When I was a little girl my mom used to use cocoa butter to smooth away scar lines she had on her arm from a bad burn. I loved the smell of it and later learned that women often use cocoa butter to help avoid developing stretch marks when pregnant.
I’ve never given birth to a physical child. The closest thing I may ever give birth to are creative acts but then the birth of a child is the ultimate creative act (save God creating the universe) so maybe there are corollaries. All I know is that I feel like I’ve been pregnant for the last nine months and just gave birth to something. I don’t know to what exactly; I just know that I am exhausted all of a sudden.
Last summer, I slowed down my pace a little and took some reflective time. I read the Pentateuch while preparing to take an Old Testament class and to travel to Israel and Jordan. Shortly afterwards, I joined the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare in Washington, D.C. as a national trainer for “Mental Health First Aid.” As an independent contractor for the National Council, I began traveling around the country to certify people to teach this course. If I were to reflect on those two things alone, perhaps something spiritual was conceived during that time period. I’m not sure. What I do know is that the last year has consisted of wonderful, constant travel taking me incredible places geographically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. I’ve stretched outside my comfort zone on numerous occasions and for that, my risks have been rewarded two-fold.
Perhaps what I’ve birthed is some deeper aspect of myself; some offering I’m beginning to give to the world. And perhaps I’m not barren after all. For now, as autumn hangs in the air, it seems I’m pregnant yet again with something new forming inside of me. And I’ll proudly show my stretch marks…
“Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD. Isaiah 54:1