Recently, our church experienced one of those great services where praise and worship just doesn't stop and the sermon never happens. Love those so much!! As the majority of our congregation delved deep into worship and God's amazing presence, I began to hear Him speaking to me about birth, my job as a doula, and the amazing act of worship that birth is.
He began to reveal to me that birth is a woman's ultimate act of worship. Our bodies are designed and intended to bring life into the world, we should honor Him in that task. At some point, I looked around and saw a few people who just were not "into" praise and worship that morning. You know the type: arms crossed, ugly expression on their face, etc. I wondered how they could stand there so distant when God's presence was so heavy and tangible in the room. Why they would medicate their worship and keep from experiencing what He had for them. God answered me with this question: "If you wouldn't medicate your worship, why would you medicate your birth?"
Wait a minute. Back that truck up. Oh.snap.
I'm guilty of it. Most women in America these days are. But I had never thought of it that way before. Whoa. I had to repent. In that act of repentance, I asked Him to show me more. What else were we unintentionally doing in birth that grieved Him? The answer came swiftly and was even more shocking:
God began to talk to me about the birth process. Everyone calls babies a miracle, right? How many times have you heard, "each baby is a miracle!"? A lot, right? Me too. I've said it. You've probably said it. We all say it. It's part of our birth culture. But why do we say it? I have always assumed that I say it because God so delicately designs each one of us inside our Mother's wombs. Life itself is miraculous! However, God gave me a new and amazing perspective that morning: we call each baby a miracle because He is present when that baby is born. Our labor is worship, we are preparing the way for Him to come, whether we know it or not. When that baby, that tiny, innocent baby, comes Earthside, they are coming directly from constant communication with Him and bringing His presence with them. In my mind's eye, I saw a hospital room in the first few moments after a birth. The parents are gasping in awe of the child that is laying on its mother's chest, the nurse is rubbing the baby down with a fresh receiving blanket, and over by the door is the King of all things. If the President of the United States or the Queen of England walked into that room, people would roll out the red carpet faster than anything. But the Creator is there...and everyone is ignoring Him. We forget to thank God for the gifts He has given us, and for His presence in our lives. We expect it. Take it for granted. In that moment, I realized that His heart is so grieved by that. We spend hours, sometimes days in preparation for His arrival, but He goes unheralded. I literally got on my face and wept with remorse. How had I never realized that I grieved the heart of my Father when my daughters were born? Just because our sin is unintentional, doesn't mean that it isn't sin. We are still responsible to repent for it when we are aware of it.
On our way home from church, I recounted all of this to Ryan. He was amazed and asked me what I planned to do differently this time.
This time, I plan to recognize my worship for what it is as labor begins. To tell God that I am preparing the way for His presence and ask Him to sustain me. Along the way, I hope to remember to continue to do that very thing. When the baby arrives, we intend to take a few moments to thank God for His presence, to welcome Him as He fills the room.
This may seem crazy and over religious to some of you reading right now. But I encourage you to pray about it yourself and see what God has to say to you. I want to remember to welcome the King when I give birth.