Birthing Babies

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He was born in the summer of his 27th year

Coming home to a place he’d never been before.

He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again

You might say he found a key for every door… John Denver

Up till a couple of years ago, the above lyrics wouldn’t have meant much to me. But now, I identify with John Denver’s song. My heart echoes his refrain… a Rocky Mountain High, Colorado. However, the song of my heart sounds a little different. “She was born in the winter of her 41st year, coming home to a place she’d been before. She left her yesterday behind her, you might say she was born again. She found a key for every door… a Blue Ridge Mountain High, Virginia.”

John Denver used the term born again. That’s an expression I would have avoided up till a couple of years ago. Because despite my claiming to be a born-again Christian, I don’t think I had any understanding of that title. Not till recent years. Not till recent revelations. Recent mountain high experiences. And this past August, the birth of my baby girl gave a vivid picture of being born-again. New birth. But not just hers… mine.

At first, Annabelle was just a thought. A whisper of God. Hidden and formed in the dark. Quiet and still. And as my body provided what she needed, she grew. She flourished inside me. And the miracle is, no one could really see what was happening. All this went unnoticed. Aside from my growing belly, Annabelle’s progress was unseen to the naked eye. A real person grew inside me. It’s truly awe-inspiring. A miracle.

As the time of her delivery drew near, there were contractions. Small and irregular at first, but with more frequency towards the end. And then the big day arrived… it was time. When my water broke, it was more significant to me than my own baptism which occurred seventeen years earlier. No, this was a picture of cleansing. Of healing. For as I was pierced, water and blood escaped. A dramatic picture of what took place upon a cross some two thousand years ago…

But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. John 19:34

And then came labor. Before long, a little discomfort morphed to full scale pain. It hurt. For hours. It was work. See, making babies comes easy… but birthing babies is a different story. It’s not an easy process. It took hours. My husband and mother-in-law were with me the whole time. And there was a screen we could watch… it monitored Annabelle’s progress. Every contraction was recorded. Every twinge I felt was reflected on that screen…

Susan, my in-law, took great interest in that screen. Because we could see other readouts, too. She’d study them… “Oh, there’s one… she’s getting ready to deliver.” And sure enough, we’d hear a baby cry. Then again, “Oh, this one will be soon…” And again, another baby cry. All around me, babies birthed left and right.

Me and Annabelle? We took a bit more time. Though we arrived early in the morning, and my water broke at lunchtime, delivery didn’t come till later in the evening. And even then, they had to take her out of me. She wasn’t budging. Such a picture of my own spiritual journey.

Funny thing about those screens, though. I looked at one yesterday and what I saw about floored me. Those labor pains, well, they look like a mountain range. Up and down. Once more, the act of having a baby imitating one’s spiritual trek. Up and down. Ascending the mountain and descending the mountain…

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If you look at the mountain of a labor pain, you’ll notice the baby’s heartbeat slows with each contraction. And the higher the contraction reads, the more pain is involved. As delivery progresses, the contractions are more frequent. Longer. I find this to be true in my journey today. Well, with life in general.

See, we’re busy creatures. It’s our default. We hit the ground running. And our spiritual heartbeat becomes more frantic and erratic with our hectic pace. Before we know it, we feel some pain. Something may slow us down. A forced sit-still, if you will. That’s the contraction. It squeezes us and as we stand still, our spiritual heartbeat slows. But before long, something beautiful occurs. Our heart begins to beat alongside His… slow and unrushed. A holy hush. And this happens at the peak of the contraction. At the tip of the mountain. And it’s there lasting change happens. It’s there, the internal is reached. When you’re quiet. And still.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Psalm 139:13-15

You’re regenerated. You’re refreshed. Made new by the Creator Himself. But eventually, life sets in once more. You have to descend the mountain and reenter reality. And before you know it, your pace picks up. You become busy yet again. And life rushes by until… you have a contraction. A forced sit. But again, something beautiful happens inside. Unnoticed by those on the outside. Unseen to the naked eye… you’re changed. You develop. As you grow up spiritually, the contractions may come with increased frequency. But as you progress, your heart begins to recognize more quickly when it’s not beating in sync with His. That’s when you stop. You listen. And when your heartbeat aligns with His, you’re ready to move on. Once more.

See, she was born in the winter of her 41st year. At first, she was just a thought. A whisper of God. Hidden and formed in the dark. Quiet and still. And as He gave her what she needed, she grew. She flourished with Him inside her. And the miracle is, no one could really see what was happening. All this went unnoticed. Her progress was unseen to the naked eye. But she was made over.. a new creation. It’s truly awe-inspiring. A miracle. For she who was born was born again. On a Blue Ridge mountain high… Virginia. That’s my song.

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Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”  John 3:3-4

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