Sunday, November 24, 2013


When my first child quickened (moved for the first time), I realized that however much I feel connected to my children they are not part of me. They are so alien, in fact, that our mixed blood would kill us both. The intense experience of feeling a body grow just under your skin is as visceral as any I have known, and while those children might breathe through my body they are not part of it. They will enter the world and live in it and I will not stand between them and their maker. In John chapter five, Jesus tells his friends that they are each a branch off of the vine. I don't know if I find it comforting or alarming that the children I gave birth to will enter this world and the next on their own. 

About five weeks ago, our daughter, Gwyneth Elise was born. I was privileged to give birth to her dear body, but she was one of the quiet ones. At 38 weeks of life, she died, prior to her birth, and my life was changed. 

Since that moment, there are many things I have learned and discovered so far, but the one thing I feel brave enough to say today is, our grasp on our children is no more than a winding tendril or a leafy support. We do not own them and they are not part of us. We are appointed as guides and supports, but they are grafted into the divine Vine just as we are. Each of my children are powerful and unique branches who get their spiritual nourishment as I do: from the Christ. Not only can I not fill their souls for them, if I insist on being some sort of heavenly middleman, I will hamper their ability to be rooted in the Vine. 

Do I miss my Gwyneth, yes, but she is not gone. She is as firmly rooted in Christ as the rest of us. In fact, she might be carefully propping up my drooping branch so that I get the light I so desperately need. 

Blessed indeed are those who mourn, for the grace of the Father and the love of the Son and the peace of the Spirit are deep and abundant. 

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