Copyright Dawn King 2007 All Rights Reserved
Chapter 3: Preparing to Be a Sign and Wonder
“Seek first the
Some may think that this subject should come after teaching about the physical process of birth. I disagree. Although knowing the physical birth process is important, spiritual preparation is more important. Jesus promised us that if we “seek first the
You will want to seek the Lord if you were trying to prevent pregnancy. You must deal with any negative emotions concerning the coming child as soon as possible. Babies know whether they are wanted or not. In the physical, a mother’s stress can lead to premature labor, an increased risk of birth defects, an increased risk of death within the first month, and an increased risk of psychological problems later in life.[i] In the spiritual realm, your child could be affected by a spirit of rejection that can shadow him for his entire life if not prayed for and broken through the blood of Jesus.[ii]
“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
The ideal way to begin parenting is in a unified, “one-flesh” marriage (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:6).[iii] If there are any issues hindering this one flesh relationship spiritually, physically, or emotionally, now is the time to take care of it. Seek counseling if needed. There are several areas you need to discuss such as your philosophy of parenting, division of housework, and whether Mom will go back to work.
Unity in a marriage is extremely important. In Malachi, God shows us why He made the husband and wife one: “But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth” (Mal. 2:15). Because Satan will try to divide and conquer, it is imperative that a husband and wife share the family vision and agree on basic house rules and parenting style. A united husband and wife are is the first step in raising godly children.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 mentions a threefold cord: the husband, the wife, and God. God is the center of the marriage and the glue that truly makes a marriage a one-flesh relationship. He will enable you to lift up your spouse in times of trial and be able to withstand the attacks of the enemy against your marriage and your family. When you are united as one flesh, you will have a good fruit in raising your children. Children are able to forgive anything and get over any parenting mistake as long as they know their parents love them and each other.
Pregnancy is a good time to formulate your family vision. What is your hearts’ desire for your children? What mark do you want your family to make on the world?
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her … So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself …Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:22-33
In the Christian family, God has laid out a chain of command. Ideally, the husband submits to Christ and the wife to her husband as she would to Jesus.[iv]
If you have other children, they should be in order as well – obedient, not defiant, rebellious, or disrespectful. If you are having problems in this area, see the recommended resources in the back for books on the subject.
To the Husband
“Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.” Colossians 3:19
Men, because you are in a position of authority over your family, God calls you to a higher standard (Luke 12:48). This is not an excuse to lord your leadership role over your wife or order her around like a servant. You are to treat her as compassionately and sacrificially as Christ treats His church. He died for His Bride. You should also be willing to physically die for your wife, as well as die to your wants, needs, and desires to make sure she is cared for. Your wife needs you more than ever during this time in her life. Take an active part your wife’s prenatal care. This does not mean you must attend every appointment. Instead, it means you should hear your wife’s viewpoint and consider her needs before making a decision about her care and birth. Make your choice based on what is best for your wife and child, not what is convenient for you or the doctor.
Most of the pregnancy, your wife will be the center of attention. This is a good thing because she is going through a great deal of physical, emotional and even spiritual changes in preparation for becoming a mother. Unfortunately, the father-to-be is often left out.
Your job in preparing for this baby’s entry into the world and leading your family is equally important. Your wife will be counting on you to perform your priestly duties in the home. You are to be the head of the household. That means you lead your wife and children in the vision God has given you for your family. Learn to truly become the priest in your home. Here are some things you can do as part of your role as priest of the home during her pregnancy and labor:
· Protect her spiritually by asking God for discernment about any spiritual forces that may be coming against her and the baby, then pray on their behalf. Pray over the decisions about the birth itself and for a safe labor and delivery. Make sure both you and your wife get an individual quiet time each day.
· Listen to her fears. When she wonders if she’ll be a good mother, don’t dismiss it. Remind her that she can do all things in Christ. Tell her that she will be a good mother and encourage her.
· Understand the tremendous physical and emotional changes going on within her. Don’t get upset if she is too tired to get all the housework done or pay attention to you. When her hormones go wild and she cries for (what you think) is no reason, hold her. Do not tell her she is irrational.
· Help her to eat in a way that glorifies God. Her care provider may want her on a special diet. If she is to avoid sweets, don’t bring her ice cream and candy (1 Cor. 10:23, 31). Whatever you do, don’t tell your wife you’re going to strap a feedbag to her head because she eats so much. Ask my husband how well received that comment was.
