Stretch Marks and Other Things

“Under arm flab be gone in the name of Jesus,” I jokingly muttered as I checked myself out in the dressing room mirror. I had searched this small downtown store from top to bottom for clothes that seemed remotely flattering on me and ended up with three (go figure) to try on. Sighing I peeled the shirt off to try on the next. I startled by the sudden inhalation of my five year old, who upon begging to sit in the corner (moms you know), had exchanged his chattering, for wide, disbelieving eyes.

“Mom, Oh mom!” his little voice exclaimed, filled with the concerned tones of beautiful innocence. “Who cut your sides? What happened, who did that to you?!”Looking down I saw where tiny, now faded stretch marks grace my sides. Some slightly  pink, some deep, some faded, but so much apart of me now that I didn’t give them a second thought.

“They are from you, baby,” I said. No sooner did the words leave my mouth did he voice his question a second time, full of denial. His face so stricken.

“Mom, it’s cuts. They must hurt bad. What happened?! Why did it happen?!”

My answer remained the same, tagging on the explanation that he had to live somewhere before he was ready to face the world. “Good luck with that!” I heard my mom chuckle from the other side of the small boutique, amidst the understanding snickers of a few other ladies close enough to hear our exchange.

Later that day I began to prepare myself for worship service when Jesus dropped a bomb on my spirit. Faith, your scars were not from Anthony, they were for him. As mine are for you. As simple as the conclusion seemed to be, I was floored and flooded with a since of gratitude. The portion of me that loves, nurtures, and cares for my child allowed a deeper understanding to another facet of our amazingly, beyond definable God.

My mind zoomed to a passage of scripture many of us are familiar with,

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”  John 20:27-28

My suffering, though Anthony doesn’t understand the implications of labor and delivery, was not apparent to him until he was faced with the marks of his 9 month stay. Until his tiny fingers traced the river like marks decorating my sides, indicators of great pain I endured, we as mothers endure. A price made oh so sweet in it’s completion, the fruit of it’s results far reaching and life altering in the most wonderful way imaginable.

It brings tears to my eyes. Oh how painful and sweet the birth of salvation must have been to God. I want to point out to you, I don’t hate my child for the pain of his birth, I do not begrudge him the sacrifice his conception heralded. I love him dearly and I admire his beauty, innocence, growth, and learning. Every facet of his life matters to me and I bask in every new opportunity I am blessed to facilitate for him. My focus is not on the pain, but the intense joy his flourishing brings to mine.

Sweet friend, His hands, His feet, and His sides are proof that He feels the same way about you. His pain was not from you, but rather for you and he has never regretted saving you, not one minute.