What Kind of Love...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

We stutter and we stammer 'til You say us
A symphony of chaos 'til You play us
Phrases on the pages of unknown
'Til You read us into poetry and prose

We are kept and we are captive 'til You free us
Vaguely unimagined 'til You dream us
Aimlessly unguided 'til You lead us home

By Your voice, we speak
By Your strength, no longer weak
We are no longer weak

By Your wounds we are healed

Passed over and passed by until You claim us
Orphaned and abandoned 'til You name us
Hidden and disclosed 'til You expose our hearts

By Your death we live
It is by Your gift that we might give
That we might give

What kind of love would take Your shame
And spill His blood for You
And save us by His wounds?

By Your wounds we are healed
(Tell me, what kind of love is this?)
By Your wounds we are healed...

I spent much of my pregnancy wondering about the Curse (see Genesis 3). I had a general sense that we as human beings are constantly trying to avoid the implications of the Fall, and I found myself trying to pinpoint some specifics. For example: Do women try to fight the pain God promised in childbirth by using epidurals or pain relievers? Can men avoid the promised futility in their endeavors? And how does the Cross affect our fallen state?

About a month ago, Pete and I were driving to one of my appointments and the subject came up. I had done a little exploring in the original Hebrew of Genesis 3, and I had discovered a couple of things that I'd never really heard before:

God cursed only the snake and the ground.

I was stunned. I re-read the passage, and saw not the frowning, angry, frustrated Judge that I had always believed surfaced in that passage, but rather a compassionate, tender, betrayed, deeply saddened Friend who had walked in the Garden with Adam and Eve every evening, teaching them about His world and about Himself, and about themselves.

He knew that the breach created by their new knowledge of good and evil would eradicate their need for Him; He that "[they had] now become like one of us, knowing good and evil." So, in what I think may have been the last time that He spoke with Adam and Eve, He left them with some final words. I could hear His heart breaking as He explained to Eve that her desire will always be for her husband, and that her pain in childbirth would be greatly increased. I could see the sorrow in His eyes as He told Adam that the ground would be cursed for his sake and that he would now have to toil against it.

But He didn't curse Adam and Eve. He limited them. He set boundaries for them so that they could never be complete without Him. In Eve's unfulfilled desire and her great pain, and in Adam's necessity to work and inability to produce all that he wanted, God branded on all of us an insatiable need for Himself. And He gave them hope that the consequences of their sin could be overcome.

As this came into perspective, my birth assistant, who is a believer, shared with me that at the birth of her youngest daughter, she had sensed God at the door of her room, telling her that yes, she could do this on her own and she'd get through, or she could invite Him in to be with her in her pain.

That was when I understood that there can be no way around the pain of giving birth. I live in a fallen world, and these are the limitations that God has given me to draw me to Himself. But because of Jesus, He is now free to be with me, to cross that gap and to sustain me and to make His love and mercy for me accessible. He could be here.

Time stopped for me at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, 2007. I still can't tell you what day it is if you ask me. I'm still reeling and still processing and discovering every time I look at Piper that she's real and she's here. But some things are very clear.

I had been having contractions for about 45 minutes when Pete left me alone in the bathroom for a few minutes. I felt another contraction building and I started crying, because I didn't want to be alone.

"But you're not alone, Kelly," I heard Him remind me. "Remember that I'm here?"

I bit my lip and nodded.

"Remember that I love you."

I started crying.

In the course of the next few hours, as the contractions built in intensity, I began to realize that the pain that I was having was a very strange sort of pain. I couldn't pinpoint it to a physical location. What I was feeling physically should only have caused discomfort as the baby moved further down the birth canal. The pain seemed a mere accessory to the birth. Even as I cried out, I realized that my cries were not caused by the pain--I was answering it, crying out against it. It wasn't supposed to be there.

Many times as I neared transition, I started to despair, remembering that God had said that Eve would have pain in childbirth, and then I would hear Him reminding me that He was there and that He loved me. We did it together, God and Pete and me. He let Pete understand, and He was with us both in it.

He was there. He loves me. For me, labor wasn't about the pain. It was about my Abba and me. It wasn't about producing a baby. It was about His holding my hand.

And just like He promised when I first got pregnant, He had cared for her. She's perfect. She got a ten on her APGAR score. She's strong, and sweet, and healthy, and (unexpectedly) content. And she's His. Some people say that their first child is really special to them, and is always the most special. I don't know. I haven't had others yet. But I know that from the time Piper Joelle was conceived, she's been God's, and she will be in His hands no matter what happens, because I'm not big enough to hold her.


Heidi said...

*tears in my eyes* That's beautiful Kell. Thank you so much for sharing that. I know you told me much of that right after the birth but there's just something amazing about seeing you process stuff in writing. I miss you and Piper!

Holly said...

I haven't been here yet in my life, but what a great post.
Birth costs pain, but it's worth it in the end, just like Someone had to pay the price for our re-birth.

God bless!

(PS - I saw a link to this post on facebook ;))

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