I was nineteen years old when our first baby was born. It was the Thursday before Easter, and this weekend is the anniversary of that marvelous event. (Happy Birthday, Felicity.)
As you can imagine, I was about as mature as most teenagers at that stage. Much more interested in getting my own way than in looking out for someone else. My desire to be a mother had more to do with baby cuddles than with helping to form another human being who would impact the world for good. (Fortunately, she is doing that anyway.)
Three weeks before my due date, I decided I was done. I’d been in some kind of light labor for a while, and I was tired. Plus, I’d been depressed to the point of despair most of the pregnancy. We didn’t have ultrasounds in those days, so we couldn’t even be sure the baby was ready. But, the doctor finally agreed that my body seemed to be calling the shots.
So many crazy-pants issues in that decision! Why didn’t somebody slap me and tell me to toughen up? Why didn’t my doctor warn me the baby’s lungs might not be ready or that the last month in the womb was vital for growth?
Why didn’t someone tell me to stop being selfish?
Because I wouldn’t have listened, of course. When we are so focused on our own lives, our own comfort, our own desires we are just one more person in the crowd shouting “Crucify Him.” We can’t hear anything else.
So, sweet Felicity was born on that Easter weekend. And, she almost died. For two weeks, she lost weight, didn’t have the strength to eat, and survived thanks to an IV attached to her tiny, blond head. And, it was my fault.
You can say all kinds of nice words to me about how some things just happen. But I know the truth. I own this one. I could have prevented her suffering, and I didn’t. #Motherhoodfail on Day One.
But, that is also the beauty of Easter morning. We all stand before the cross condemned. Yet, we can be forgiven. In His mercy, the Father of Lights intervened and slowly returned Felicity to life. (I credit the prayers of her grandparents and a faithful nurse named Fern.)
And slowly, I began to learn what it means to pick up my own cross and follow Him. To put other’s needs before my own. Motherhood is such a great perfector of our faith. I’m not all the way there yet, but I’m closer every day. And among the rewards for that very tiny, not-even-worth-mentioning, barely-a-memory-now effort is this beautiful woman who grew up to be one of my very best friends.
Happy Birthday, Felicity. Happy Easter, Everyone.