· Encourage her to do the prenatal exercises or better yet, do them with her. (1 Cor. 9:27).
· Encourage her spiritual growth. Ask her what God is saying to her. Pray and read the Bible together. Share with her what God has been speaking to you (Heb. 10:24, 25). This not only encourages her spiritual growth, but also builds your communication skills and intimacy. You will need these skills after your baby’s birth to keep your marriage strong.
You may also have concerns about becoming a father. Instead of listing those concerns in your head and worrying about them, take them to your Heavenly Father. Take the time to study the Scriptures in preparation for being a parent so that you can impart those values to your children.
To the Wife
“The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1
At this time in history, the idea of a woman submitting to her husband is preposterous. Feminists would tell you that submission is man’s way of putting down women. It is not. It is God’s plan to help the family run smoothly. Think of your family as a business. If a business had two chief executive officers (CEO), it wouldn’t stay in business very long. There has to be someone who has the final say. God made your husband the CEO of your family. His job is to make the final decisions when there is a disagreement. But just as any CEO would be foolish if he did not consider the advice of his vice president and other counselors, your husband would be foolish to not consider your feelings and opinions.
Your job as a wife is to be a “helper suitable” for her husband. You help him achieve the family vision God has placed within his heart and submit to his leadership in all things, even if you believe he is wrong (unless he asks you to sin).
Preparing for the birth of your child is an exciting time. Below are some things you might do in order to prepare for birth and motherhood.
Attitude Toward Pregnancy: It’s All About Perspective
“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23
Imagine you are driving to a prenatal appointment. You’re running late. You get on the highway thinking that you’ll get there almost on time. As you’re cruising down the road, your windows are open and the radio is playing your favorite song. Suddenly, traffic stops in front of you. You slam on the breaks, look at the line of cars in front of you, and realize you will be late. Very, very late. You start to get angry and mumble under your breath. After an interminable wait, you finally pass the cause of the delay. A car is broken down in the middle lane, steam pouring from the engine. You decide to give the driver a piece of your mind and roll down the window. As you pass the car, you see a mother and two young children peering out with frightened faces. All your anger deflates and you think, “Poor woman.” For a brief moment you put yourself in her shoes and saw things from her perspective.
The perspective you choose determines your attitude. How often do you hear mothers speaking about how wonderful their pregnancy was and how much they loved it? I haven’t heard many. Sometimes I feel a little strange because I’ve made the choice to love being pregnant. It breaks my heart when I hear women focusing on all the discomforts and inconveniences instead of the blessings of a new, eternal life inside them. They do not see God’s perspective on their pregnancy and do not see that carrying a baby as a high privilege.
We Christians are called to a higher standard. We are to see things from God’s perspective. His perspective is that children are a blessing and that He has given you a precious gift. We are called to accept this gift joyfully with open arms and love our children unconditionally. God’s definition of love is not just a gushy feeling but an action. He tells us that “love suffers long and is kind… does not seek its own… thinks no evil… bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13).
You can also take the perspective of someone else during your pregnancy. How would a woman who has been barren for years feel about being pregnant? Do you think Sarah, Hannah, and
Yes, it’s all about perspective. We must decide which perspective to use in our pregnancy. Since we are to have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), we should see things from God’s perspective. When we have complaining thoughts rise within us, it is God’s wish that we take them captive (2 Cor. 10:16). We must choose to replace them with positive thoughts. Scripture admonishes us to meditate on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy” (Phil. 4:8). When you feel like complaining, aloud or to yourself, choose to stop that thought and replace it with a thankful prayer to God. Instead of dwelling on the thought: “I’m so fat!” you can replace it with the thankful, “Thank you, Lord, my baby is growing so big and strong! It won’t be long until I can hold him!”
