A Broken Hallelujah: For The Unborn Child
“Is it a boy or a girl?”
I overheard their discussion in the kitchen and popped my head in, “Did I hear you say, a boy or girl!? Are you pregnant?”
She grinned at me, “I was trying to hide it, but now it is getting obvious.”
I could see it, the little bump that still looks like it could be attributed to too many cookies, not a little person growing inside.
5 months, she declares, and I slide my arm around her shoulders.
“Congratulations.” I say it without really thinking, it is what you always say. I forget myself for a moment and I throw both my arms around her in a hug and say again, “Congratulations!”
I pat her belly, I can’t help myself.
“Beautiful.” I whisper, and she squeezes my hand.
Later I am on my knees on the floor of my bedroom, it is after midnight and my face is down. There is a rushing sound in my ears, I close my eyes and pressure forms behind them, I take deep breathes, but it feels like I am drowning. I struggle to come to the surface as reality closes in.
I am recalling the conversation in the kitchen and it makes me feel sick.
I shouldn’t have said congratulations. That was stupid.
Words don’t come. What do you pray? I stayed that way for a several hours, until I was exhausted enough to sleep. I climbed into my bed and dreamed of babies sleeping in fields of flowers.
I think of something my colleague said, “It is why we are doing this, not just for her, but for the unborn child.”
The next week I watch this young woman sit down to lunch and bow her head as we bless the food.
I am not praying but instead wondering if they could test the DNA once the baby is born and maybe catch one of the men who used her when she was locked up in a house and raped for profit. Then I wonder if she would even want to know the results.
This unborn child did not choose such circumstances of broken. The horror of his conception is not his fault, but both mother and child will forever be marked by this abuse.
Last night I sat in the curve of our stairwell talking with my housemate, telling her that on this weekend five years ago my darkness was so great I woke up everyday telling myself, “Just today, just get through today.”
I had built such high walls around my heart that I could no longer see the light. I was sunk in such a sickness of body, heart, and mind, that my spirit no longer had room to breathe. I knew there was a God out there, but he was not concerned with me and my darkness.
The walls cracked open 5 years ago. Light rushed in. All those walls of protection shattered and I found myself fighting hard for my life, crawling my way back to hope.
Broken, but willing to try. So many unknowns.
Dreams were conceived in those dark days, and they have grown into things I never could have anticipated.
I think of that time, and how little strength I had. I needed help every step of the way. I never thought one day I would be strong enough to stand alongside even greater darkness and sing a broken Hallelujah chorus.
In church yesterday we were a small group of people echoing the words, O come, O come Emmanuel. I stared at the screen, “Death’s dark shadows put to flight.”
I think of my time in death’s dark shadow, and the journey of healing.
I think of the unborn child. A baby conceived in total chaos.
I think of sitting down to lunch and this soon-to-be mother bowing her head to bless the food.
If I had given up in the darkness and in the brokenness, there would have been so much life and victory left unclaimed, unborn, unlived.
Just like this woman, despite her circumstances being wildly out of her control, can’t give up now in the darkness because there is yet life and victory forming. We could focus on the broken, or we could focus on the Hallelujah that she is now free, that there is new life, that she is strong and moving forward, even if right now she needs a little help in taking everyday steps.
We are moving forward together, our little group of broken. For her. For the unborn child. For all that is yet to be claimed, birthed, and lived.
Full of abundant hope, we echo the Hallelujah that has put death’s dark shadows to flight: