Tag Archives: birth

Life Comes at You Fast

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

To gain an understanding of program implementation in the region, I visited clinics that serve poor and indigent populations.  The storm from earlier in the week had knocked out the power. The dim overheated conditions made a tough environment more challenging for the medical staff.  Through it all, I quickly learned that electricity had no relationship to the end of in-utero development.  The situation also told me that the physical necessities for supporting life are far more basic than I previously understood.

Having the choice between viewing a Power Point presentation on the post education training for midwives or seeing its effects in action, I chose the more experiential activity.  When I entered the 85 degree room, I noticed that my breakfast was still largely undigested as the culinary medley began trampolining towards my esophagus.  That precise moment was filled with the second taste of my last meal, the scents of an unplanned delivery, the sounds of un-medicated labor, the sensation of rising body heat unaffected by natural cooling agents, and the sight of the miracle of life happening before me.  When the sensory overload did not conquer my consciousness, I knew that lessons of a lifetime would imminently present themselves.  I knew I had to pay vigilant attention or I might miss something.

Like a two year old at a three-ring circus, I didn’t know where to concentrate; on mom, the midwife, or the miracle?  I originally chose mom.  In my estimation, as someone laboring as hard as she was, my focus and attention should be directed towards her.  Not knowing what else to do, I wiped the sweat off her forehead and held her hand.  I began praying for her physical comfort, emotional peace, and spiritual well-being.  A moment or two into my prayers, I felt overwhelmingly conflicted because I was not observing anything related to my reason for being there.

I immediately turned my attention to the midwife and her mentor.  I could not make sense of the conversation they were having with mom.  My translation of what they were saying was follow, follow; right, right.  After a few seconds, I gave up and just watched what they were doing.  They were in a perpetual state of talking, checking, and guiding mom; less to the end of labor but more to the commencement of life.  Before I knew it, the crown of the baby’s head presented itself.  Then her blue face, turned down and slightly to the right, immerged with her lifeline entangled around her neck.  With cool composure, the midwife checked its tension and then rotated the baby girl out of the noose.  Within seconds, she fully immerged and was placed on mom’s chest.  Instantly, she began breathing while others in the room held their breath until she cried.  As if startled by the rude awakening of the realities of the world, she yelled.  As if released from the grips of anticipation, we sighed.  And the celebration of the miracle of life began.  Reflecting on the first two children ever born, I prayed that the baby would follow in the ways of Abel and bring forth her best to God.

Witnessing this event corroborated the fact that God’s creation is the practice that happens every moment of every day.  Conversely, evolution is merely a man-made theory that never made it to the concept phase.  I then praised Him as the Prince of Peace He is: “You are Lord of Lords.  You are King of KingsYou are mighty God, Lord of everything.  You’re Emmanuel.  You’re the great “I AM”.  You’re my Prince of Peace who is the Lamb.  You’re the living God.  You’re my saving grace.  You will reign forever.  You are Ancient of days.  You are Alpha, Omega, Beginning and End.  You’re my Savior, Messiah, Redeemer and friend.  You’re my Prince of Peace and I will live my life for You.”  (Michael W. Smith – You Are Holy)

A little while later, I was off to the next clinic.  Much like the first one, it was a 900 square foot building, sub-divided into a 12-bed recovery room, a two-bed delivery room, an examination room, and a small waiting area.  No sooner than I walked in and was greeted by the hosts, the theory of midwifery again gave way to its practical application.  Seemingly, God patiently waited for me to arrive to witness yet another miracle of life.  Instead of asking Him what I missed the first time, I dawned another paper gown, walked into the dark room, and stood by mom’s side.  This time, I began the experience with a spirit of thanksgiving and an energy of compassion.  Having the only idol hand in the room, I held a flashlight to provide illumination.  Within five minutes, a baby boy crowned, immerged, and cried.  After two births in four hours, I felt like I was well on my way to serendipitously becoming a skilled birth attendant.  After basking in the thought, my heart drifted into song, “I will sing to and worship the King who is worthy.  I will love and adore Him and I will bow down before Him.  And I will sing to and worship the King who is worthy; and I will love and adore Him and I will bow down before Him.  You’re my Prince of Peace and I will live my life for You.”  (Michael W. Smith – You Are Holy)

As if writing it on the tablet of my mind for me to always have, with His unique cadence, He said, “There were several messages you missed.  I know you were too caught up in all that was happening the first time to be able to take it all in.  So here is what you overlooked:

  1. The needs of my people are great.  Lend a helping hand whenever you can.
  2. You are personification of My light.  Shine bright so that others may see Me.
  3. No matter how far out of your element you are, you always have something to give.
  4. There is always more to My plan than meets the eye.
  5. Don’t let your sight blind you.  Sometimes your heart is how you see.
  6. Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater. (Luke 12:48 TLB)”

To watch the miracle of birth confirmed that God is the thought leader in life.  We are merely students, given the responsibility to learn and teach that we are all His creation, made in His image, guided by His light, delivered through His grace, nurtured with His forgiveness, with an eternal seat in His kingdom.

