I turn to my friend with an exuberant smile, “How are you feeling?” I gush. Her bulging belly abundantly holding her third child due in just a matter of weeks. She turns to me with teary eyes, “like death!” . . . It all came flooding back when she laid it out honest-like. When asked this very same question while pregnant myself, I recall responding, “I feel like a living sacrifice.” How true it is that we are “presenting our bodies a living sacrifice” as mothers, and specifically in pregnancy.
Perhaps I had been practicing selective memory when I greeted my friend like a cheerleader. Only months ago I was pregnant myself. And my third trimester with this recent sixth pregnancy had been more challenging than I had anticipated. No, it’s not so much that I want to sugar-coat the reality my friend faces as she enters the home stretch of her marathon trimester. The truth is—I am beholding one of her most glorious acts of dedicated service to our God and to the world. She may feel a bit (or even a lot) like Jesus taking the cross, but that is exactly it. It is a theologically powerful truth.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:1).
Following this initial exchange, my friend then began to apologize for the weekly meetings she has missed. She sighed, explaining that she has not been able to accomplish all she had hoped. She had wanted to give more of herself. I sat with her apology for a moment, the paradox colliding in my mind. I, just like her, had to admit those similar feelings from this past summer—the feeling that I was limited in my ability to serve because of the physical challenges presented by pregnancy. Now, facing my friend, I see with clarity. She is giving of herself in poignant, pregnant works of mercy—by virtue of her openness and daily, faithful practices, she is living out her mighty call of “service of worship.” She is feeding this tiny little life, giving drink, and becoming a home for this vulnerable soul. This is the call to be like Christ—how glorious is this sacrificial way. How “good, acceptable and perfect” is the “will of God” proven in our lives, dear mothers!