The 18-hour labour was hands-down my favourite part of my pregnancy. Alex & I enjoyed every second of it and it was the most fun part of being pregnant, second only to the moment we got to meet baby for the first time.
It was the 17th hour. Strong contractions were coming regularly at short intervals and the midwife told me it would be time to start pushing soon. Baby still had not descended/engaged so I had some extra pushing to do. They left me in the delivery room to rest for a bit and I drifted in and out of sleep, a thick blanket of peace wrapped around me as I sank into its cozy warmth.
What happened next, I can’t tell whether it was a trance, open vision, or a physical visitation. All I know is that I saw & heard it as clear as if you and I were speaking face-to-face.
I saw heaven open in a portal above me and a bright light filled the room. Suddenly my eyes were opened and I saw numerous angels in my delivery room. Some carried trays of what looked like medical instruments. Some were checking the monitors I was hooked up to. A couple of them were taking care of Alex who was asleep in the chair by my bed (17 hours in a hospital chair with almost no sleep!). Others tended to my hydration drip and bustled around the room taking care of this and that.
Jesus stood at the foot of my bed, smiling. His smile was warm, so full of love & joy that I believed He was happier about what was to come than I was. His brown eyes were clear and held no trace of worry and I knew that the delivery would be good and all would be well.
I could not see Holy Spirit but I felt Him. He was an invisible force swooping through the room. I got the distinct impression that the angels were directed to their tasks by Holy Spirit, the Master Arranger taking care of everything and making sure things were in order for the moment of delivery.
The room glowed with energy from these heavenly beings and was filled with peace and a quietness & restedness that belied such a large group bustling within a small space. I saw all these in that split second it took for heaven to open, and it was a lot of activity.
But in all this, the focal point was Papa. He sat in a chair by my bed and all angelic activity faded into the periphery as every fibre of my being gravitated toward Him. It was as if every cell in my body turned toward Him and my spirit waited, waited, waited for the words that He would speak.
He took my hand in His and began to speak of many wonderful, mysterious things and about the days to come for the world. God truly is Lord of the universe and this world. He is light, He is life, and no darkness can reach high enough to unsettle Him. I felt like I was watching the galaxy unfold before me and the seeds of what He told me were buried deep in my heart.
He spoke for about 30 minutes and then He smiled at me. He told me that it would soon be time to start pushing and although the delivery looked daunting and the doctor was worried (I was days overdue, baby’s head measured large in the scan and still hadn’t descended/engaged after 17 hours. The doctor, concerned for me, had recommended a c-section but the prophets in our lives unanimously sensed that natural birth was best. They’d turn out to be right.), the Trinity and angels had already prepared the way for a short, easy, delivery.
Drowsily I asked Him, “If it’s about time for baby to come out, why are you still sitting here holding my hand? Shouldn’t you be at the foot of the bed to deliver the baby?”
I’m thankful that God has much patience and grace for us! Our silliness, well-intentioned as they are, amuse Him much as we are amused by the innocent things little children say.
Laughing, He told me something that went straight to my heart and which I will never forget, “You don’t need another doctor. We have prepared everything, including you, for the moment of delivery. It’s as good as done. You don’t need a doctor, you need a Father for what’s to come.”
He told me that in postpartum recovery and the next leg of my journey – learning to mother our baby – I would need Him as my Father more than ever before. I took His word although I couldn’t fully envision why I needed Him as Father particularly out of all His many attributes, but I felt a deep assurance that He knew what He was talking about.
How much God loves us, that He would be with us in every moment & season of our lives. That the King of the universe would bend Himself to fit into our world and pick pieces of Himself to meet us at each need. A humble King we could learn so much from.
Shortly after this conversation, the midwife came in and told me it was time to start pushing. True to Papa’s word, the pushing was easy and fun! After a few pushes, I was told to stop pushing or baby would arrive before the doctor did.
The next few weeks blended together in a blur of oxytocin, postpartum recovery, and taking care of this precious little life. Every so often I would wonder about “needing a Father” and what He meant by it, but I didn’t fully understand and there were immediate things crying for my attention so I left my questions open for Him to show me in His time.
A Recovering Perfectionist
A confession first: I’m a recovering perfectionist.
I tend to approach projects, relationships, and my to-do lists in the same way – super intense, focused, and extremely particular about every nitty gritty. Because of this, I also burn fast and then burn out.
I’ve since come to discover that it’s quite impossible to remain a perfectionist and not completely come unhinged in parenthood. There are a million little (and big!) mistakes we will make as human parents that could keep us up at night worrying & ruminating guilt till our hearts crack under the weight of all that self-criticism.
Some nights I find myself listing all the things I’ve done wrong or not done enough for Zion, and I feel the panic and depression looming, waiting to come in.
I am thoroughly imperfect and I realise more and more just how much I can’t do this without Papa. I need His wisdom and counsel, His forgiveness and peace.
I need His help to do motherhood well, and I need His help to get through the times I don’t do it well.
I am a mother who needs the Father.
