncing on the knees of Jesus! I can see His delight even now. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16 Oh my, and remember this …those babies are waiting on their mama’s. You know how I know? Because the word says when we get to heaven we will be known as we are known, and if our children were knitted into our womb then we are known as their Mothers…..Mothers who will be holding their babies.

"He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit"…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering. (John 15:5 and Galatians 5:22)
As we abide in Christ, then dear souls, we birth spiritual fruit! This spiritual fruit makes its appearance as godly character in us. Love is the primary indication that we are trusting the Lord to bring forth fruit in us. "The fruit of the Spirit is love." This is divine love ("agape" love), a love that flows from the heart of God. "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God" (1 John 4:7). It is a unique, heavenly love available only from the Lord.
"The fruit of the Spirit is… joy." Joy is gladness of heart, an inner spiritual happiness that does not depend upon circumstances. It is a spiritual delight in the Lord that is always available, no matter what is happening around us. "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4).
"The fruit of the Spirit is… peace.." "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). It also impacts our relationship with others. "For He Himself is our peace" (Ephesians 2:14). This peace also involves a spiritual calm and tranquility within our hearts.. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
And "The fruit of the Spirit is… longsuffering." Longsuffering would include patience and forbearance.. It would embrace a willingness to forgive and to not seek vengeance. "Put on…longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another" (Colossians 3:12-13).
Once we settle the issue of who’s fruit it is again, once we’ve yielded to flesh, then our laboring begins in the spirit. I can almost feel the contractions when I read what the apostle Paul says in Galatians 4:19, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” Whether a baby is birthed in the flesh or in the spirit; labor pains will take your suffering breath dear souls. One thing is for certain, conception promises a consequence of blood, sweat and tears, for you see, suffering is a necessity in the design of a love story. Yes, the labor of love!

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