The Child I Was Given To Love

I took a pregnancy test early one morning while my husband was still asleep. Two pink lines appeared. Pregnant. 

There in that quiet hour I knelt beside my bathtub and turned my heart God-ward. The first prayer that came was just this sentence: "God, make this baby to be exactly what you want this baby to be." Other prayers would come later, but this prayer was the first, a prayer of receiving and of giving away. 

I was that very day 4 weeks pregnant (as they count those things), and 4 weeks prior I did not want to be pregnant, I did not want to have a baby, I was happy with my childless future, as I had been for all of my remembered life. But this was now and there were two pink lines and there was a surprisingly persuasive intuition that knew it was true before the urine stick did. There was an embryo inside, cells blossoming like a rapid springtime. "God, make this baby to be exactly what you want this baby to be." I was praying to receive this child, to want it, not to resist it but to accept it.

But it was also a prayer of giving away.
Whoever this child could be---musical, stubborn, fearless, bookish---
Whoever this child might be---colicky, freckled, chubby, tall---
Whoever this child would be---reassuringly average, exceptionally bright, deformed or disabled or miscarried---
that was the child I was given to love.

On nauseating bus rides, in the moments between sleep, in the waiting rooms, at my desk, with my husband: "God, make this baby to be exactly what you want this baby to be." The prayer continued. 

Last week I left the midwife's office dis-couraged. Un-couraged. De-couraged. The baby's heart rate was good, fetal movement was good, my blood pressure was good, but I hadn't gained any weight in two weeks and my belly hadn't grown either. I looked more like 30 weeks pregnant than 34. So the midwife ordered another ultrasound for me and scheduled it for the next available appointment, a week away. They wanted to be sure that the baby was okay, checking the umbilical cord, checking the amniotic fluid, measuring the baby's body. 

So with my ultrasound order in hand and week to wait, I left the office, de-couraged, un-happied. Now 8 months pregnant I had grown attached to the tumbling, kicking, hiccuping babe inside. 

Back on the bus, the primordial prayer returned. "God, make this baby to be exactly what you want this baby to be," even if this child whom you have given to me to love is disabled or a child who doesn't survive. Every good and perfect gift... Blessed be the name of the Lord. 

Looking at my belly, willing it to grow, thinking about the child I can't see. 

I cannot guarantee this child's well-being, in the womb or out of it. I wanted to get to 13 weeks so the risk of miscarriage would be low, then 20 weeks, then just let me get to 37 weeks to be "full-term," as if then (or then or then) I could count on a healthy baby. 

Birth will make the baby more visible, but it won't make the baby more safe. The world is not a safer place to be than the womb!

So in the weary night I cast my cares upon the Lord with the prayer of receiving and of giving away. And I awoke in the dark some hours later with the peace of knowing that God is making this baby to be exactly what he wants this baby to be. Blessed be the name of the Lord.


33 weeks, 5 days.

33 weeks, 5 days.



Asking for Intercessors

How am I to pray your care
over him for whom you care so fully?

--whom I love brutely, dully, as
an imbecile loves a door, as
a sea gull loves the bather's
unattended bread.

What do I mean by this love
anyway? I mean my attachment
to my own attachment. I mean
incomprehensible wish. I wish
I meant his good, but I wish
only my own good, which he is,
for myself.

How am I to pray
your care over him
for whom you care so fully?

Asking for intercessors, you set me
in this riddle, so I repeat it back to you
and concede Amen.


I have Him // Or He has me // Or both // Or neither

"I entreat you therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice to God, holy and pleasing-- this is your spiritual act of worship." >> Paul, Romans 12:1  

"There, in the quiet of that late hour, I said to the Holy Spirit, 'My Lord, I have mistreated You all my Christian life. I have treated You like a servant. When I wanted You I called for You; when I was about to engage in some work I beckoned You to come and help me perform my task. I have kept You in the place of a servant. I have sought to use You only as a willing servant to help me in my self-appointed and chosen work. I shall do so no more. Just now I give You this body of mine; from my head to my feet, I give it to You. I give You my hands, my lips, my eyes and lips, my brain; all that I am within and without, I hand over to You for You to live in it the life that You please. You may send this body to Africa, or lay it on a bed with cancer. You may blind the eyes, or send me with Your message to Tibet. You may take this body to the Eskimos, or send it to a hospital with pneumonia. It is your body from this moment on. Help yourself to it. Thank You, my Lord, I believe You have accepted it, for in Romans twelve and one You said "acceptable unto God." Thank You again, my Lord, for taking me. We now belong to each other.'" >>Walter L. Wilson, 1914  


(Am I willing to pray that prayer? 
Are you?)

Oh God, make me willing.
Or: Oh God, make me willing to be willing. 
Or just: Oh God, make me.  


"Can I have You, Holy Spirit? 
Will you come into my heart? 
I'd like to have the whole of You 
instead of merely parts."  

And then I heard the voice of God, 
the great Jehovah, say:  

"Can I have you, my dear daughter? 
Will you let me have your heart? 
I'd like to have the whole of You 
instead of merely parts."