The time was 10:00 PM on the night of July 9, 2011 and after 34 hours of labor, I was finally ready to push my first child into the world. The many hours leading up to this moment had become a congealed memory of pain mixed with excitement, pacing, scripture reading, singing, praying, worship and more pain!
The end of my travail was near and I was placed in a snug bed at the Family Health and Birth Center in Northeast Washington DC. I was surrounded by a relentless team of supporters, most of whom had endured the many previous hours with me. As I laid pushing for what would be two additional hours, each person found a role that made their presence in the room nothing but a Godsend.
My two mothers – my mother-in-law, Ghislaine and god-mom, Phyllis – paced the floor in prayer. My sister Jessica held a camera and offered a steady “you can do it Sis!” My husband Eric lovingly encouraged his wife even while battling the occasional faint spell. And my sister Cassandra stood firm as the clearest voice in my ear. Her constant and fervent “PUSH Nana!” was the theme music to my hours of pushing and my daughter was born at the stroke of midnight to the sound of her cheering.
Each person in that room that day was and is a gift to me from the Lord. For none of them – with the exception of my mother-in-law and husband – are family members. We are instead linked by our mutual salvation through Christ. Phyllis, Jessica and Cassandra have loved me in a way that clearly demonstrates the many “love one another” imperatives of Scripture (John 13:35; Romans 12:10; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 4:11). They have shown themselves family by a superior blood.
This Mother’s Day, as I reflect on the joyous birth of my first daughter, my focus is turned to two other mothers in Scripture. Mary and Elizabeth were certainly two women linked by the gospel! Both were chosen to play crucial roles in the story of God’s redemption and it’s fascinating to see how the Lord joins them together in support of each other and in praise of His goodness and faithfulness!
Luke chapter 1 states that in the fullness of time, Gabriel, an angel who stands in the presence of God, was sent to the priest Zechariah to announce the coming of a son. In their old age, Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth would give birth to John, a forerunner to the Lord Jesus. John was to prepare the way for the Lord, “teaching the people the knowledge of salvation in the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:76-77).
Within six months, Gabriel was sent to the small town of Nazareth in the city of Galilee to Mary, a virgin girl engaged to be married. The promised Seed (Genesis 3:15) would be carried in the womb of this poor young woman from Nazareth. The Holy Spirit would overshadow Mary and the incarnate God-Man Jesus would be born to her as a son. In an amazing display of humility and trust in God, Mary quickly submits to the impressive task of giving birth to the Lamb of God (John 1:29) who would take away the sin of the world, including her own!
Gabriel informs Mary of Elizabeth’s pregnancy and in Luke 1:39, we see Mary rushing toward the hill country of Judah to the home of Elizabeth, her relative. We find them standing together in Luke 1:40 – an aged woman, heretofore barren and a young unmarried virgin girl. Two women, neither of whom should have been pregnant, stood together, wombs packed and jumping with life – the testimony of God’s faithfulness, sovereignty and power! Salvation belongs to the Lord! And knowing this, Mary and Elizabeth worship together, marveling at God’s goodness in fulfilling the promise made to their fathers long ago. He is faithful and His mercies endure forever, great is His name!
I am grateful today for Phyllis, Jessica and Cassandra who joined with me in worship at the birth of my first daughter. They did the same on October 17, 2013 at the birth of my second daughter. I believe that God joins us together as gifts for one another and also for the display if His own glory and praise. To these three faithful sisters, on this Mother’s Day, I say thank you and God bless you for loving me.
Click here to read my husband Eric's version of our baby story - pictures included!