Here are some examples of thoughts to take captive and thoughts to replace them with:[v]
I Hate Being Pregnant Because:
I Love Being Pregnant Because:
My body is so big and fat
My baby is getting so big and strong
My clothes are too tight
Even my clothes remind me of my baby
Everything makes me sick, I can’t eat a thing
I’m so picky now, I only eat the best food
Everybody asks me when I'm due
Everybody is interested in my baby
I can't stand to cook
I get to take a break from cooking
My back is always sore
My baby is growing so fast, sometimes my body can't keep up
There’s too much information to read
I’m learning so much
I’m moody all the time
I don’t even try to hide my feelings anymore, I have to work on my problems
Life will never be the same again
Life will never be the same again
The discussion about attitude obviously extends to your words. Watch what you say to your friends and family. There is a time and a place to discuss your discomforts with your care provider. Don’t relish in telling everyone your discomforts and whining about how terrible you feel. James 3:10 says, “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” How can you say one minute how much you love your baby and the other say how miserable you are? Choose to focus on the positive and bring glory to God.[vi]
Your attitude also determines how people see you, how you feel about yourself and your baby, and how your husband responds to you. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Your good attitude and joyful countenance will calm your family’s worries for your heath and add to their joy about your pregnancy. A whining complaining spirit will chase away any joy you feel about your pregnancy.
A Wonderful Promise from God
“Notwithstanding, she will be saved in childbearing, if they [women] continue in faith, love and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:15
Until I decided to do a detailed word study on this passage, I never understood it. It seemed to me it was saying that a woman’s salvation is based partially on her ability to give birth. I knew that wasn’t the meaning. After digging around in my Bible and Zodhiates’ The Complete Word Study New Testament, I finally believe I understand what Paul was saying.
The word “saved” in this passage is from the Greek word sozo. It means salvation, both physically from danger or suffering and from spiritual bondage and death.[vii] The commentary in my Bible defines faith, (the Greek word, pistis,), as a “divinely implanted principle of inward confidence, assurance, trust, and reliance in God and all that He says.”[viii] “Love,” agape, is a special kind of love that always acts toward the recipient’s best interests.[ix] The Greek word hagiasmos translated “holiness” denotes the Holy Spirit’s work in us that sets us apart for salvation and for enabling us to be holy as God is holy.[x]
The last word is the most interesting. “Self-control” is translated from the Greek word sophrosune, which means soundness of mind, sanity, or self-control.[xi] It is related to sophronos, which is a compound word made up of sozo, to save, and phren “the mind”. Sophronos means “acting in a responsible manner, sensibly, prudently, being in self-control and in full possession of intellectual and emotional facilities.”[xii] This is also related to sophronismos, “safe-thinking…good judgment, disciplined thought patterns, and the ability to understand and make right decisions.”[xiii]sophronismos This word is used in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind .”
So putting it all together, I believe that Paul is saying that a woman will be kept from bondage to fear and spared undue suffering while giving birth if she will:
· Dwell in faith in God’s promises that He has good, not harm planned for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
· Make her decisions based on agape love for her baby.
· Be separated unto God and allow the Holy Spirit to help her live a holy life.
· Guard her mind against any fear, doubt, unbelief that may try to come in. Instead, she should cast “down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Before the birth she should renew her mind by Scripture reading so she will know the promises of God for protection and strength.
Grow in Your Faith
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4
Pregnancy and childbirth are more than a physical acts to bring forth a physical child. God uses this time to strengthen us as we lay down our desires and our control to trust in God and the process He designed. During this season, God will pinpoint deep issues He wants to address in both Mom and Dad. This is a time for us to grasp hold and live in the scriptural truths about fear, unbelief, and doubt. Birth is a time where the mother and baby are “hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed…perplexed, but not in despair” (2 Cor. 4:8). This is a physical, emotional, and spiritual experience that can, if we allow it, bring us closer to our Lord.
Peter tells us, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Pregnancy, labor, and delivery are for a little while. During this process, your faith is being tested. When you come through, it will be found to praise, honor, and glorify our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, you will become a living “sign and wonder” to those around you!
How can you submit to this process?
· Spend time praying and reading your Bible each day (Acts 17:11, 1 Thess. 5:17).
· Ask God to search your heart for sin and when He shows you, ask forgiveness and for His help to change.
· Listen for any actions the Lord may want you to take. Be obedient to what you believe He is asking you to do.
· Pray for God to bring a mentor into your life (Titus 2:3-5). This may be a physical woman, but it could also be a magazine such as Above Rubies, books, or even “cyber-friends.” A mentor can give you guidance because she’s already been through it all. Many times I have sought guidance about parenting and my marriage from other women. The instruction, correction, and encouragement I received have been essential to my growth as a woman, wife, and mother.
