Thursday, April 23, 2015


A colleague of mine and his wife are expecting their first baby. The other morning over a hallway cup of coffee we were chatting about what a shift that is for a couple when "we" becomes "three." Being a parent has taught me more deeply about the nature of God.
   I never knew the depth and breadth to which I could rejoice, feel sadness, experience pain, or love with abandon until each of my children entered my life.
   When I was just shy of three months pregnant with my second child I was rear-ended by an SUV (suburban assault vehicle as I took to calling it) while I was driving my little Honda Civic. After being rushed to the hospital via ambulance I was told I would, "Just have to wait and see if the baby makes it." These are not words an expectant mother wants to hear. I urgently persued a better answer, "Well if the pre-term labor continues what can you do?!" I did not like the response, "Nothing. Your baby won't be viable for several weeks." 
VIABLE? This was not a business option or a piece of real estate this was my CHILD! I tried to calm myself, went home and hoped for the best. Time crept on, and after the next OBGYN appointment I was told if I wanted this baby to have a chance I would need to schedule surgery and move from "taking it easy" to full on bed rest. I resigned myself to the reality. On the way home I stopped at the mall for a frozen Coke and soft pretzel (a couple of the very few things I could actually keep down) and as I was strolling out to leave, a piece of jewelry caught my eye. I meandered over to the case to get a closer look. I really liked it, but there were four figures on the pendant. What if my future family only maintained the present three? After a brief inner monologue and an unspoken prayer I decided I would buy the piece as a representation of this covenant I desired. If God would see my little family through this and bring this baby into our world, I would press into Him and strive to be 
    I printed off a calendar, used a stamp of baby feet to tick off each day. I laid about, read, feasted on food from friends, hit 202 pounds on the scale generously gestating.
     Last week in church the sermon was in John 15:1-4 The speaker offered so many things to ponder. When he said that sometimes life has a way of stripping our concerns down to what really matters; to the essential. I immediately thought of the chapter of my life when I was on bedrest. "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." There are many scriptural similes to describe God. Here the Father is a gardener. He collects and cuts. He provides and prunes. These pairs seem so juxtaposed. God parents us with tough and tender hands.
    So I purchased the pendant above. I did not wear it until April 7th, 2005 (only a week early) when we brought our almost 10 pound hefty and healthy baby boy home. I learned much about myself as a person and parent during my bedrest sentence. Eventually it became less of a sentence of body and more of a sanctuary of mind. The experience peeled back another layer of what it means to be family.

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