Terrified, I wait patiently but hear nothing. Silence never sounded so loud. Fear filled thoughts flood my mind. Throughout this pregnancy, the baby barely moved. I lost count early on, but I guess nineteen times I needed extra ultrasounds, extra doctor visits– please, confirm that this baby girl’s heart still beats inside me.
She never moves, and I am so afraid that I have lost her. Minutes earlier, I screamed and the doctor came. He looked horrified, and told me to push. Two times I obeyed and pushed with all my might. Then silence struck. Twelve bodies in the room, yet no one made a sound.
WHY ISN’T SHE CRYING? I NEED TO HEAR HER! WHERE IS SHE? WHY CAN’T I HEAR HER?
What feels like hours suddenly becomes a blur of milliseconds. Instantly, my baby angel girl wails her little lungs out! And it is the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.
The room is clean now, and the doctor comes to visit. My precious suckling baby girl in my arms, I implore, “Doctor, why did you look so upset when you came in before?” “Oh, I was not expecting you to deliver yet. I thought you were going to be my last delivery of the day, but this little girl came sooner than I expected.” Before he urgently instructed me to push, I had misunderstood the look on his face. But there is no misunderstanding a mother’s desperate ache to hear her baby cry for the first time, because this is the sound of a living child. Crying is the first sign of life.
In my prayers, as I cry out to Jesus, I beg Him to use me for His glory. I beg Him to help me live for Him. Live for Him; the words echo in my heart, in my soul, and in the very depths of all that I am. I pray as I drop the children off for the day, after a rough start to what will become an even more difficult day. I pray as I hurry through my classes, speaking quickly in desperation to keep up with the planned agenda for today’s class. I pray as I cling wholeheartedly to His promise that this life is only temporary. I pray for my students to see the glory of God and to be fully consumed by His magnificence. I pray that my weaknesses, my daily struggles, my enormous deficiencies, will not cause my students to focus on anything less than God’s enormous grace.
I pray as I watch helplessly as my little boy, not so little today, writhes in pain and fear of the surgery he is about to endure. I pray as I rock my littlest baby to sleep, as I rest my cheek against his hot, hot, 103 degrees-hot forehead. I pray as I sit with my little girl, the one whose first cry was so desired, who now cries at every little discomfort, the one who cries and begs and pleads not to read and please no more writing, Mommy.
I pray as I watch my little girl, the little artist: her lips curl and her eyes fill with tears because her insanely unique artwork does not look like all the pictures in the picture books–Sweet child, your paintings are infinitely more beautiful than anything you have ever seen in someone else’s books. I pray as she cries, because she will never believe me, because I am only her Mommy.
I pray as I rush child number 4 to the doctor, as child number 2 begs to bake cookies, as child number 3 just needs one more hug please, and as child number 1 feels so much less than number 1 these days.
I pray as I realize my life is not my own. My life belongs to Him. It is His, and I am reminded, as the tears stream down my face in the darkest place at the end of this day: crying is the first sign of life.