going natural

My baby sister is fixin’ to have a baby tomorrow, y’all (she lives in the South now). Well, tomorrow’s her due date, I should say. I reckon lil’ Miss Mia will come out when she’s good near ready.

And I think I’m confusing South Carolina with Mississippi. Or Kentucky.

Speaking of, I met the sweetest gal from Kentucky at the Siesta Celebration in Houston. She told us how she’d stopped at Subway before coming to the church and ordered a sub on white bread. The employee looked at her, looked back at all the loaves, looked back at her and said, “I’m sorry. We don’t have that kind of bread.” (You know–Waaaat bread.)

Oh, wow. Digress much?

I’m not used to being this far away from a sister/sister-in-law when a niece or nephew is getting ready to be born. I have seven (nieces/nephews, not sisters). Four I met before they left the hospital, and three I met within a few days. I don’t know when in the world I’ll get to meet Mia, and I could just bawl. (I love you, Stephi!)

Speaking of love and childbirth, we were at Life Group (a small group of people from our church that meet to discuss the morning’s sermon and pray for each other and stuff) on Sunday night, and we were talking about loving people. Specifically, people who are difficult to love (at least in our estimation).

I have this little saying that I’ve written down in a partially-finished book. As far as I know, I thought it up myself. (Kind of like the Get-Out-Of-Sex-Free Card from Blushing Bride. Anyway.) We girls were outnumbered by the guys in our group, so I hesitated for a second before I said it, then decided to just blurt it out.

“Some people you just can’t love without an epidural.”

Meaning, some people are just easy to love. They do things that I like, they say things that make me feel good, they don’t chomp ice or their gum really loudly. I can love them naturally, in my own strength, with little to no pain.

Then there are the other people. The ones who make me cringe. The ones who get under my skin. The ones who have hurt me in the past, and I’m holding on to bitterness. The ones who suck me dry. The ones who I wish God would stop blessing because goodness knows, they don’t deserve it.

Awful. I know.

But it is what it is. And I am called to love. I have no excuse. When I find myself face-to-face (or cyber-face-to-face) with someone I just can’t love naturally, I call for the Anesthesiologist. And unlike the anesthesiologist at the hospital, He’s always there, Big Huge Needle at the ready. All prepped for the God-Epidural to be injected into my poor little back.

(This is why I thought the guys in our group might not appreciate the illustration. Surprisingly, they were all over it.)

If you’ve had an epidural, you know they don’t always take away all the pain (both of mine did–praise the Lord!). You still have work to do. And eventually, it’s gonna wear off. But the pain of natural childbirth is yow! (been there, done that too)

Bringing it back to our lives today, my question is this: What one thing in your life right now are you trying to do naturally, on your own, when you really need to swallow your pride and ask for a God-epidural? Anybody brave enough to share?

29 thoughts on “going natural

  1. Tiffani

    Goodness. What a great word picture you painted and I am definitely saying with the others “get off my toes”. This Daniel Bible Study is challenging me in so many ways and this just “fits” perfectly in God’s orchestration of how He’s showing me some places I need to surrender and places I need to check!

    Glad you shared your heart, my darlin’ b/c I needed to hear it!

  2. Gretchen

    Seems I power through most decisions w/o first stopping to pray and ask the Holy Spirit for His thoughts. I’m getting better, but boy, am I human!

    Congrats, Auntie!

    Had to read this and give it some time to gel before I came back. Very nice.

  3. Holly V.

    So…..I could write an entire book about my 2 epidural experiences. Let’s just say that I still have scars from the 13 plus needle pricks I had in my back for my two babies. While I don’t feel the physical pain anymore….I can still see the scars.

    Unfortunately, I am still feeling extreme pain from a relational fall out last year. There is no scar….just an open wound that isn’t healing. Part of me longs for healing and reconciliation…..the other part of me feels that I could just do nothing and deal with the scar forever.

    The hurt and bitterness linger and I find myself lost in how to proceed. I just feel so dang uncomfortable.