The experience taught me that our destiny is directly related to God’s assurance that He is always with us and He hears us when we call.  No matter how unsophisticated the child, how small the need, or how humble the provisions, it takes divine capacity to deliver the miracles that support life.  I now know that with God,

  • Serendipitous does not mean unplanned
  • Unfamiliar does not mean foreign
  • Bearing down does not instill fear
  • Cutting the cord does not mean pushing away
  • Crying does not mean anguish
  • Simple does not mean primitive
  • Cramped quarters does not mean uncomfortable
  • Minor role does not mean negligible impact

13 You alone created my inner being.  You knitted me together inside my mother.  14 I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made.  Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.  15 My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, when I was being skillfully woven in an underground workshop.  16 Your eyes saw me when I was only a fetus.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book before one of them had taken place.  (Psalm 139:13-16)

Tart Tutor

“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca.  Teaching is love and one of the greatest gifts one can give.  Some may say opportunities to learn exist everywhere we go.  How much we learn depends on how open we are.  God sends us teachers to take us as far as they can, then to release us as we soar to the next level.  The measures of our lives are not how high we fly or how much we gain, rather how long we are willing to low-hover or how far we are willing to bend to give away His great riches.

On Saturday morning, I practiced yoga as I frequently do.  In the early morning when I awakened, I read scriptures before I got out of bed.  I had my tea and moseyed through the morning at a very gentle pace to conserve energy as I was slated to attend a half day celebratory event at local synagogue mid-morning.

I arrived at yoga radiating peace and serenity.  We had a substitute instructor who had an extremely low energy.  Her energy was so low, it was almost depressive.  15 minutes into the practice, I found it increasingly difficult to transition from one pose to another.  By the halfway mark, my practice had completely degraded.  The only reason I did not leave class was because to do so would have caused great interruption to the rest of the students in the class.  So, I spent at least half of the class in corpse pose, feeling listless while searching for even the smallest glimpse of life’s joy.  It was as though I was in a funeral procession.  The only thing that was missing was the mortician and the hearse.  Little did I know that the experience was a preparatory event for what was to happen later in the week.  This low vibe the teacher emanated was her interpretation of calm.  The spirit was uniquely saying “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 – NIV) because the Lord knew that my upcoming loss would create a familiar feeling in an unconventional way.

After getting cleaned up and changed, I went to the confirmation ceremony of a girl who reached the point in her life where she willing takes responsibility for her own actions regarding Jewish ethics, law, and tradition.  The lessons imparted during the celebration were seek the truth for yourself, people are deserving of second chances, and reconcile and move on once an event has passed; a prophesy for what was to happen later in the week.  The lesson was taken from Numbers 12:8-16 which says, “How dare you speak against my servant Moses?”  The Lord was angry with them; and so as he departed 10 and the cloud left the Tent, Miriam’s skin was suddenly covered with a dreaded disease and turned as white as snow.  When Aaron looked at her and saw that she was covered with the disease, 11 he said to Moses, ‘Please, sir, do not make us suffer this punishment for our foolish sin.  12 Don’t let her become like something born dead with half its flesh eaten away.’  13 So Moses cried out to the Lord, ‘O God, heal her!’  14 The Lord answered, ‘If her father had spit in her face, she would have to bear her disgrace for seven days.  So let her be shut out of the camp for a week, and after that she can be brought back in.’15 Miriam was shut out of the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until she was brought back in.  16 Then they left Hazeroth and set up camp in the wilderness of Paran.”

Later in the week, a friend emailed me to say there had been a major change in perspective on life that required us to untie the knot of our friendship.  At first, I experienced heart-break and questioned the “true” motivation for the change.  I then grieved at the loss as it felt like a loved one had passed away.  After prayer and a good night’s sleep, I realized that although I was sad about the dissipation of the growing closeness, I found the truth of openness in the relationship.  I gained far more from the bond than I lost by its disconnection.  I will miss my friend but believe that a more abundant life will come from the death of the relationship as we knew it than if I tried to cling to it.  The undertaker removed what was as the birthing center cradles what is.

The next day, I witnessed someone in a pivotal position engage in questionable activity.  I spent the next 24 hours contemplating my next move.  I felt conflicted because James 5 tells me, 19-20 My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.”  However, my training and trade urged me to expose the behavior and allow an independent party to examine the facts and find the truth.  I chose the latter option to deal with the issue.

But the tentacles of this wrongdoing reach far beyond the doer.  It is not possible to isolate the illumination of the darkness of one person when the individual is surrounded by a crowd.  To the doer of wrong deeds, the requisite shepherds and their villagers, the exposure will feel like character assassination and will have the threat of provision elimination because the land owner lacks Godly insights.  Unfortunately in this instance, the shepherds and overseers did not provide instruction, guidance, and correction to their sheep along the way.  Their sights were set on other things and a member of their flock floundered in the meadow and stumbled onto dangerous terrain.  Now the sheep is hanging in the balance with an uncertain fate.  My prayer is that the threat of death inspires a rebirth of energy that promotes great growth within the entire village.  May the independent party find the truth that I was unwilling to look for.

The dichotomy of the coming of age and the going home to rest events as well as the death and rebirth has me meditating on these scriptures:

  1. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)
  2. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6)
  1. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6)
  2. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3)

My meditation has revealed that:  Life is full of pleasant surprises and utter craziness; God’s son is our second chance; His message to believers comes in many translations; the greatest growth comes from experiences in the darkest times.  His lessons come from lots of teachers – Be open to all of them and believe.

Newsboys provided my current chant in We Believe with “Let the lost be found and the dead be raised!  In the here and now, let love invade!  Let the church live love – our God will see we believe, We believe!  And the gates of hell will not prevail!  For the power of God has torn the veil!  Now we know Your love will never fail!  We believe, we believe!”