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My Crosses, My Children

Today’s new Contributor is Rachel Simpson, friend of Bellator Society


Seven years ago, I had my first child through a traumatic delivery (is any birth free from some degree of trauma?). Naively, I had not considered an unplanned C-section as a possibility; I had wanted to prove I could withstand an un-medicated delivery. Instead, a long, defeating labor and fetal distress landed me on an operating table.

I remember feeling—in a small way—like Jesus might have felt as He was nailed to the cross.

I was on my back, arms strapped away from my body to control my shaking, trying not to vomit as the doctor cut me open. Lying prone with open arms is a vulnerable position to hold.

Let me be clear: I am not Christ-like. I did not freely choose a C-section. I have wrestled with this experience, and all its consequences, for seven years. Jesus bled for His children and never looked back.

I bled for my child and asked, “Why me?”

I’ll say it again: I am not Christ-like, but my son’s birth was an obvious invitation to try to be. It was a concrete indication of what motherhood would offer me every day: crosses I could either greet with open arms or reject with a bitter heart.

When my house is a wreck (almost always), my natural tendency is to assert control: make lists, do more, work harder. Order is a good thing to desire, but that desire becomes disordered if it causes me to get angry when my children interrupt my plans. It’s silly, but it could work: what if I lay on my back in the middle of action figures strewn across carpet that desperately needs vacuumed? What if instead of imposing my own schedule on our home life, at the expense of my children’s peace, I surrendered to God’s schedule?

Sibling spats often erupt while I’m doing the dishes. What if instead of barking orders from the kitchen and pressing on, I put down the work that feels more gratifying? What if I looked my children in the eye to teach them and opened my arms to embrace them in their angst?

What if I held the inconvenient cross Jesus offered me instead of stubbornly carving the cross I want?

I believe one of the most powerful ways God speaks to us is through the language of the body. In one month, I will lie on the operating table a fourth time to birth the miracle of a fourth child. May that vulnerable posture of the body bleed into my daily life and radically change the posture of my heart.

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Rachel Simpson

Rachel Barga Simpson lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four children. She’s taking a break from work as a speech-language pathologist, keeping her mind awake in the meantime by devouring novels and writing whenever possible.

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