My life for yours…
“I see my body as an instrument rather than an ornament.” Alanis Morissette
No, quoting Alanis Morissette doesn’t mean I’m encouraging you to make her your new role model (although, I admit, there was time in my life where she was my favorite musician :-p) but I was impressed by this quote, a rare and wise reflection from a pop celebrity, referring to her pregnancy.
Motherhood intrigues me on many levels. But I especially love that it is one of the most tangible ways a woman can “present her body a living sacrifice”.
And it’s this reason I’m baffled by the repulsion many Christian women feel toward pregnancy, childbirth and even motherhood.
“Our bodies are tools, not treasures. You should not spend your days trying to preserve your body in its eighteen-year-old form. Let it be used. By the time you die, you want to have a very dinged and dinted body. Motherhood uses your body in the way that God designed it to be used. Those are the right kind of damages…We are not to treat our bodies like museum pieces. They were not given to us to preserve, they were given to us to use. So use it cheerfully, and maintain it cheerfully. You want to fix your body up in order to be able to use it some more. We should not be trying to fix it up to put it back on the shelf out of harm’s way or to try to make ourselves look like nothing every happened. Your body is a tool. Use it.” -Rachel Jankovic, Loving the Little Years
These last days of my pregnancy are hard. My heart rate, as it soars to supply enough of my blood to the baby, limits my activity. My back feels the strain of the 35 + pounds tugging in the opposite direction. I can’t walk right. I sleep less. It’s difficult to turn over in bed. I’m plagued by excruciating round ligament pains that put me on the floor at times.
“So why do it when you don’t have to?” I’ve been asked before. Because to me this “suffering” is so insignificant in light of the privilege of being able to give some of me for another. Another life. Another person. Another soul.
“Therefore we do not lose heart…. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:16
And it is my prayer that every mother reading would have her heart encouraged by this reality.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
“I’m not doing that again. I’ve got my body back and I’m keeping it”, said the lady at the yard sale getting rid of all her baby stuff.
But is it really ours to “keep”? I mean, should that be the basis of our view of bringing life into the world? Our view of this body given to us for Kingdom work? The same principle applies to any Kingdom work. It’s looking at ourselves–who we are, what we do, how we spend our time–and seeing the instrument that we are to be in the hand of God, however He uses us.
This body is not OURS. We are not our own. Our lives are His and if that comes with suffering, sacrifice or hardship–it’s all irrelevant. And it isn’t limited to a bodily offering…our time, energy, ambitions–it’s all His.
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not implying that only motherhood provides the opportunity to be a living sacrifice. I’m simply writing to mothers, as a mother, in this season, about one aspect of our immense privilege. See it for what it is. Praise God that He has given you this opportunity–“My life for yours”.
“One of the greatest testimonies Christian women can have in our world today is the testimony of joyfully giving your body [life] to another….My very kind and wise husband once left a note for me on Easter morning after the birth of one of our children: ‘To my wife, before she even goes near the closet on Easter morning…’ he encouraged me to realize that there was no more fitting way to celebrate Easter than in a body that has been undone on behalf of another.” -Rachel Jankovic
“Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.”
— Mother Teresa