When I first saw her, I was smitten. Completely.
She was, even as an infant, Lord Byron’s mysterious heroine:
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meets in her aspect and her eyes;
And I shook my head (still do) at the funny fact that this Norwegian actually gave birth to something as dark-eyed and brown as she. I have four, kids (half Filipino) often complimented for their good looks. And then the following comment follows: They don’t look anything like you! Do people ask if they’re adopted?
Thank you, I know there is no resemblance and Yes, I’m asked that often.
But I’m okay with it.
I think every mother drinks in the miracle beauty of her children. We don the love goggles before we cradle their new, warm bodies in trembling arms.
To us, they were beauties in the silent stages of the womb. Hands on bellies, we marveled at their development, prayed, asked for protection for this life that was our responsibility, yet wasn’t.
Pregnancy is a curious love affair. A mother is the life-bearer but not the life-giver. We learn the tandem rhythm in those forty weeks. The wilderness womb is the clutch of humanity, the cradle of life. And in it’s mystery and miracle lay beauty tremendous in all it’s frightening, fascinating and fulfilling aspects.
When our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, my soul was ripped and angry and confused. As I mourned a life I never knew, I came to terms with the tenuous vapor of life and began to understand the intense love God has for his children: He loves because of the immediate miracle of life and because of the redeemed possibilities.
My children are most beautiful when they are repentant, when redemption flutters in the wings of their spirits, after we battle through difficult seasons and attitudes, stiff necked and anger-fired, and come to a place of repentance and reconciliation. The moment is so perfect, so good, that the freshly polished character in them glows into golden splashes of hope. And I am transported to those tremulous moments when the baby kicked or rolled a fist against the inside of me and all I saw was hope – and it was beautiful.
He has birthed us through the ages, swelling with life, He gives and gives and gives. Just as a mom loves the last child as much as the first, our Creator, Life-Giving God loves the millions upon millions of His unique, beautiful, precious, valuable children. And because He is God, He gets to be present, in spirit, with every cluster of cells, sparking hearts into beating if that’s in the plan.
He’s there and sees each soul-beauty, spiritual beauty, and cellular beauty; and, in the rush of the rhythm of a new heartbeat and the tide of the amniotic sea He says,
“This is good. This is life. I love this one especially a lot.”
And we learn, by his love that each is beautiful. Each child born, each woman gray, each old man bent, each and every awkward or neglected or cherished soul. I learned this again one sunshine drenched Sunday near Dilla, Ethiopia when a woman approached me after church with hugs and a prayer. Her name is Doncha, which means “beautiful”. Yes, she is.