  4. Charity

    ok, that went before I was ready for it to go! πŸ™‚ Great post, thank you this. There are several things I’m doing right now on my own and it’s not working.

  5. Sarah M

    Marla – you are such a wise woman for being so young! I always appreciate your insights. This was a great post. I am pretty frustrated with my future sister in law right now and could use a big ole dose of a God- epidural. I love that thought!

  6. meghan @ spicy magnolia

    What a great and vivid saying you’ve come up with…and one I can relate to on many levels. Go epidurals! And yes, there is a need for a God-given epidural in my life to be administered using the biggest needle known to mankind. I am also trying to wrap my mind around what the need is and don’t have the words at the moment to share concisely or probably even accurately, so I will wait.

  7. Sara

    welp…you nailed me on this one. This morning I was irritated with my hubby and I was telling God that I couldn’t figure out how to get him to see he was wrong and say he was sorry and God said: …mind your own business. You need to learn this lesson once and for all…I will take care of his issues, but I’m going to take YOU out behind the barn if you don’t get a grip on yours with me!

    BLEH! So frustrating…but I know what I know…and I know He is rigth. Now I have to go say I’m sorry and dangit I don’t want to!

  8. Jessica Peters

    I’ve never had an epidural. I’ve never wished for one during childbirth. But I definitely get wishing for one for situations! A lot of situations are much more difficult and painful than childbirth.

  9. Kay

    What a wonderful posts and what a wonderful concept – a God-epidural. Granted, the one I had was one of those that did absolutely no good. So the next time I went without and I couldn’t tell you the difference. But I hear some have had great success with them! so…. I guess I should get to your question.

    Today is one of those days (I’m only 3 hours into it, by the way) where I am completely void of inner strength to do anything on my own. If I make it through the day without crying – again- then I’ll count it a successful day. No big deal, just hormones, but please! So today is just one big epidural day! And it better work! (If I’d relax and let God take over, I’m sure it will!)

    Have a great day Marla!

  10. Rachelle

    It has been almost 2 years now that we have been building a house. I feel guilty, first of all, that we are even spending God’s resources this way, even though we felt when we started that it was his will…the struggles we have faced (contractor trouble, failed inspections, new heat-pump failure, I could go on and on and on…) have put a tremendous strain on our lives, financially and otherwise and made me question if God really did want us to to build this house. I feel guilty, in some sense, asking God “fix” it, when we have created this mess by wanting a THING. We should be the ones to finish the project we started. I am having trouble letting go and releasing this to God, when the reality is, it is already his.

  11. Omom

    I could use an epidural for my husband…….It seems every little thing he does hurts me. The epidural would sure dull the pain and I could leave most of it unsaid and then maybe we’d sail right through this part…?

  12. Marla Taviano

    Oh, Kelsie. I’m so sorry! I’ll be praying for your sister and Damon. (What’s her name?)

    I’ll be praying for the rest of you too! Prayer from others just adds to the epidural juice. πŸ™‚

  13. Bethany

    Great post Marla…
    Being that I don’t have children, I don’t know the blessedness of an epidural (praise the Lord!) but I am struggling right now in life with an area that I need a God-administered epidural in. My job. It is a source of tremendous stress, anxiety, and this year; pain. I feel like a woman giving birth…seems like the goal is lost in the midst of the intense season of pain, anxiety, etc…but once that blessed epidural is in place, I will be able to focus again, get the work done, and find joy in the peace after the storm.

