“I am not the creator and sustainer of life.” These words on the page of my Loved Baby Devotional stopped me. I repeat them to myself. I am not the creator and sustainer of life. I don’t know if they make me feel better or worse. This wasn’t my fault, but how I wish I was in control.
I knew I was not the one who breathed life and spirit into Ginny. That was a mysterious, amazing process that comes from God, and I have little insight. I did however assemble the cells… at least my body, my hormones, my genes assembled the cells. And I decided when. I stopped taking birth control pills and tracked my cycle.
I certainly believed I sustained her life. I never missed a day of prenatal vitamins. I followed the rules… no alcohol, no sushi, no deli meats, no ibuprofen. I exercised but only the approved first, second, and third trimester workouts. I slept on my left side. I skipped the roller coasters. I measured my water intake. I was by-the-book, and I wasn’t afraid. I had it under control.
Now I consider those rules a joke. I followed all the rules, and my baby died. Meanwhile a woman on heroin gives birth to a living baby. Those rules are just to make us feel better. They are there to convince us we have some semblance of control. Maybe they aren’t a joke, but they are at least a society-wide superstition.
I know, I know. There are reasons for these rules. You have a slightly increased chance of getting listeria from deli meats and fetal alcohol syndrome is a real thing. But the chances are still small, and following all the rules doesn’t eliminate your chances. There is always a risk. We want to have more control than that. We give the rules more power than they have. It sure feels like superstition.I read a frantic post on a pregnancy message board. A woman had such intense guilt about eating an Italian sub sandwich. She was convinced her baby was in trouble. She asked the board whether she should make herself sick to rid herself of the poisonous ham! I was never that extreme, but I did have a sense of security in following those rules.
Sometimes babies die in the womb when we follow all the rules. Sometimes infants die in their perfectly empty, breathable crib with the monitor on. Most of the time we don’t know why. As advanced as medical science is today, we don’t know. I don’t blame the doctors as many do. They were also by-the-book. They followed protocol that works 99% of the time.
Maybe one day we will be smart enough to know why. I mean, a few hundred years ago we didn’t even know germs cause us to get sick. Maybe there is a hidden “germ” out there causing our babies to die. Maybe we will find it one day….Maybe not. I’m sure even if we did, there would be something else.
Nature is like that. It’s random. The mysterious randomness is beautiful and has allowed for incredible diversity of life. It is beautiful, but it is cruel.
At least it feels cruel. It feels cruel to take my perfectly timed, organized plans and throw a wrench in them. It feels cruel to take a baby from a mother’s womb. But I am not the creator or sustainer of life. What do I know?
I don’t see the whole timeline of eternity. I don’t see the rippling impacts of life, no matter the length. I don’t see people’s hearts. I don’t see the tapestry of the world. I don’t know what is best. But someone does. The creator and sustainer of life does.
This experience has taught me to drop my superstitions, drop my semblance of control, drop my plans, and trust in Him. His plans are bigger. He sees eternity. He knows what is best for us. He wants what is best for us. He wants the best for us because He loves us. I believe that, not only because His Word says so, but also because I feel it in my heart and gut. He is the creator and sustainer of life. I give Him my life. I give Him Ginny’s life. He had it all along anyway.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33