In the center of a table at the French cafe, a three-week-old baby lay in her infant seat, sleeping. Her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother sat around quietly talking. One or two wake-up coos from the baby, though, and grandma scooped the little one into her arms, while the mamma and great-grandma murmured French endearments and giggled as each new expression came over the baby's face. It was an almost holy scene - four generations of family love.
Sitting at an adjoining table, I thought about the unspeakable love for our two children that God had given my husband and me. As I look back on my pregnancies, that growing love is what I remember most. Not the biological changes, occasional discomforts, delivery, and post-delivery adjustments. For our family - and especially for me - having a baby was an unforgettable spiritual journey.
Popular author Judy Ford has it right when she says in her book "Blessed Expectations" that "pregnancy is an invitation to learn spiritual lessons that prepare you for the holy responsibilities of parenting." These lessons include "patience, compassion, truthfulness, generosity, steadfastness, gratitude, playfulness." And all this adds up to what Ms. Ford calls "your birth as a mother" (pgs. xii, 88, 92).
Any spiritual lesson-learning constitutes a kind of "birth" - a new birth in Spirit. It helps people see themselves and others as God sees them, as the children of His love. This fresh perspective makes a new beginning for every aspect of our lives - family relationships, careers, physical health. Or pregnancy. Because this spiritual perspective reminds us of the infinitely benevolent power of divine Life to shape the nature and outcome of experience.
You can trust this omnipotent Life, God, to father and mother His own creation. You can trust God to care for you, your baby, and your family, and to forward the holy purpose that God made each one of you to fulfill.
My friend Tricia learned this with her first baby, who came very early on in her marriage. Initially, when she found out she was pregnant, she was upset. She'd wanted to establish a career before having a family. For weeks, she couldn't speak about the new baby without feeling near tears.
Then, one day at work, Tricia had some frightening symptoms, which brought her face to face with the threat of a miscarriage. She went home and asked a family member to pray with her. As she lay in bed trembling, she realized for the first time how much she loved her baby - and what a privilege it was to be entrusted with the care of this precious child. This child who was, in fact, God's child.
From that moment forward, Tricia stopped outlining her own plans and let herself trust God's faultless direction for her life. As she did, she felt - as never before - God's enfolding love for her, her husband, and their child. The symptoms quieted and - months later - Tricia delivered a beautiful little baby boy.
We all can expect our lives to have new beginnings and fresh inspiration. Transforming moments like Tricia had are part of the ongoing new birth we can experience whether we're expecting a baby or simply looking forward to discovering more of God's purpose in our lives. "The new birth is not the work of a moment," commented the woman who established the Monitor. "It begins with moments, and goes on with years; moments of surrender to God, of childlike trust and joyful adoption of good; moments of self-abnegation, self-consecration, heaven-born hope, and spiritual love" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Miscellaneous Writings," pg. 15).
Whether you're a mom or a dad or a sister or a brother or a grandparent or a friend, welcoming the reality of God's creation - His spiritual creation - into your heart can be wonderful. It can make you feel born again in God's love.
Articles like this one appear in 13 different languages in the publication The Herald of Christian Science.