Everyone tells you how quickly times flies when you have kids, and it’s so true. Tomorrow, we celebrate Genevieve’s first birthday. My heart is so filled with joy as I look back on this year and reminisce about how God crashed into her labor and birth.
In case you’re new here, Genevieve is my third baby. After I had my second child, I got incredibly sick and my immune system went crazy (you can read that story here). The doctors told me it was too dangerous to have any more babies, but God healed my body from everything and blessed me with this beautiful little miracle.
When I look back on Genevieve's birth, I always chuckle to myself. Hindsight has a way of making birth feel joyfully humorous! As with the end of most pregnancies, I was so ready for her to be born! I went to my midwife and said, “I need you to check my cervix!!” I knew there had to be some progress going on, and I was getting terribly impatient! She checked and told me I was between 6-8cms dilated and she could feel the head. I was so relieved! That news reaffirmed that Genevieve wouldn’t stay inside me forever! But… I had to go grocery shopping before she came. And, you can’t go grocery shopping hungry, so we stopped for lunch first!
A few hours later, we returned home and stocked the pantry shelves. We knew Genevieve should be making her appearance today, so my husband got to work setting up the birth tub and I took a bath and relaxed. I had some contractions, but they weren’t regular and I just couldn’t figure out if I was really in labor or not. My mom and dad were visiting and helping watch my older kids, and every few minutes, my mom would ask if I called Jeni (my wonderful midwife) yet. I would frustratingly explain that I just wasn’t sure this was “it.”
My contractions started to grow in intensity, but they were so sporadic. After much pressure from my mom, I texted Jeni and asked her to come. Minutes later, my water slightly broke. Then I realized I really was in labor! I thought, “I don’t want to do this tonight!” After all that waiting for birth to come, I was having second thoughts… but I put on “The Father’s Blessing” by John Paul Jackson. It filled my heart with reassurance that I was made for this moment. Then, I decided to walk over to the pool. I was having a really hard time walking, and this was a huge concern to my mom, but spoiler alert, it’s because the baby was just about to be born! Jeni and her assistant Shannon made it with about an hour to spare. The entire birth lasted 2 hours and 15minutes, with only 40 minutes of regular contractions!
Oh, and my last funny birth memory to share… you know that moment where the mom is weeping and so thrilled that she had a baby. Yeah, that wasn’t me! I remember thinking, “What just happened? Did I just have a baby!?” And that response was curtesy of the powerful cocktail of birth hormones!
Next week, we’ll dive a bit into the science behind birth and just how it coincides with Scripture… until then, what are your favorite birth memories? Or if you haven’t experienced birth yet, what are you believing for in your birth?
Oh, and in case you've never seen The Father's Blessing... this is for you today!
I hope you all are having/had a wonderful Resurrection Sunday! We certainly had one filled with love, friends, and the beautiful hope of the Resurrection!
God put a special message on my heart for this Easter, and I wanted to take a quick minute to encourage you all with it. I was praying as I was driving home the other day, and I lovingly inquired:
“Hey God, where’s my healing?”
He said, “Hey Alex, where’s your heart?”
I said, “Well, it’s in the middle of a storm, being tossed back and forth by all these crazy waves- but, with the sound of Your voice, You can calm the seas!”
God said, “I’m teaching you to walk on water…”
The reason I share this little story is because I know that word is not just for me... As we celebrate our Risen Savior, I feel that God is calling us to rise above our circumstances and struggles and teaching us to walk the way He did. Most of what Jesus did made little sense at the time, but His actions have echoed throughout history. As we follow Him, it might look strange, and I can guarantee it will feel uncomfortable, but we’re learning to walk in a brand new way; taking steps of faith and hope to overcome any obstacle.
In His Love,
“Jesus offered His perfect life as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. In doing so, He faced unimaginable anguish in every part of his being. Adam and Eve’s body, soul, and spirit experienced the corruption of sin, so the Perfect Lamb of God would bare our punishment in His spirit, soul, and body.
The anguish the Son of God faced began within his soul long before His physical suffering. Jesus foreknew every bit of punishment that would be poured out on His blameless body. Undoubtedly, He had witnessed criminals hung on crosses outside the city walls, blood pouring off of their beaten bodies, and gasping for breath. Floggings, too, were punishments that were publicized to warn others not to commit the same mistake. As Jesus’s own time of suffering was drawing closer, the knowledge of what was to come tried to fill Him with fear.
