Everyone loves a good story. Be honest now, remember the last time you were at a baby shower (yesterday for me) with a bunch of women – many with a birthing story to tell. It is amazing! Anyone who has had a child has a story – some are funny, some painful, some are hard to believe, some can’t remember anything because they were drugged, and some are sadly tragic. Yet each story ends with a birth. My friend Carol, a long time labor and delivery nurse, says that the saddest births are those that end in a still- born delivery. Dear friends of ours lost a baby soon after she was born and I remember what a painful time that was. After nine months of anticipation and planning all the hopes and dreams of sharing that new life die with the death of that baby.
Sharing these stories, good and bad, happy and sad keep alive the memories of these precious little lives however brief. Sharing the stories of those babies who did not live or had very short lives allows future children to acknowledge that their life is a gift – not a given.
Children love to hear stories about their birth and early years. The story gives each child a sense of belonging and family heritage that is important as they form their self image. This is important for adoptive children as well. The fact that they were chosen by the adoptive parents and the story of the effort that those parents made to include them in the family will help those adopted to feel every bit as loved and valued as biological children. The shower yesterday was for an adopted little girl. The testimony that her mother shared is a lovely story of God’s grace and faithfulness in the adoptive family’s life as well as in the life of that precious little girl whose birth mother chose life.
This is a time of the year when many of us celebrate the sanctity of human life. As we do so, we remember that each life is ordained by God and so precious in His sight. The following verses were written by the Psalmist before there were x-rays, ultrasounds, or CAT scans. Yet they acknowledge what we now can see through scientific techonology – what grows inside the womb is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
This is a story we must tell our children and grandchildren. Each of them is made in the image of God and as their lives unfold, the story of their lives has been written in God’s book – planned by the God of the universe.