  14. Kelsie

    My sister and her husband were in a really bad car accident in December. His injuries weren’t as severe, thankfully, but my sister’s were severe. She’s recovering from multiple injuries and multiple surgeries. She’s in a Rehab Hospital for her serious brain injury…I don’t even know how to think about this situation sometimes. I do know that God is in control, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and all things work together for good to those who love the Lord. And He has shown us some wonderful things He is doing in the midst of all this. But there are times when it hits me, the sur-reality of it all. Her condition is hard to understand, as her mind is coming along, but she’s still not all there…It all came to a head (again) for me yesterday. I need to KEEP giving it to my Lord. I was trying to be strong – for myself and for others. I want to appear strong. BUT what an opportunity to show others what a strong God we serve, and no matter how weak I am, He can carry us through these tough circumstances…Some days are just harder than others. And I’m not even in the thick of it – pray for my sister’s husband, Damon, who is by my sister’s side, every day…”Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your Word. You are good, and what You do is good. Teach me Your decrees.” πŸ™‚

  15. Marla Taviano

    LOVING your thoughts, friends! Thank you!

    Whimz–you’re so right. I mentioned that very thing in our Life Group–about people having to pray about ME. God, help me love Marla! I can think of a couple people in particular. πŸ™‚

    And I already have a S. Carolinian in my family–my brother-in-law hails from there.

  16. whimzie

    You’re going to have a South Carolinian IN YOUR FAMILY!!! You are blessed indeed.

    I do realize that this wasn’t the point of the post.

    Whenever I’m finding someone particularly unlovable I can’t help but wonder if I’m someone’s epidural person. The one they need drugs to endure? It’s certainly possible!

  17. Lisa @ fulfilling my purpose

    I didn’t have an epidural with either of my children, but when I first read “Some people you can’t love without an epidural” I thought of husbands! You know when you are in the hospital in major pain and you are either WAITING for your epidural or you are trying to focus so you can get to the finish line and your husband says or does something that really doesn’t help. Or you are thinking about how it is Hubby who got you into that situation to begin with. It’s hard to love him at that moment. I know that’s not what you meant, but anyway.

    Really, I’m involved in a ministry with my husband that I don’t really feel is my calling, but my husband feels that is where God wants us. My husband is GREAT at it, but I’m not so great. So, I need the God-Epidural to truly support, help, and encourage my husband. I also need God to love and minister to those people through me instead of me doing it in my own strength.

    Great question, Marla.

  18. Ali

    Our budget! We are t-r-y-i-n-g to live on a budget for the first time since we were married. We succeeded last month, but we are still struggling to rely on God’s plan for our money (or lack thereof) – not OUR plan.

    I am asking for the God epidural OFTEN because I am the home manager. I do the grocery shopping, I pay the bills, I assess our physical/material needs. It’s not fun to come up short when we have to buy diapers and dog food and fuel for a car. I so often lack the faith that shows I KNOW God will provide. I so often find myself thinking, I can do this on my own. Forgive me, Lord. Humble me.

    And thank you, Lord, for putting amazing people in my life, such as Marla. Her “God” stories, especially those involving Your provision, are so often what inspires a greater faith in me.

  19. Colleen

    Wow…great post Marla…I can relate with this one on a very real level…how true…I LOVE the word picture and I will use it when praying…we have an extended period of time coming soon where I will be with lots of in law family. Isn’t there a way to just keep upping the dose of the epidural so that it doesn’t run out…say, for about 2 weeks straight?

  20. Liz

    I almost always find myself trying to do everything on my own and when I am failing miserably I ask for a God-epidural but specifically, I have a SIL that takes about all I have in me to love.

    (And I totally relate to Rachel!)

  21. Rachel

    I laughed!

    You know it’s weird – sometimes I like to think that I rely on God for everything, but then I get a reality check!
    Lately I’ve realized that I do not have an outwardly-friendly personality. I’m friendly when I am approached, but I’m not very approachable (does that even make sense?!)

    Anyway! I’ve been trying to make some efforts, but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve been praying about it. It feels strange asking God to help you be more friendly.

    It’s hard being a SAHM (when none of your peers are) and trying to make new friends. I need all the help I can get!

  22. missy @ it's almost naptime

    Oh, Marla.

    When I first read that, β€œSome people you just can’t love without an epidural.” I took it literally to think you meant your own children.

    And I actually thought to myself “amen!”

    And then I realized that I had like COMPLETELY missed the point.


    Beautiful post!!!

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