· Keep a record of what God is saying to you. During my pregnancies, I’ve kept a record of encouraging Scriptures that stood out to me during my daily reading, prayers and words spoken over me by other people, notes from sermons or testimonies I heard in church, things I felt the Lord say to me, and even descriptions of dreams or visions I had about the baby. After discovering I was pregnant with Izabelle, my sixth child, I was a wreck. Just months before I had suffered two devastating losses. My baby Joel died at nineteen weeks gestation followed by an early miscarriage two months later. I cried daily and begged God to let me keep this one. A few weeks after the positive pregnancy test, I had a dream in which I delivered a baby girl. I saw my husband, Chris, pick her up and hold her up to the Lord, while I heard a voice say, “Izabelle Grace.” Later that week we had a visiting minister come to speak at our church. Since we had known him for several years, he asked how we were doing. I tried to put on a brave front but was terrified of having another loss. After I told him about the baby, he said to me, “Don’t worry, everything will be okay.” I clung to those words and that dream during my pregnancy. I felt they were God’s way of saying, “Relax, it’s going to turn out fine this time.”
Things the Couple Can Do Together:
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:5-9
God has given us believers everything we need for life and godliness. We don’t have to work our faith up. It’s not dependant on us, but is already a part of us. As we get to know Him, this divine power is released in us, changing us into Jesus’ image.
We do have a part to play though. It is our job to allow the Holy Spirit to change us and renew our minds with the Word so that we become virtuous. To our virtue, we add knowledge about God and His world. In this case, we are adding knowledge about His promises and applying them to childbirth. We are also adding knowledge about the process of childbirth to prepare us for the big event.
To our knowledge of God and the process of birth, we add self-control, controlling our will to do what God wants us to do. We add perseverance to self-control. The Greek word for perseverance“ is associated with hope and refers to the quality that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.”[xiv We don’t give up or give in to our fears during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. We press on through the discomforts and pain, trusting God through all circumstances and outcomes.
While pregnant, we show godliness by praising God. This action releases God’s Spirit to work in us transforming our affection for our baby into true unconditional agape love. Agape love always chooses the best for the object of our love, in spite of our hurt or discomfort.
Why do I bring this up here? What does this have to do with a couple preparing together for a child’s birth? Everything! Both parents should learn about the physiological processes of pregnancy and childbirth.
Part of an expectant father’s role as his family’s protector is to learn about pregnancy and birth so he can have compassion on his wife, bond with his child, make informed decisions about prenatal care, support and comfort his wife during labor and delivery, and keep fear out of his heart. Taking time to be involved in the pregnancy by attending his wife’s prenatal appointments, helping her research her options, discussing and making decisions about the birth with her, and praying for and with her will show her how much he cares.
You as the mother-to-be need to know what is happening inside you. Knowing the process of labor and delivery, as well as the risks and benefits of all the options, are important in keeping fear at bay. Fear causes labor to be more difficult, longer, and more painful.
Take time to educate yourselves about routine tests and procedures, then discuss and pray about them. Write a birth plan together. Now is a good time to examine where your ideas about birth and breastfeeding come from. For most people it is the dramatized births they see on television or the horror stories they hear from other mothers. Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy; educate yourself by studying the Scriptures and reading books about birth, breastfeeding, and motherhood. Replace what you’ve heard in the past with the truth you learn in your studies (
You must both deal with fear. Fear is probably the number one enemy of a laboring woman. Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Fear is not from God. It is from the devil, who comes to steal our joy and our faith in God, kill our hopes and dreams, and destroy the life that God wants us to live (John 10:10). Fear keeps us from acting in faith. We cannot allow fear to dictate our decisions. We are to live in faith, asking God for His wisdom. He promises us that if we ask, He will give us the wisdom we need (James 1:5).
It was not long after I had my first child that I realized most of my decisions and even my love for God was motivated by fear. I was fearful of birth, so I was so strung out on labor medication; the memory of Ariella’s birth is hazy and full of blanks. I was so fearful of diseases, I vaccinated her without educating myself[xv] and I insisted on a prescription for antibiotics for her every sniffle (at that time my children’s pediatrician was not as discriminating about antibiotics as doctors are today). I was so fearful that something would happen to Ariella or my husband, I was constantly praying for protection. I feared that other people would think I was a bad mother or that I was crazy or not hearing from God or whatever else my imagination could cook up. In fact, I feared that if I didn’t stay close to the Lord something terrible would happen. I didn’t go to God because I loved Him, but because I feared what would happen if I didn’t. That isn’t the kind of relationship He wants with me.
