Ever since our first son was growing (Women are amazing! How do they do that?!), I’ve had it in my mind that childbirth is an act of war against death.
Life vs. death. Life wins.
Let me introduce to you the newest aggressor against death: Silas Anax Banker. His very existence and presence is a statement to the forces of death and destruction that Life has not lost its power. Born during a time where the world is in turmoil. When death, war and disease are flexing their muscles this seemingly weak child lets out his war-cry, “I’m here!”
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. -Acts 16:25-26
Silas, a leader of the early church who was imprisoned with the Apostle Paul, is often depicted holding broken chains. Silas is a powerful name, declaring freedom and life in the face of shackles and death-sentences.
I might as well admit it. I’m a crier. It’s on video anyway, so there’s no use in denying it. As soon as little Silas let out that first screech the tears flowed unhindered. Child birth is an amazing thing. It’s also a scary thing.
Silas’ birth was quick, but not without complication. Where Isaac’s labor dragged on for 68hrs, Silas’ only took 5hrs from beginning to end. It happened so quickly that we didn’t have a chance to get Michelle into the birthing tub. “Baby’s coming!” No time. Get the midwives up here, quick!
We were excited. Baby was on the way…
Then something happened. The atmosphere changed. Our midwives suddenly switched to business mode. Something was wrong. Fear was begging for a hearing.
Silas was stuck. His head was out, why wasn’t the rest of him following? I saw our midwife unwrap the umbilical cord from his neck (it was actually wrapped around him three times). He was still stuck. Things started happening fast. They flipped Michelle onto her hands and knees. Something was wrong. Our midwives were calm, but acting quick. (click here to read about why he was stuck)
Then, he was out. We didn’t know he was a he yet, but there he was! He was grey and not moving. Most people don’t realize how inhuman a newborn can look in those first few moments. He’s not breathing. He looks limp. He’s okay, right? Don’t let the scary thoughts in.
I had been prepped, so I knew that it could take a few seconds to a minute before the child takes its first breath. The perception of time becomes erratic in situations like that. You have no idea how fast or slow things are happening.
“Talk to your baby.” The midwife says as she picks him up and starts vigorously rubbing his back.
“Baby! You made it! You’re here! Let it out little one. Go ahead. Cry.”
Then it happened. It was a piercing, high-pitched screech that made everything okay in the world. Tears.
Silas means “of the forest.”
Anax is an archaic greek term meaning, “king.”
Anax is a reminder of is identity. His value is in his blood. It’s unearned. He was created with unlimited, enduring worth. He is acceptable because he is in the image of the Great King.
Welcome Silas Anax. You’re amazing and there is an amazing future ahead of you.
How can emotions be used to help us with the forgiveness process? Can even the negative emotions be useful?
In keeping with my recent trend, here is another blurb from my up-coming book: Forgiveness Fail: How the Millennial Church can Rediscover a Forgiveness Process that Works.
Anger. Jealousy. Shame. Sadness. Guilt. Fear.
These emotions have been comprehensively labeled as “bad.” Yay for us! I mean, what would we do if we couldn’t feel guilty about feeling… guilty?
I actually don’t believe that any of these emotions are bad. In fact, I don’t believe any emotions are bad, but all emotions (even the “good” ones) can be used wrongly…
…I wouldn’t classify pain as “good” because, honestly, it hurts and I don’t like to hurt. I can, however, recognize that it has an important role to play and I shouldn’t ask God to take Pain away.
Her mother was always angry.
There was nothing you could do to reason with her.
She would shame her and the rest of the family into making false apologies and would force them to take responsibility for things that were not theirs to take.
She would blame her daughter for her being unhappy.
She had unreasonable requirements that were impossible to fulfill. She was never at fault. It was always someone else’s fault.
She demanded that everyone else take ownership for her problems.
Her co-worker was the same way. She would blame her for not feeling included in the group and would not accept her own responsibility to communicate her needs. She expected everyone else to read her mind and meet all her needs.
Both of them had taught her a lie:
I am responsible for other’s emotions.
She accused and forgave both of them before God for teaching her this lie.
She asked God how she should be acting towards her mom. She saw a picture of her mom hitting her with a dirty mop, making her dirty. She put the mop away and told her mom, “You cannot do this to me anymore.”
She also confessed her own part in believing the lie and trying to take responsibility that wasn’t hers to take. She asked for God’s forgiveness.
She rejected this lie and asked God to give her a truth to replace it.
She saw a hamburger.
That’s what I said. This is probably one of the strangest truths that I have ever witnessed God give in response to a lie.
She was holding the hamburger tightly when someone came up to her and tried to cut it up. When she wouldn’t let them do this, they got angry and threw it on the ground and stomped it.
When she looked closer, she saw that the meat was black.
This picture confused her so she asked God to explain it to her. Apparently God is still in the business of speaking in parables.
God told her that the Hamburger is something that can give strength when she is hungry and that the meat is not bad for her. It is good food and it tastes good. This other person saw the meat as bad and called it bad, which made her think that it was bad.
I asked her what the meat represented. She said it was her words.
I asked her what the entire hamburger represented. She said it was her.
God continued to unfold the picture in her mind. She saw other people coming to her and helping her clean off the meat, which only had dust on it, making it black. These people reacted to her words in love by helping her instead of being angry.
Her words were meant to bring strength to herself and others.
She is a blessing.
This is true even if her words aren’t perfect. Some people will react to her words with violence while others will react in helpful love.
I used to think that what I have to say is awkward and horrible.
I used to think that I caused people trouble.
I used to blame myself when people got angry at me.
Now I feel like my words are a blessing to people!
The truth is that my life and words are a blessing.
Father, I give up the lie that I always speak badly and create trouble for people.
Thank you for letting me know for the first time that when I speak I can bring happiness and blessing to people…
That it’s not my fault when people get angry when I speak.
I am a hamburger – God’s hamburger!
I am a blessing.
Help me to live the life of a hamburger.
Thank you for bringing this hamburger into my life.
I used to think my mouth was zipped shut and it was hard to open. Today my mouth was unzipped and the zipper was taken out.
Seriously, I’m not making this stuff up… how could I?
This woman is an active minister of the gospel in a country where that could get her into serious trouble.
This truth from God, no matter how strange, unlocked her lips to speak truth from a place of freedom, not fear.
Teaching and speaking used to be a burden because she was afraid that she was going to cause someone to be angry at her. Now she knows that she is a blessing to those that God brings to her.