“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NIV)
I’m writing this as I’m getting ready for my OB rotation. It’ll be my first day on the mother-baby unit. And while I’m looking so forward to all the newborns…the moms kind-of freak me out. Labor and delivery is a distinctly female experience, so it’s interesting to try to reconcile a God whom we call He with the idea that we are all made in his image, with his attributes—both men and women.
I find myself looking at the birthing process trying to find God the Father in the birthing mother. Does that make sense? I guess I want to see whether a God that we call “Father” can have attributes in a process so female. It then dawned on me that our redemption story is not unlike labor and delivery as a whole. In fact, after being birthed into new life, are we not then delivered?
Labor is a painful time, yet it’s anticipatory for something new. It’s kind-of like that with God, when he is making us new and ready for something new in our lives, which can be painful. God called us to him before some of us were even aware of his call, and the bond between mother and child happens even before birth. He knew us by name before we were even born, just as some parents pick names when their babies were just a thought. And then when we fully accept salvation and are born into this new life, we are his sons and daughters, whose bond is growing even stronger—just like a baby at birth who is placed skin-to-skin with his mother. We closer than that to God, for the Holy Spirit lives within us. Actually, I wonder even if we then become closer to God than our own parents?
On the flip side, I know that not every birth story is a happy one and that not everyone gets to experience this process. But like a mother, God comforts: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15) I guess this verse answers my question. God really is all-encompassing and can’t be fully labeled by us. So as I apprehensively prepare to be at the birth center, I say a prayer for my time that God’s presence may rest there as we help bring new life made in His image into the world.
Miel can be reached by email here.