His Audible Voice
Very few times in my life have I heard God’s audible voice, and those times have only happened during intense seasons of prayer & fasting.
In the past 7 months of learning to be a mother, God has spoken to me in an audible voice on a number of occasions teaching me what to do with Zion on-the-go. It has shown me how highly God considers children. Their welfare is of utmost importance to Him and He will give their caretakers/ministers all the heavenly assistance needed for the good of these little ones. After all, Jesus said in Matthew 18:10, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
He has been a Father to me as I learn to be a mother, and these moments have become important life lessons that apply beyond motherhood.
Lesson 1: He‘s The Perfect Protector
Zion was a couple months old when I first heard Papa’s audible voice. I had just finished feeding & cleaning her up and tucked her into the middle of our big bed while I left the room to put her bottle away. I was a couple of steps out of the room when I heard a voice saying calmly but insistently and loudly, ”Turn back, now!”
Before my mind had time to process that information, my body responded immediately to that command and I turned on my heels back into the room where what I saw made my heart jump into my throat.
Zion was peering over the edge of the bed, her head & shoulders hanging clear off the bed while her legs kicked in excitement over this whole new vantage point of our floor. For a 1-2 month-old baby who hadn’t yet learned to master her hand & leg movements, those kicking legs could’ve propelled her tumbling over the side of the bed head-first. How she got there in the mere seconds I’d left the room I will never know, but I do know it looked like angels were holding her up while Papa called me to her.
My heart pounded wildly as I pulled Zion from the edge of the bed and waves of mom-guilt washed over me as I hugged her tight. I was shaken but thankful for Papa and His angels. Zion, on the other hand, was totally unfazed and had in fact been having lots of fun.
This experience served to underscore the truth that God is her protector. I needed to know that Papa was the perfect Father and protector so that motherhood would be a joy and delight, a partnership with God, instead of a stressful fear-filled burden.
As a mother, and in all aspects of life really, I need the Father.
I love Zion so much and would take all of her pain on myself if I could. I know that brokenness is part of the journey of walking with God, yet it hurts me to think about the times she will be in pain and I wont be able/allowed to rescue her from it. There will be wilderness she has to traverse that I cannot enter. In those times, all I may be allowed to do is watch and pray and wait for her with arms wide open at the finish line. I have to trust God, and her – that He is more than sufficient for her, and that she is mighty to overcome all things through Him.
Then I thought about Papa. How it must have hurt Him to see His beloved Son beaten, tortured, rejected, hung to die – and to hold Himself back from intervening. How He must have longed to run to Jesus and hold Him tightly in His arms, protect Him from the bad guys and rescue Him from all the pain. The cross hurt Papa as much as it did Jesus.
How the Trinity love us! That they would endure all this pain and never hold it over our heads, “I’ve done and suffered so much for you. You owe me.” What they’ve done for us goes unnoticed and unremembered most of the time and yet they keep their hearts soft and their arms open, waiting for the little moments that one of their little beloveds’ hearts turn toward them.
The way Papa loves Jesus is how He loves us. We know that because Jesus came to show us Papa’s love. I think we sometimes believe when He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” that He meant that we would never have difficulty or pain in our lives. We spend so much time and energy avoiding pain. But He is the perfect protector and we can trust Him. God does not always rescue us from our pain – sometimes there is a purpose for it, for our good – but He climbs into our present reality and walks with us, strengthening, loving and helping us in our trials.
Lesson 2: Tuning Into Our God-Given Intuition & Instincts
Our paediatrician gave us the green light to start introducing Zion to solids when she was 4-months-old. I’ve always enjoyed our peaceful morning breakfasts together, watching her love for food and her appetite for discovering new tastes & textures.
One of those mornings I was about to bring a spoonful of purée to her mouth when Papa spoke in my right ear, “Don’t put the spoon into her mouth. Bring it near and wait for her to move toward it.”
It seemed a pretty mundane matter for Papa to speak audibly about, but over the next few weeks He began to teach me (not in an audible voice but speaking to my heart) why it was so important to Him.
“Zion was created in My image. She first existed in heaven as spirit because I am Spirit. I planted her spirit into physical form in your womb.
All human beings were created to be chiefly spirit beings but over time on this earth they’ve forgotten how to listen to that divine intuition within them. The noise and earthly conditioning has drowned out the native instincts that I coded into their spirits before they took on human form.
When I told you not to put the spoon into Zion’s mouth but wait for her to move toward it, I was showing you how to nurture and help Zion stay connected to her divine intuition & instincts.
Instead of having someone tell her when she’s hungry (by putting food in her mouth) or when she’s full (by stopping the flow of food), thus conditioning her to ignore her instincts, I want you to help her stay connected to and TRUST the divine instinct I’ve built in her by letting her listen to what her body is saying and then acting in obedience to it.
Help her stay connected to her spirit and the divine intuition within her.
When she plays with her toys, stay back and observe and give her space for self-directed play. This allows her spirit, her pure childlike instincts, to take the lead and fortifies her trust in her spirit’s connection with Mine. Don’t be in a rush to engage her; don’t be afraid of silence and stillness. Watch her to learn and understand who she is – who she really is spirit to spirit.
