A quick bit of my rambling thoughts for today. The level of anticipation and excitement and busy-ness is high around here as we wait for the arrival of our own royal highness! I think we are all imagining cuddling and snuggling a new little baby in all her innocence and sweetness and the waiting is a true exercise in the virtue of patience!
For me, there are the usual doubts and fears about the enormous task that lies ahead. Am I up to it? How will I juggle it all? Luckily I’ve been here a few times already and know from experience that of course it will work out and yes I will be up to it – what other choice is there? There is Joy in the sure knowledge that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Which is not to say that it will all be a piece of cake. Of course having babies and raising a large family is full of struggles. I don’t have many children because I love being sleepless for months and months or because I love donating my body for years at a time. To be sure the effort and the sacrifice is great at times. Many look at me and think I must be made of something superhuman in order to pull off having 9 children.
Indeed I am. I am a daughter of God. Simple but divine. I possess the same superhuman quality we are all capable of possessing. In fact, it’s the very quality we are all created for, to Love. Not by our own power but by God’s power can we experience that agape love that overrides all else. It’s the kind of Love that says, yes I will give up myself for you. And I can’t take much credit for knowing this. I guess you could say I stumbled upon this truth when I said yes the first time to accepting Life. Whatever the reasons or circumstances at the time God used my ‘yes’ to teach me something far more beautiful and wonderful and amazing than I ever knew existed. He showed me that because of His Love, His divinity, His Holy Spirit living in me, I am superhuman.
I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words, “Greater Love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13) Or for one’s children, or for one’s family, or for one’s God.
To be sure the list of complaints at 39 weeks pregnant for the 9th time is looooooong. I’ll spare you. You’re welcome.
The sacrifice is great and I know all too well that it is only the beginning. In fact, I really don’t know the extent of the sacrifice this little life will require of me. Just as I didn’t know that when I was carrying my 5th child that his life would be so short – or so fruitful. I didn’t know when we had our very first child the sacrifice that would be required just 18 short years away. I didn’t have any Simeon in the temple to predict that a sword would pierce my heart – twice. We have no guarantees that this newest little life won’t require great sacrifice. That’s not how it works. We give ourselves up to Divine Love and Trust in God, come what may. All the sacrifice day in and day out is part and parcel of Loving. I bear it all gladly. And it is like nothing really in light of what Jesus did for us on the cross. It is the small everyday way I can participate with Him in the cross.
It is the supreme gift of my womanhood and humanity, to be full of life, creating with God, saying Yes and offering myself as a sacrifice in a physical way. For this I was created and the gift of the opportunity is beyond compare.
I remember being in labor with our 7th child, while our little Michael was in the hospital next-door receiving chemo treatments. It was gut wrenching to watch his sweet little innocent self suffer and endure that. In some strange way I wanted to share in that suffering with him. I really wanted to take it away from him of course but what could I do? Nothing. Except in my contraction-induced haze of pain I had the idea that if he could suffer then so could I. So in some sort of effort to share in it with him I refused all manner of pain relief and by the power of Love delivered a healthy squalling 9lb 4oz baby girl (and continue to question my sanity to this day!)
It was the sentiment of the cross really. It was the greatest Love that motivated me, silly as it may seem. I suppose looking from the outside in someone might question the sanity of Jesus on the cross, walking willingly to give up His life. But from the inside, wow does it make good sense!
Only by being both a receiver and a participant of that Love does it make all the sense in the world.
The past 9 months has been a time of physically giving my life for another. The upcoming labor and delivery will not be a walk in the park but the suffering is just a glimpse of the cross. The Love is the fullness of the cross. I get to experience both. Again. What a gift. What a Joy.