Finally the Lord, in His gracious mercy, revealed that I was in bondage to fear. I asked some friends to pray with me and asked the Lord to forgive my life motivated by fear. I asked Him to break that oppression through the power of the Cross. I rejected fear out of my life and told it I would no longer live my life based on its lies. Before I was completely free, I had to work at changing the way my mind worked. I had to stay in prayer as I made decisions. But eventually I walked away from a life motivated by fear. Sometimes I still struggle with fear, but I am no longer in bondage or making my decisions in fear.
My pastor used to say that fear stood for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” That’s exactly what it is. We fear something because we don’t understand it or do not have God’s perspective on the situation. If one or both of you is bound by fear, it is going to interfere with labor by slowing it down, making it more difficult, and painful. It will interfere with your parenting, your relationship with each other, and your relationship with the Lord.
You may not have a problem with fear, but you may be in bondage to anger, pornography, or any other thing that causes you to repeatedly sin. This is not God’s will for you. Jesus came to set us free from the harsh taskmaster of sin and death. You can break free by the power of the Cross! In my suggested resources section, you will find books on breaking free from bondage. Please take time to do this.
After you have prayed to break free, your “old friend” may try to rear its ugly head again. Recite Scripture to yourself, pray, or call someone else to pray with you. Do not allow it to get a foothold in your heart and mind again.
Do you have past hurts that need healing? Was your family abusive? Were you sexually abused?[xvi] Do you need to forgive someone? These are all issues that need to be dealt with. Seek counseling and prayer.
Spiritual influences from willful sin, by sins against us, or generational curses may oppress us. Praise God! They can be broken through the power of the Cross. You want to bring your child into a clean home without any spiritual residue (Isa. 61:1-3).
Ask God to reveal your weak areas individually and as a couple. Pray for each other and ask Him to strengthen you. Pray to find out where Satan is attacking you so you can deflect these attacks (Ps. 139:23, 24).
These things all boil down to a heart that is seeking the Lord. He will reveal the hidden things in your heart that He wants to purge. He does this not only to make you a better parent but also to make you a better person. I am grateful He loves us too much to leave us the way we are!
“Marriage was an easy adjustment for my husband and I. Both of us agree that if we did not have the children we do, our marriage would probably not be as good as it is now. We have learned to be much more unselfish, more outwardly focused. We've learned to trust God through being told we would lose the baby (we did not), having to move “on” our due date (God kept the little one inside until the next day!), different pregnancy complaints ... We've learned to look beyond what it looks like in the natural and press on to see what God is seeing...”-Stephanie
[i] Nikki Bradford, The Miraculous World of Your Unborn Baby, (United Kingdom: Contemporary Book, 1998), 60.
[ii] See Recommended Resources section for more information about inner healing, deliverance and spiritual warfare.
[iii] If you are single or not married to a believer, “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame…For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.”(Isaiah 54:4, 5). See Chapter 14 for help when “Going it Alone” whether you are single, married to an unbeliever, or just feel alone.
[iv] This does not mean that the wife has no responsibility before God. She is responsible to Him for her behavior and attitude. But she is not the leader of the family, the one with the responsibility to make final decisions.
[v] © Copyright 2000-2004 Jennifer VanderLaan and Birthing Naturally. Used by Permission. All rights reserved.
[vi] This doesn’t mean you should not ask for prayer for your discomforts. It is important to check your attitude. Am I telling them this because I want prayer or because I want sympathy?
[vii] Jack Hayford, The New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, (
[viii] Jack Hayford, The New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, (
[ix] Jack Hayford, The New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, (
[x] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1992), 879
[xi] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study NewTestament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1992), 70 of Greek Dictionary.
[xii] Jack Hayford, The New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, (
[xiii] Jack Hayford, The New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, (
[xiv] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1992), 964.
[xv] Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t think that vaccinations are a bad thing. I do believe that we must educate ourselves on both sides of the issue, pray and make a Spirit-led decision about any form of health-care we receive.
[xvi] I am going to add a sidebar or a whole section discussing the effects of rape and sexual abuse on pregnancy and motherhood. This is such an important and common issue, it needs to be addressed in more detail.