Monday, August 30, 2010

Mother of All Living

Women were designed and uniquely created to bear life. Even the most ardent defender of androgyny can’t get away from the sheer biological fact that women can do something men can’t—give birth. Eve was called the “mother of all living,” (Gen. 3:20). Many women who have come after her have carried that great task. Women throughout the Bible have felt the magnitude of bearing life—and the immense pain of being unable to physically fulfill it. Part of imaging God as a woman means bearing life, nurturing life, bringing life into the world. That is our legacy and our calling. But it’s so hard to swallow when physically speaking I have only been the mother of death.

My child did not get the chance to live outside the womb. We prayed for this little one every day since we found out. Now we pray for ourselves in his absence. He doesn’t need our prayers anymore. He is experiencing the fullness of all those prayers we prayed for him—just without us.

It’s hard to feel like I am living my calling when “life” doesn’t define me right now. Women are supposed to give life, not have life ended inside of them. And it’s so easy to feel like the only empty womb among a sea of very full ones. Pregnancy loss can feel like a big scarlet “M” is draped across my neck, like everyone can see in my face that I’m not what I once was—or that I don’t really belong in the world I live in now.

A dear friend of mine shared with me the other day that it is so easy to think that your life is defined by miscarriage (or any loss) when it happens—like people only see a woman with a failed pregnancy when they see you. Maybe they do. To my shame, I know I have thought that before about people. But the most important thing for us to remember, she said, is that God does not see us that way. We are not defined by the loss; we are defined by Christ’s work for us. Miscarriage doesn’t define me, Christ does. And that is hard for me to hold on to at times. So much of me wants to continue being defined by this loss because in my mind that’s where my baby is. But he’s not there. He’s with the same Savior that saved me. Christ is my rock, my resting place, and hope. His righteousness that covers my every sin is what defines me.

Pregnancy, like everything else in this world, is cursed. Miscarriage was never supposed to happen. But it does. And it’s horrible. In a perfect world, we would all be “mothers of all living.” Instead some of us are mothers of death (or not even mothers at all). But with the curse came the promise. The promise of a perfect baby who would make life out of death, who would make joy out of pain, and who would bring redemption to a decaying world. That is our only hope when the sorrows of loss overtake us. He will make all things new—and then we will be mothers of the living.


Chelsea Bass said...

Love you, Courtney!

I feel the big "I" of infertility on my back when I talk openly about it. I haven't talked about it much at all since we moved to a new town. I guess I just don't want to be "the barren lady" here. Yet I know that in doing that I am denying God's grace to me in that he has given me brothers and sisters who share in our sorrow. Not only are they sympathetic to our plight and suffer along side us, but once I start talking about infertility, others like me seem to come out of the woodworks, and then I can be an encouragement to them as well. It's an amazing thing that God does not allow us to suffer alone. I need to talk about it more.

On the other hand, I don't want to dwell there. I don't want to constantly talk about what I don't have. It's a tricky thing. I want to praise Jesus, and make it known that he is all I need, but I still want to be able to share my struggles humbly.

Why is it so easy to dwell on something we don't have, something we've lost, or something we feel entitles to have, but so easy forget what we really deserve?

debt said...

Thanks to both of you for being honest about your suffering and at the same time, pointing us to Christ. Keep on looking unto Jesus!! The reality of your loss and your infertility will "in time" not define you, but the reminder of it will never go away. He will walk with you through it. He is kind and faithful!!

cdt said...


Love you! You have no idea how God has used you to encourage me, and especially in these last few weeks. The fact that you care and read means so much to me.

I so understand about not wanting to talk about it around other people sometimes. It's hard to be in new environments too. I mean, how do you bring up something as heavy as infertility or miscarriage? But it is such a real thing in our lives too. It's such a hard balance and I don't really know how to live within it yet.

I am still learning how to be okay with being sad, while being thankful. Maybe sometimes the reason it is so easy to dwell on loss, or somemthing we feel entitled to have, is because it's right in the forefront of our minds. I know for me it consumes me often. Sometimes I can only spit out "God keep me near you and thankful for your grace today." Anyways, I don't really have any answers, just understanding that we are walking through this hard road at the same time (though different circumstances). Thanks again for your thoughts.

cdt said...


Thanks for your encouragement. Love you.