Falling in love with my husband was not part of the birth plan.
For months, I have been praying that I would love Hans more, and more truly. Six and a half years of marriage taught me just how bound I am to self-love. Praying for divine intervention seemed like a sensible thing to do. I knew God answers prayers. God might even answer this one. Slowly and subtly, perhaps? I expected nothing fancy. But I was wrong.
Hans was the keynote speaker for a conference two weeks before the baby's due date. We had agreed to serve at this event months before we found out we were pregnant. We were really excited though we knew there was a risk that I might go into early labor while he was gone.
Hans was worried, understandably. But I insisted that he must go. I somehow managed to convince myself that I would be fine without him. After all, I've given birth twice. We made arrangements for family and friends to be here in case I do go into labor while he was away. The conference came and gone. And I did not go into labor. For this and so much more, I give thanks.
In the history of Biblical interpretation, many astute pastors and scholars referred to the pain of childbearing as "the woman's curse." I am not here to challenge them. However, I cannot help but notice God himself never said this, not really. God cursed the the serpent, and God cursed the ground. But never did he curse Adam and Eve, whom he made in his own image.
Instead, God gave his children pain. It would serve us well to remember that God gives only good gifts to his children. As a consequence of their rebellion, they shall have pain in their fruit bearing and child bearing years.
I had not shed a tear during my first two labors. They were undoubtedly painful, but I did not cry. By the third hour of this third labor, however, my face was wet with weeping. I heard groans unfamiliar to my own ears. Apparently, not all labor pains were created equal.
Pain can be such a cold, lonely thing. I saw myself as I truly was, weak and insufficient. Pain stripped away any delusion that I could manage life alone. I needed my husband. And my God, in his grace, gave him to me, for this hour, until death do us part.
In my delirium, I heard his voice reading Psalms 136, 137, 138, 139. By the waters of Babylon, there I wept, and he pointed me to Zion. I was so very glad I was not alone. As the labor escalated, he pulled me out of despair. His voice instructed me to recite Psalm 8, again and again and again, the way I would instruct the boys at the breakfast table every morning.
I saw my husband, as though for the first time. I saw how he pours himself out for his family and his church. I saw how he serves, how he loves. And there, in the labor and delivery room, God answered my prayer, though his way was neither slow nor subtle. I fell in love, again.
Therefore, I shall give thanks for the pain of childbearing,
for the pain that unveiled my eyes.
In the mess of blood and water,
love met me.
|Khesed, Hebrew for Yahweh's covenantal, forever love.|