Expectant Mother's Bible Companion
Audience: The People of Israel
The time you are in labor is just a small portion of the story of your child. In reality, the story begins at conception or earlier depending on how long you had been praying for a child. Although your child is an independently living human after being born, the story of who your child is will not be completed until all the lives touched by your child have ended. Though you will never forget the importance of the birth, you must remember that importance comes from the events that lead up to it, and the events that will happen long after it.
You might think of the Exodus story as the birth of a nation. Just like labor, Exodus only contains a portion of the story, and it isn't even the beginning. The story of the Israelites begins in the book of Genesis, and continues through the New Testament. The book of Exodus explains how the Israelites were freed from slavery and began to form their own nation, but Exodus doesn't even end with the Israelites in the Promised Land; instead it leaves off in the desert. And yet, sometimes we think of Exodus as being the whole story.
There are other similarities between the book of Exodus and labor. A laboring mother can experience the same feelings of being overwhelmed, wanting to give up, frustration, fear, wonder and awe that we see in the characters of Exodus. Like Moses, she will go through times that challenge her and she will feel periods of rest. Like the Israelites, she will need patience as God works out the sequence of labor in his timing, not hers. In the end she must be willing to let go of the world she grew accustomed to and accept the new responsibilities that come with birth.
If Exodus is the birth of a nation, Moses is the doula. He faithfully serves God through the struggles. He encourages the people to stay focused on the promises of God. He willingly steps in where his action is needed, and willingly steps back where God needs to work alone. His genuine love of God, concern for the Israelites and humble nature are an excellent example of the doula spirit.
Chapters 3 - 6
When Moses first met God at the burning bush, God's command to him was to go and bring the people out of Egypt. His directions were simply to go, God didn't get into the details of how. It wasn't until after Moses went to Pharaoh and apparently failed at having him release the Israelites that God began to let Moses in on how the task was going to be accomplished.
Moses was doubtful at first, but he accepted the work ahead of him without having any idea how God was going to accomplish what he promised. Motherhood can leave you feeling the same hopeful faith - knowing what God will do is good, but not being clear on exactly how it will all work out. As you prepare for the next steps of motherhood, are you accepting God's plan or waiting for him to give you the details before you begin to move?
The Israelites had cried out to God to be freed from their Egyptian masters. God heard their cries, saw their need and freed them. Their celebration doesn't last long though, they quickly begin grumbling about life in the desert wishing they could return to slavery in Egypt! Nonetheless, God continued to provide for their needs. The provision may not have come as they expected, but the manna and quail fed them and they were given water.
Today we still have the tendency to wish our circumstances were anything but what they currently are. Before pregnancy we wish we could become pregnant. Then when we become pregnant we just wish it would end. Once the baby is born we wish we could go back to pregnancy when it was easier. A grumbling attitude is just as ungrateful today as it was for the Israelites.
Exodus 14: 13-14
Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you: you need only to be still."
Questions for Reflection:
In what ways are your attitudes the same as those of the Israelites in the book of Exodus?
How does the story of your baby's birth fit into the story of his life so far? How do you expect the story of your baby's birth to fit into the rest of his life?