I have a pretty traumatic birth story, not about me coming into this world, but my daughter. It still couldn't compare to Mary's.
I was 20 years old, and it was 4:30am. I was in massive pain and I knew this was it. The father of my baby was still drunk from the night before after I had begged him not to drink an ounce because I knew I was in labor the morning of that day before, right when I woke up. I could not get my baby's dad out of bed, I had to splash cold water on his face, and when he came to, he was angry. I just kept thinking to myself, "What kind of mess have I gotten myself into?"
My mom was out of town, my best friend was no where to be found, and my sister was telling me it probably isn't time. But I had to go. I had to move. You know that feeling if you've been in labor.
Suitcase or not suitcase, I was on the move. Taking care of not only me and my child, but a drunk twenty something guy.
I had to be the driver. Yep. I drove myself to the hospital in labor.
As I pulled out of the parking lot to our sketchy apartment building, I felt and heard someone pound on my car. I slammed on my breaks, and got out of the car, and someone yelled, "What do you think you are doing, you almost hit me_____!"
Then my baby's dad runs over to the guy and starts pouncing on him and they proceed to get in a brawl, while me and the guys girlfriend were screaming stop, "I'm in labor!" "She's in labor can't you see, stop!"
as I am literally bent over in the worst possible pain of my life.
We drove away with my baby's dad having a black eye, and scratches all over his face.
Down the interstate I go 80-90 while the contractions let up.
I drop it to about 25-30mph while the contractions come on.
It was a 40 minute drive, that took me an hour and a half.
When we arrive at the hospital, (not my perfectly picked out "birth place"),
they tend to my baby's dad's messed up face!
I stood there seriously like, "This has got to be a joke, no way is this my life."
I finally made it to my room and my baby's dad passed out for the remainder of my birth experience, which was a blessing that I see now. My mom arrived with 20 minutes of me giving birth thank goodness,
my dad was there talking about how cold it was outside, (January 15),
and my sister was by my side.
And with all this mess my story could never compare to Mary's experience while in labor. My story can't even touch her experience. I had an easy labor experience compared to Mary. I can't imagine being on a donkey, about to deliver, being in pain, fatigued, beyond frustrated, hot, sticky, and climbing all those hills and how exhausted she must have been for hours and hours. Not the most perfect of circumstances.
Think of how frustrated we get when one of our plans is thwarted; we didn't get pregnant when we wanted, we didn't have more than one child, we didn't get the hospital we wanted, or the doctor we wanted and on and on. Think of all the several stops they made and she still wasn't able to get off that donkey!
A stable, which was the only place for them to land finally, is said to be a cave type place; mountainous, really rocky. A manger, pictured above is a trough or an open box in which feed for livestock is placed. Well, the king of kings was placed in that!
It's told that it was really a cold night the night He was born. But I've learned differently. I've learned that the month probably wasn't even December, and I've learned that it was probably actually really hot. Again, how uncomfortable and miserable.
Everyone tends to think of Jesus coming into the world like they do Christians-
all neat, and perfectly put together, pretty, serene, picture perfect, squeaky clean.
I can tell you for a fact that is not how Jesus came into the world and I can tell you for fact that is not how Christians are. In fact if more Christians embraced their brokenness, and their messy, dirty lives, maybe more people would believe in Jesus? Following Jesus isn't about following rules to make us perfect and without flaw. It's so much more than that as we all know. It's about seeking God in every moment and having intimacy with Him through and through by prayer, worship, community, service, reading, writing, song.
We will never be without flaw, but if we are seeking closeness with our Savior, we have all we need or could want. I have found my needs become my wants over the years.
Because HE defines love. His birth and death define love.
I think Mary's birth story can remind us of humility. She was giving birth to God! A king of all things! What I love and have come to adore about her birth story is that it screams radical, it defies "normal", it goes against what's expected, and it revolts against pride and control. God was showing us that He's a humble God, and we need to be a humble people. Not so in control of what we want for our lives. We spend so much time trying to construct our lives, and then things go completely wrong or opposite of what we hoped for, and then we don't know what to do.
Mary's birth story is so important to us and the world because it's a beautiful example of lowliness. It's a remarkable story on meekness. It's an unbelievable story of surrender and suffering. It's the perfect example of how we ought to move forward in our lives. The same way Mary did. Trusting her Father, surrendering to what she wanted, and trusting the whole way. Even if we aren't warm, or comfortable, or polished. Even if we are desolate and tired, or dirty or at our wits end with no where to land. Because you and I, like Mary, will be safe and sound in the workings of the Father.
Our stories will be beautiful, no matter how they might appear on the outside. They will be significant stories of faith like Mary's. They will have taught us how to endure suffering. They will teach us to remain servants, and chisel away our flesh. These are the most upside down stories that the world will look at and think, "Wow, what an ugly situation, but what beauty has come out of it for them." These are shocking stories, so we can be a witness and give glory to the worthiest of worthies! It is my story, it is your story.