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I am back from PLI. What a wonderful week it was, filled with learning and emotions and a great deal of growth. Basically, I am now exhausted. Despite the hotel bed being much less comfortable than my bed at home, I still fell asleep almost instantly each night. But last night, at home again, I slept soooo well! So let’s get to it and get back into our joy-filled scripture, with Luke 1:57-58.

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

This is one of those instances where it is evident that God spoke through men and not woman to write the words of Scripture. I am not objecting in the least to that fact, mind you. But if a woman was the one penning the words, I don’t think we’d get such a short version of the birth of John the Baptist. There would be descriptions of the labor, of how Elizabeth’s frail body was gripped with God’s strength to endure a physical act that is difficult for young women. Nope, all we get is “the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.” Short, sweet, to the point. Just like a doctor would share it! But let’s set that aside, and look at what happened next.

Her neighbors and her family came together to celebrate with her. That’s the key here, that when Elizabeth was finally granted this blessing, her joy was shared by those around her. I think that’s a verse that is easy for us to gloss over. Of course they rejoiced with her. Why wouldn’t they? Everyone is happy when a baby is born, right? 

The truth is, there are a lot of us who struggle with being happy for other mothers. I doubt Elizabeth was the only one of her relatives who had felt the pains of infertility. Certainly there were neighbors who had experienced the death of a child, a misery much more common then than today (praise the Lord!). Yet they came together and rejoiced with her just the same.

I’m learning how to do that myself. Many of those near and dear to my heart have either recently had babies or are going to in the next several months. It’s been a hard, internal struggle for me – not to be happy for them, but for that joy to outweigh my own sorrow. And this spring, God gave me two incredible reasons for joy.

You see, on Samantha’s birthday, a new friend of mine gave birth to a son. She and  I met this summer and have been growing closer ever since, and this little boy became the first infant I held since Samantha died. I knew God was working in the details to show me grace and mercy as he blessed their family, and I rejoiced with them. 

And then, oh my Savior, You did it again. On Jonah’s birthday, ten years to the day after he was stillborn (and in the same hospital!) a dear friend of mine (who was there for me when that event occurred) gave birth to a daughter. And I am able to rejoice with her.

These two babies have brought me hope and a glimpse of the heart of God towards me and all mothers, and have shown me how to pray for mothers and babies again. I couldn’t do it for so long. But God has opened my heart and I know that these two little ones will be in my prayers as long as I live.