“Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn, on the wonderful, marvelous, night you were born.” (Nancy Tillman, On the Night You Were Born)
I can still smell the soap scent. Medicinal, sharply clean, pleasant and unpleasant at the same time. This scent will never cease to connect between my olfactory system and my memories of churning nerves. It is the scent that was on my hands when the doctor told me, ” Your body is rejecting pregnancy.”
There always seems to be a high level of emotion surrounding the birth of a child. Emotions vary widely. Whether there is sheer joy, nervous anticipation, or the blatant sorrow that Genesis 3 confers on humanity, the emotional states surrounding these tiny newcomers is tightly woven.
My doctor was right. My body was rejecting pregnancy and so my daughter was born, a tiny baby girl at 3 lbs, 6 oz, just about 8 weeks early. Becoming a parent has doled out measures of dramatics and normalcy. Her birth was one of the more dramatic moments of parenting, ironically at the beginning of the trek. Four years ago this weekend, Psalm 125 churned through my head over and over.
1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.
I found great comfort in the strong strains that these words declared. A mountain, solid, unmovable. Unshaken. I had never known sickness like that weekend. My experience of becoming a parent was not a run of the mill, bundle of joy handed to me in a tightly wrapped blanket sort of experience. I held my baby for the first time when she was three days old. We waltzed with wires and adjusted tubes to hold her. But I held my baby. She and I were fine.
Sometimes I say “God was good to me” and He was, more than words can tell. But is God good when the ending is not as happy? Yes, of course.
Looking back on those verses in Psalms 125, I remember thinking I could have faced death and yet those verses would have still been true. Because in those verses, I hear hints to a ripped veil in the New Testament, blood spread on a mercy seat, and all things working together for good for those called by God. I see a promise of secure hope as a reward for faith. Not my best life now. Not the resolution of discomfort into a pain free life. But the promise that being loved, called by, and cared for by a Heavenly Father leaves my future unshaken, by faith in the power of the resurrection of Christ.
For four short, flash-like years, I have been a parent. When I wash my hands somewhere and smell the medicinal soap scent again, my mind goes directly to the remembrance that my trust is in Christ, in God as a good Heavenly Father. I look back each year, not only in delighted celebration of my daughter’s life, but in the fact that God revealed incredible grace through this child, in merciful ways. In His kindness, He chose to reveal His nature to me by giving me undeserved blessings, now and forevermore.
If four years of being a parent have taught me anything, it is that God, calling Himself my Father, loves me more than I can fathom. When I look at my child, I can see this love through a veiled layer of comprehension. When I think further that He gave up His own Son, in order to make me His child, the understanding becomes more than my mind can fathom. I really cannot imagine. I really don’t possess that kind of love in my natural state. But being the recipient of that sacrificial love, makes me a very grateful imaginer.
And so, each October, I will think back with profound emotions, deep gratefulness, and a fixed hope. I know that a Father loves and cares for us. I can breathe in the expectation that those who trust in the Lord cannot be shaken, from this time forth and forevermore.