Back in the Dark Ages, you know, like the 1960’s and before (to my middle schoolers’ perspective), childbirth in the typical American hospital was quite sterile and controlled. Not by the mom, you understand, but by the staff. My children were all born in the 80’s, and by then strides had been made toward more home-like experiences, so-called “birthing rooms” and all that. Going back to the old-fashioned was considered quite modern. Typical.
I didn’t have the regular treatment, gratefully, until my second child. Leaving out the gory details, I will describe it for those less fortunate to have never been there. Rather than a nice cozy room with warm soft lighting and a comfortable bed from which I didn’t have to be moved, (like the first go-round), I found myself in complete “transition” being wheeled down a very non-private hallway, placed on a hard surgical table with bright lights overhead, and my wrists secured to said table with leather straps. (What did they think I was going to do, get up and walk away?? I think it probably had more to do with safety for the mother, as well as the staff, not to mention the father who usually becomes Public Enemy #1 at this stage…)
It was, in fact, a bit of an altar encounter. Altars, traditionally, were the places living things went to die, sacrificed (ostensibly) for a greater good. At this writing, we just recently recognized Veterans’ Day, so Omaha Beach comes to mind. And you can ask any mother about the birth process, but only if you are stout of heart.
There are other altars, day to day ones, upon which we must still choose to lay our sacrifices. Here’s one of the biggest surrenders for me: putting the hopes and dreams I have for my children on God’s altar. Sometimes (many times, most times??) these hopes and dreams and even seemingly justified expectations have to die to make way for what God has in mind for them. Here are some others:
- The perfect marriage and family dream
- The high intelligence dream
- The successful career dream
- The making mommy happy dream
- The safety dream
- The living life for God right now dream
Part of the challenge is leaving it there, whether it’s my heart, my children’s future, whatever, it just doesn’t want to stay put! That’s where this prayer from the heart of a psalmist comes in handy:
“Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar.”
I bind my sacrifice to His altar by praise, by thanksgiving, and by declaring His Word over my fear and doubt (and impatience). I bind it to His altar by the prayers of others for my situation. I bind it by not allowing Satan’s whisperings to make me jealous of other’s “Facebook-Perfect” lives, or manipulative attempts at resolution.
In fact, I welcome the Holy Spirit’s restraints that bind my sacrifices to His altar. Because something new and beautiful is about to be birthed!
Ps 118:27 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2)