Recently, I had the privilege of attending a baby shower, celebrating the imminent arrival of a precious baby girl. It was a typical baby shower, with all the appropriate games, goodies, and festivities. Except, this shower was for a mama almost nobody knew, at a church she’d only been attending for three months, to celebrate her fourth child!
Having grown up in church, I know the drill…first babies (or the first baby born at the church, usually) get celebrated. But if you host a baby shower for every baby that a woman has, well, that can lead to problems. Some women can have several (disclaimer…I have eight living bio children, and have been pregnant thirteen times). And, well, we might miss someone! How terrible would that be? And it just wouldn’t be fair. So, to keep things even, and easy, we’ll just celebrate the first baby. Or maybe we won’t celebrate babies at all…just send a card and have a flower up on the piano.
Yes, I understand the reasoning behind the decision not to host a baby shower for a mama who has been blessed with multiple babies. And I understand the motivation not to leave anyone out. But I think along the way, we’ve lost sight of some very important details. First, babies are a blessing. They should be celebrated!! And where else should babies be celebrated, but in the Church?
Back to that baby shower I attended. It was truly beautiful. These women (at least twenty of them) really didn’t know the mama. They simply knew she was going to have a baby, and that she needed help. They didn’t ask why she needed help. They didn’t judge the reason behind her pregnancy, even though she is not married, and has children with two different men. They simply didn’t judge. They loved. And they loved well. One person gave a gift card for $150! Many provided diapers and wipes and other very practical gifts. Some brought handmade treasures – a gift that requires far more than just money. And, of course, she received LOTS of clothes – in a variety of sizes. A bouncy seat, an expensive car seat-stroller combination, even a swing, will be keeping this baby girl comfortable after her arrival. And all of this from women who knew little other than a young mother was in need of love.
Well, let me tell you, she feels loved! She cried. And through her tears, she explained that she’d never experienced anything like that before, in her life. Her journey has been a difficult one.
This precious woman’s story would bring tears to your eyes, truly. It is not the story any mama wants for her little girl. But this story is a picture of God’s love!! Like that precious group of women at the shower the other night (most of whom I don’t know – we’ve only been at the church for three months), God takes broken, wretched, hurting people, and He showers them with love. He doesn’t limit who He’ll love. He doesn’t care about boundaries (though they are desperately needed) or consequences (though He lets us deal with them, most of the time) or stupidity (though, again, He lets us deal with the consequences). He cares. He meets us in our deepest, darkest hurt, and He loves us. And as He loves us, He heals, corrects, restores, and transforms. That is a rare beauty, indeed.