It’s baby week in the Pullano house!!

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.

stay tuned….

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Bounty

A simple reflection on the garden

I was on my porch enjoying my morning tea on a glorious summer morning with my garden before me.  I couldn’t help but marvel at the lush bounty of it all.  Full green plants bending under the weight of their fruit and all in drastic contrast to the drought afflicted yard surrounding it.

I had the clear and simple thought that it truly was not the work of my hands.  Yes I did my part.  I was responsible for the backbreaking hours of work preparing, planting and maintaining but no amount of sweat equity, all by itself, could produce all that life. 

God gives glory to our work but He does expect us to work.  I have learned that trusting in His providence and goodness does not mean that we sit back and hope He will get it all done.  It does mean that we do all we are humanly capable of while recognizing and understanding we are not ultimately in control.

This is especially obvious in regards to human life.  God has allowed us, out of Love and Respect, to participate with Him in His ministry and His creation.

He allows us to create His creation!

So on a fundamental level we must recognize that all life comes from Him and not from ourselves alone.  It’s like He’s given us a great big Lego set of life.  We build and create with it but ultimately can’t take credit for designing the Legos.

And the design possibilities are simply limitless when we allow God to have a hand in our work.

Cor. 9:10 “The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”

As people of God’s creation we are the work of His hands and at the same time the result of human industry.  When we fail to give proper glory to the creator, the true author of all life, we limit ourselves.  But when creator and created intertwine we are limitless for “All things are Possible with God” (Mt. 19:26).

It is impossible then to see the truth of LIFE – that is, the beauty and the splendor and the glory of all life, any life, every single human life no matter their state or condition – separate from the divine power that allowed it’s creation and gives it glory.  To separate the divine creator from human creation is to blind ourselves!

When we look at life as a product merely of our own will and our own actions and our own entitlement to create then we imagine ourselves equally entitled to destroy.   It is in appreciating that creation truly belongs to God and we are His co-creators striving to do His will, only then, apart from ourselves, can we grasp the true sanctity of life.

Fetus week 9-10

Fetus week 9-10 (Photo credit: lunar caustic)

And once we grasp the true sanctity of life, only then can we protect it; in our hearts, in our relationships, with our laws and more broadly, as a society.

I planted mere SEEDS.  No amount of my effort or will could turn those seeds into the bounty of a garden.  I had no part in what took place beneath the soil.  I couldn’t force the seedlings to break ground.  I could not force them to become healthy plants or to flower or to produce fruit.

That is all, quite simply, the handiwork of God.

At the moment I put those seeds in the soil I was giving God my fiat.  I agreed to allow Him to create through me.  I signed up for all the work it would take to nurture His creation, to take care of it, to make Him proud and to give Him honor and thanksgiving.  I agreed to help bring His vision to fruition and He agreed to help me do it.

His vision is always to spoil us with His bounty.

His vision is to give us Life.

Lord we pray you will open all hearts and minds to Life!  We thank you and praise you always for your bounty! Amen