Monday, December 26, 2011

An Incredible Birth Story

I've had two little girls, and since the birth of the first in September of 2008 I've noticed that we moms love to share our birth stories! We love to tell when and how labor began, all the highs and especially the lows of the hours it took to prepare for the birth, and to share how our little ones finally made their appearance!
Personally, I find the fact that I've endured two labors without an epidural as a badge of honor, and at some point, if I can find a graceful way to tell them, I may blog my birth stories. Today, is not that day.
Today, I want to share a birth story that is quite ancient in age. A much anticipated birth:
When I was six months pregnant with my first daughter (in June) my husband and I decided to visit my brother who lives approximately twelve hours away from us. I'll admit that the visit was wonderful and so much fun! I got to see the Liberty Bell for the first time ever! However, the trip itself was terrible! I hated every second of the drive!
I don't enjoy pregnancy. There's just something about nausea, gaining thirty pounds, losing my center of balance, inability to sleep, complete exhaustion, and all-around discomfort that just rubs me the wrong way. Sitting in a vehicle for twelve hours while enduring all of these pleasures was almost unbearable. It was so difficult and I was so uncomfortable. However, I'm sure that poor Mary would have gladly traded places with me and exchanged her donkey for the front seat of our sunfire. After that trip I vowed never to travel that pregnant again, and when I tell other moms about that trip they're always quick to give their sympathy and relate to the discomfort. Can you imagine being a full term mother-to-be and having to make a sixty mile journey by donkey? On my trip to my borther's we stopped approximately every two hours. (A necessary side-effect of pregnancy.) Can you imagine how slow the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem with the frequent stops that were obviously inevitable? Can you imagine Mary's discomfort and down-right pain at traveling on that donkeys back. When I was full term I couldn't get comfortable on a leather sofa, let alone on a barn animal!

The week I was expecting my second child was also the week that our church held Vacation Bible Adventure. I was determined that she would come early enough that she and I could attend together or she'd have to wait until Thurs. and make her appearance at the end of the VBA. I didn't want to miss a day! As it was, VBA ended on Aug. 4th and she came into the world on Aug. 5th. That was a lot of physical exertion and a lot of (good) stress. Every evening for the entire two hours I experienced fairly regular and somewhat painful contractions. I'm not complaining as this fell into my plan, because I'd hoped since finding out that I was expecting that she would come on Aug. 5th which is my sister's birthday. I'm merely saying this to illustrate that the physical activity involved in that journey was probably bringing on frequent and painful contractions, ones that she knew wouldn't end until she arrived in Bethlehem, as she knew that her child would be born in that city and no where else!
I wonder to myself how far Mary's labor had progressed when she arrived in Bethlehem. Had she, like me, labored a little bit every day? Or had she been deep into contractions and hard labor when they arrived? How long did she have to wait before meeting her son and Savior?
I like the super sanitized feel of a hospital. We have probably none of us had to give birth in an environment we would describe as dirty! I'm normally disgusted in a barn, I can't imagine birthing in one! The paintings and pictures we see of Mary sitting up and adoring her newborn in a bed of clean, dry hay are almost laughable! Would you have looked so nice after such a journey, laboring, and delivering you little one. Have you ever been in a barn that clean with so many nice freshly washed animals? No, I haven't either. This was rather unrealistic! Topping all of this off, Mary was much younger, it is believed, than most modern mothers. How much she had to process! How much she had to endure, and with what grace she did so! Gladly submitting to the will of her Lord. Paul reminds Timothy to not let anyone to despise his youth. How Mary had already fulfilled that commandment before Paul mentioned it to Timothy, even before Timothy's birth. She is a wonderful example to all women and mothers. She shows us that it's always best to accept and joyfully submit to the will of our Lord. I'm sure she questioned what effects this child would have on her marriage. Have we submitted our marriages to the Lord? This child forever changed the course of her maternal plans! Have we submitted our parenting to the Savior? This child changed her life forever, are we the handmaids of the Lord?
This is a birth story unlike any other, probably the most difficult one I've heard. (And I've heard some terrible stories!) But it's the most beautiful. It's a birth story to top them all!

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