While Jesus awaited this world-altering moment, He cried out to God in the Garden of Gethsemane, filled with so much anguish that Scripture records Jesus sweat drops of blood (Lk. 22:44). He asked three of his beloved friends to watch and pray as his final moments drew closer, but they could not stay awake. The rest of Jesus’s friends, who had traveled with Him, eaten with Him, and been with Him while he performed countless miracles, were about to flee from Jesus’s side. Peter pledged he would die by Jesus’s side, but he denied knowing Him three times that very night (Jn. 18:15–27). And Judas, who had just shared in the sacred Passover meal with the Lord, gathered three to six hundred Roman soldiers to arrest an innocent man. The anguish of these betrayals must have weighed heavily on Jesus’s soul, taunting the King of Kings by whispering, “Do you really want to die for these people?”
Jesus had invested so much into each of his friends. He taught them God’s ways. He showed them God’s power, and He equipped them to do His Father’s work. Yet, He must have looked at them with love and sadness on the night of His betrayal, like a parent watching their child make the wrong choice but understanding that some lessons need to be learned through mistakes.
Jesus was arrested, blindfolded, and beaten. The soldiers mocked Him as they threw punches, saying, “Prophesy who hit you” (Mk. 14:65). This was the Son of God, who not only could have said who hit Him but could have recited that person’s genealogy all the way back to Adam. But, the Son of God remained silent.
Then, Jesus was put through a mock trial before the High Priest (Lk. 22:66). The one destined to judge the world would be judged by malicious, sin-filled men. Yet, Jesus endured. He bore the degradation within His soul so that we could experience absolute freedom in ours.
While Jesus’s soul suffered within, His body suffered visibly. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be disfigured beyond any human and His form marred beyond human likeness (Isa. 52:14). Jews flogged a person (a brutal beating with a calfskin whip), by inflicting forty lashes. It did not take long to realize that the fortieth lash often killed the criminal, so they reduced the punishment to thirty-nine lashes. However, the Romans handled Jesus’s scourging. They, unlike the Jews, did not have that same mercy law. Instead of a calfskin whip, they used a flagrum that was specifically designed with chunks of bone and metal to tear the flesh off of the victim. Jesus was “marred beyond human likeness” (Isa. 52:14), so that our likeness to God would be restored.
After Jesus’s body was broken and torn apart, He was forced to carry His cross to Golgotha. He dragged a wooden tree on His brutalized body, fully aware that the worst was yet to come. If ever there was a moment in history where anguish grew with each step, it was the path to Calvary.
When Jesus arrived at the Place of the Skull, a blunt, five-inch nail was driven into each of Jesus wrists. One nail was driven through His feet to hold Him to the cross. The weight of Jesus’s body would hang on these nails and war against His muscles, slowly tearing them as He struggled to take a breath. With each gasp of air, the wounds on Jesus’s back would scrape against the cross until the ultimate sacrifice was finished. At any moment, Jesus could have called for legions of angels to set Him free, but He did not. Nails could not hold the King of the world, but love did.
On the cross, Jesus’s spirit was separated from the Father for the first time in eternity. Before the world was formed, Jesus was with God and part of God (Jn. 1:1). Everything, from the sky, to the mountains, and to humanity was created through Jesus with God (Col. 1:13). During Jesus’s ministry on earth, He accomplished everything the Father told Him (Jn. 5:19). This deep intimacy with God directed every moment of Jesus’s life on earth. During the most selfless sacrifice, the stench of humanity’s sin caused God to turn away. Jesus was separated from God for a moment so that we could forever be joined with God.
With the final words, “it is finished” (Jn. 19:30), Jesus left his physical body behind. The Pharisees rejoiced, the Romans thought they had avoided an uprising, and Jesus’s disciples did not fully grasp what had happened. For three days, His body lay in a burial tomb, but that was not the end for Jesus. All of Creation quaked, and Jesus rose up in victory from the grips of death.
His light would shine an entirely new meaning on life. The power of sin and death had been defeated, and all of a sudden, provisions were made for Creation to begin returning to the way God intended in the beginning. Jesus’s atonement carved a perfect path that would lead to life and life more abundantly (Jn.10:10).
It’s my prayer that we all live out of that abundance, our own spiritual inheritance, that is never lacking!
 Rick Renner, Paid in Full: an In-Depth Look at the Defining Moments of Christ's Passion (Tulsa, Okla.: Harrison House Publishers, 2013), 40.
 Louis Jacobs et al., "Flogging," in Encyclopedia Judaica, 2nd ed. (Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007), 681-682, Gale Virtual Reference Library.
 Mak. 22a.
 Dan Mohler, “Web Session 1” (video of sermon, Free School of Power and Love), accessed October 31, 2016, https://youtu.be/A6VpLNUIqVQ?list=PLw8MlRBZuEIYcaEIGXT-ZF18WFah_Zu-p.
Is a wife, mother of four, author of Re:Birth, and lover of afternoon naps.