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  • Writer's picturejessicagustafson

The Song That Saved Me

I often play music while developing my stories. Sometimes a song will inspire a new novel or help me solve plot issues. Multiple times, I’d contemplate how to handle a certain theme just as I’d turn on my favorite Christian radio station, and I’d hear lyrics that answered my question. I believe God speaks to us in whatever manner we’ll recognize, and for me, that often happens through music.

I didn’t always listen to Christian music. I made the switch only a few years ago when I had an experience that helped me understand the impact. While I was pregnant with my eighth child, I faced anxiety unlike anything I’d known before. The intensity lessened when I played worship music. That birth ended up being easier than I thought possible, and afterward, I continued to exclusively choose songs that carried the Lord’s spirit. While music played a part in the birth going well, I also learned something greater—something that both changed subsequent labors and strengthened my faith.

I am the mother of ten children, all birthed without pain medication. Though my labors went well from a medical standpoint, the first two in particular were long and difficult. I endured extreme back labor for over a day. Not wanting to suffer that again, I studied HypnoBirthing during my third pregnancy. While HypnoBirthing helped, it didn’t cure the back pain, and my labors were still long. When a friend learned of my anxiety during my eighth pregnancy, she recommended the book Supernatural Childbirth, by Jackie Mize. That book changed my labors. Supernatural Childbirth teaches that Jesus redeemed us from the pain of childbirth and explains how. After seven difficult labors, I finally had an easy one. Not only was my eighth labor easy, but it was short. I slept a full night and wasn’t even convinced things were real until a couple of hours before the birth. I might not have even called my midwife in time if my husband hadn’t encouraged me to. I was still cooking and cleaning just before my birth team arrived. My baby came that afternoon, only ten minutes after I decided it was time to enter my birthing space. I went on to have yet another two easy births after that. I learned later that my hips were tilted in a way that led to the excruciating back pain. I didn’t resolve the issue until recently, yet my eighth labor was short and easy despite the fact the problem still existed then. That pain-free birth was only possible through Jesus.

When I was pregnant with my tenth child, I couldn’t get my first two labors out of my head. I recalled the forty hours of back pain in vivid detail, the suffering I equated to dying. I felt as though Satan was trying to scare me out of practicing Supernatural Childbirth again. Anxiety kicked in, and I began to question if Jesus would really take away the pain of childbirth for a third time in a row. I was driving when these fears hit, and I turned on the radio (which is always set to a Christian station) to hear these lyrics at this exact point in the song:

'Cause I got a Savior

Who knows everywhere I've been

And He's telling me that I never have to go back there again

(Walking Free, Micah Tyler)

When I heard those lyrics, God’s spirit washed over me as if to say “This is for you”. I burst into tears. I knew that the Lord knew my fears and had listened, and He cared enough to reassure me that my past experiences didn’t have to affect me any longer. My labors were new in Jesus, and I never had to suffer that long, difficult back pain again. I went into labor about a week later, and my tenth birth was once again short and easy. Even near the end, I could talk and walk between contractions. The contractions were nothing compared to what I experienced in the past, and they were short enough that I didn’t bother timing them. I didn’t struggle with back labor either. When my birth team arrived, I was still completing mundane tasks, which made them think I wasn’t close to giving birth. My baby was born only an hour after they came. I did let my faith waiver for about twenty minutes at the end and experienced some pain as a result, but I pulled myself back together just in time. Pushing only took minutes, and I was amazed that I didn’t even feel the so-called “ring of fire”.

I talk about my labor experience a little more in my podcast with Ms. McBookworm, which you can listen to here: Podcast. In this podcast, we also further discuss how music influenced my choice in writing Christian fiction. When I began my debut novel, Lady Unknown, I had no plans of making it a Christian work. One night, I dreamed a particular scene that changed the course of the novel. I don’t think I would have chosen this path if I hadn’t changed my music or had my faith-strengthening childbirth experiences. I believe that God put me through those things to prepare me for my calling in writing Christian fiction. I’m grateful that He could use me to write for His glory, and I pray I do justice to the stories He placed in my heart.

For publishing updates, be sure to follow my monthly newsletter, which you can subscribe to here: Newsletter Signup. With love, Jessica

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