When you go places, pay attention to the places where she’s relaxed, open, and at peace. Pay attention when she starts to get agitated and distressed in certain places. Her spirit is able to discern and pick up many things. When you honor her reaction to these places, you communicate to her that her discernment is valued and trustworthy. When she grows up she will need a solid trust in that same discernment as a compass for the places she goes to.
This applies also to every area of her life. Allow her to live as a spiritual being and develop a deep trust of My divine intuition in her. The more ONE that Zion is with My Spirit, the more easily she will distinguish between what is of Me versus what is of the world, sinful flesh, or the devil.
Don’t be quick to assert what you think is best unless you hear it from Me. Many parents train their children up in the way they want their children should go, but I tell you to train Zion up in the way she should go – My way. Zion will look to you & Alex to model for her what living by the spirit looks like.
I am Spirit. I call to My children spirit to spirit as deep calls unto deep. My children are led by the Spirit. Some connect with me on an intellectual level, many on an emotional level, but I long for spirit to spirit, one knowing to another.
I want Zion to live as a spiritual being in a human body, not as a human body that has a spirit. I want her to walk with Me spirit to spirit.“
There have been many a day that I’ve confided in Papa, “I don’t think I can do this. It’s a tremendous task and I’m afraid I’ll mess it up and scar Zion for life.” He always smiles and tells me that of course I can’t do it, didn’t He already tell me I needed Him? Indeed He did!
Lesson 3: The Escalator
I was out with Zion. She was napping in her stroller and I decided to take the escalator instead of the lift because it was the quicker way to get to where I was headed. We were three-quarters of the way up the escalator when I heard Papa’s audible voice say in a very serious and concerned tone, “Don’t ever do that when you’re on your own again.”
When He spoke, I could feel the gravity of His words and the deep love and concern He had for Zion and myself. I knew in my heart that He didn’t mean all parents should never push their child in a stroller onto an escalator but that I, specifically, shouldn’t. Who knows the places He had foreseen we would go in the future and the possible danger He was protecting us from.
I told Him yes, I wouldn’t do that again.
This escalator incident has since become a parable to me. I took the escalator – the fastest way up – because it’s what I used to do before Zion came along. That part of the pre-Zion me hadn’t yet been transformed by motherhood until Papa’s loving reminder.
When I feel like I’ve lost “my old self” in this new season of motherhood or when I feel an aching to “find me again”, I remember the escalator and what a joyful thing it is that I’m not my old self anymore. The ache that I feel is really an invitation from Him to come and discover the new me He is making.
Motherhood has changed me inevitably. It has enlarged my capacity for love, for joy, and for pain. It has held a mirror up to my soul and showed me unhealed wounds, triggers, and habits that I want to be healed from so they don’t pass on to Zion.
Motherhood changed me from being OCD about cleanliness to asking God for my birthday present that Zion would not have constipation… I was so happy to clean poop on my birthday! New seasons bring about new challenges, stretching and growth – if we allow them to, they will be tools in the Sculptor’s masterful hands as He shapes us more and more into who He intended us to be.
I am not the same person I was before and to try to go back would be a regression and travesty of the image Papa is moulding me into.
I’m a Mother Who Needs The Father
I often worry that I won’t do a good job with this precious life that Papa has entrusted to Alex & I (hello, recovering perfectionist here!).
Papa always reminds me that I’m never going to do it perfectly and His plan has never been for me to do it without Him. When I make mistakes, I can turn to Him for forgiveness and healing for Zion and myself. He can heal all things and make beautiful things out of my mistakes.
I’ve lost count of how often Papa has shown up as my Father through the day, each and everyday as I learn to be a mother. He steadies my tremulous hands and strengthens my faltering steps. He guides and teaches me how to care for and nurture Zion in the way that’s best for her (each child is unique!), helps me when I’m stumped by a problem, and protects us in so many ways.
I’m a mother who needs the Father, yes Papa was right about that. This will remain true for what the future may bring – I need Him in every season of my life, in every role I am called to play. I know that He will guide me just as well as He guided me in motherhood.
He Will Do It For You
I also know that He will do the same for you. Wherever you are, whether it’s a new season or one you’ve been stuck in for awhile, God wants to show up for you with the aspect of Himself that you need the most. Maybe you need Him as Rapha your healer, Jireh your provider, or Elohim your protector. Maybe you need Holy Spirit the most this season, or maybe Jesus.
God has many names and will meet you with the name/attribute of Himself that you need in this season. He so loves us that He willingly climbs into our little realities and breaks off pieces of Himself that we can receive.
He wants to walk with you. He will speak to you – in your heart, though dreams, the Bible, people around you, with His audible voice, through a pop song – any way that you can hear Him. God called the prophet Samuel’s name 4 times to get to speak with him. God’s desire to speak with us is greater than our inability to hear Him and He will not give up till we do.
God will never leave you nor forsake you.