I love to have conversations about birth. No matter how many times I find myself here, in the “any day now” space between pregnancy and delivery, I am struck by the sheer power of the experience of bringing a baby into this world. There is nothing routine about it. No matter how many times you walk through it. It is the most basic and natural of human experiences and at the same time the most profoundly supernatural. Birth is the complete surrender of a body, mind, soul, and spirit to the hands of a Life-Creator. In labor, I always sense the full urgency and undiminished awareness that I am at the tender mercy of God alone. It is like going to the very edge of this world and stepping momentarily onto the shores of another, bringing home the thing of value that nearly cost you your entire life. The birth of a child is a beautiful, tender, soul-shaking separation of two bodies that have been knit deeply together in the most secret of places. Every woman who has ever walked through the experience has come out changed. And along with the experience, each mother is given the gift of a story.
God has used childbirth over and over in my life to teach me lessons that I could only learn through the body. The life of each child, even in the womb, began a story that would prove pivotal to my understanding of God and my purpose for each new season that the life began. I am rich to have many times felt the inexplicable joy of cradling a perfect, moments-old baby in my arms, laughing and weeping at the same time. And my soul has been shadowed by the deep sadness and hollow- aching-womb that held the whisper of a baby that I never got to hold. The baby I lost. But that God is keeping for me. The ending happy, ever after.
As each baby moved through my body and out into the world, a story was born that would draw me deeper into communion with God. It is the story He is teaching me about my life, about my purpose, and about each season that is ahead. It is the story of his mercy, his faithfulness, his ever-lovingkindness.
Just three weeks from my due date, in the midst of caring for little ones and going through the daily routines of normal life, my heart keeps turning inward, to the baby in my womb. Already, I feel that God has done so much for me through the life of this little child. I feel that I know him. That I will recognize his face. That I have already perceived some small glimpse of his nature. That I can already anticipate the beginning of this birth story.
I look back over all of the miracles that have happened over these nine months. Journal after journal, I see prayers answered. In the midst of a crazy year where life has been so upturned for the entire world, I have sensed that, through the life of this baby, God has been calling me to rest. I have watched as great mountains before me were lifted and cast into the sea. Things that should have been too hard, too extravagant to even dream of, too impossible to think or imagine. I have watched, a spectator of my own story, as burdens that I have been struggling to lay down year after year were suddenly, and surprisingly, lifted from me. I have seen that God hears my secret prayers and cares deeply about the longings of my heart. And that He cares about these children we are bringing into the world. And that He is going to provide for all of their needs.
Through the life of this baby, God has provided a haven for me. This word is now deeply etched into the fibers of who I am. A lesson that can never be unlearned. The tenderness of God, the absolute miracles that have flowered up around our lives in this season… I will never forget what God has done for me. We have passed through many seasons of trials and sorrows and heart-wrenching prayers. I know in life we will pass through them again. But for this beautiful, suspended moment, God has used the quiet, secret life of a hidden child to bring rest to my weary soul.
I cannot wait to see this sweet child’s face. And I cannot wait to share what I know is going to be the extraordinary story his birth.