The weight lifting section of the gym used to intimidate the heck out of me. All those massive body builders and bulging biceps sent me scuttling back to the elliptical machines and close-captioned TVs. Home Depot had the same effect on me. As did plumbers, cable repair guys, and dentists. They all left me feeling small and inadequate.

March 2011 will mark the third milestone that changed all that for me.

Sweet heart-beat-away baby. You are my third insight into the otherworldly experience of co-creating life with Christ. Growing up and then married for years, I still could never could quite wrap my head around childbirth. The thought of it terrified me. I lacked courage. But more than that, I lacked the understanding that begets courage. I saw only the blood and pain and ache of it all. And my fear blinded me to that oldest of truths: sacrifice is always at the heart of great love.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8.

It’s one thing to receive the truth that Christ died out of His great love for me, it’s another to realize that I was birthed through His death.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Galations 4:4-5.

It is one thing to picture the Creator shaping Adam from the earth; it is another to feel a human foot kick you from the inside.

It is one thing to read and imagine what it might have looked like as the Father breathed life into Adam, it is quite another to witness a brand new being cough and gasp its way to a first breath as lungs that have never held oxygen before expand for the first time.

It is one thing to understand with your head that man was made in his Father God’s image, it is quite another to look into the scrunched up eyes of a wailing infant and hear his cries soften as you whisper “I’m your mom;” as he recognizes himself in you and you see your own image imprinted over his profile.

It is sacred. It is bloody. It is real. It is truth that climbs up off the pages of Scripture and leaps alive into your arms when theoretical beliefs in a Creator give way to experiencing the act of creation.

I will never be the same – neither spiritually nor physically. But over the years I have realized that it matters less to me that I fit back into my favorite size 6 jeans from Prague than it does that I treasure up, as Mary did, the significance of the experience.

And in doing so, everything else falls into its proper perspective. And suddenly the beef cakes at the gym or the mechanics at the garage shrink in stature. Because I have pushed life out into the world. And you just can’t bench press the equivalent.

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