Floating in a Sea of Blessings

Last night some friends here threw me a baby shower. It was small and intimate (just like I like), and so beautiful and encouraging. We had dinner together and desert of course and talked and just hung out which was really nice. But, they also planned a few really special activities for us throughout the evening.

The first was a casual and fun thing to do after dinner as we talked together. My friend Carrie had got a beautiful white baby blanket and each of the ladies present brought a piece of material to sew onto the blanket. So we had a little sewing circle and all gathered around the blanket and everyone added their contribution. It was a simple activity but to me it felt very symbolic too, especially after the other activities of the evening. Everyone’s piece of fabric was different and cut differently and even sewed on differently, just like each unique person present, but they all came together in a beautiful way. In some ways I felt like they were saying through the act that they were excited about this baby and ready to give him a little unique piece of themselves and their heart. (haha, Yes, I tend to read a lot into things)

After that we opened presents, which were each so sweet and cute. And then came what was probably my favorite part. They had a beautiful peachy colored scarf that they tied on different body parts of my body as they prayed for and over that part of my body. It might sound a little strange to others, but to me it was perfect. It meant more to me then just having them pray generally over me and my baby, because it connected with something very significant to me, my physicality. I think I’ve always been pretty kinesthetic and related to the world and God in very physical ways. I really love using my body – for a long time now I’ve realized that I experience God most when my body is doing something or connected with what my mind and heart are feeling. And because of various health issues I’ve had off and on throughout my life I’ve always been very aware of my body and the feelings and changes that go on in it. So, it felt right to me that now at a time of change when my body feels overwhelmingly different and sometimes like it’s screaming out to me and it’s all I can focus on that my friends would surround me and pray for my body. But, as well as being very connected with my body I also have a deep love for the symbolic, so I loved that in so many of the prayers and blessings for different parts of my body there was symbolism and the blessing was more deeply for that in my life which the tangible body part represented. It was truly beautiful.

All that in and of itself would have been special enough, but my friend Carrie who planned it all took it a step further and it was really the icing on the cake. She contacted some of my closest friends in the states and asked them to also write a blessing/prayer for a part of my body. So, the activity also brought to groups of dear friends in my life together in a beautiful way. I really felt like my friends from the states were present and it was such a blessing to feel surrounded by people both here and there who love me and my husband and this new baby so much. One dear friend from here who just moved back to the states actually recorded her message and it was so touching to hear her voice – I actually got a bit choked up when I first heard it – such a blessing.

But, again things didn’t end there. After the prayers they each shared some reasons why they think I will be a good mom. And again both friends from here and friends from the states shared things they saw in me that they think will make me a great mother. Each person’s was so unique and so fitting for the experiences they’d had with me, and together it really created such an encouraging picture for me to see how much my friends believe in my ability to parent. I have had my share of fears about whether or not I will be able to be a good mother to this child. At one point in my pregnancy those fears became so strong that I actually had a total crying break down and started hyperventilating. So, it really made me feel bolstered up and encouraged to hear that my friends had such confidence in me. But, it did something else for me too, it made me feel that not only did they believe in my ability to mother but they supported me. I knew these women each loved me in their own ways where ever they are at in their lives or the world at large. And I was reminded that in those days to come when I doubt again my ability to parent and the way seems unsure and difficult I have beautiful women in my life that I can turn to for encouragement, support and advice, as well as a good deal of laughter when needed.

Truly throughout the whole evening I felt completely surrounded, hemmed in on every side. It was beautiful and I am so thankful. I felt like I wasn’t just showered with love, I was overcome with it. I floated in a sea of it and I continue to float, held aloft to the Father by so many beautiful people, both those who were a part of this shower and so many others who I know also care deeply for me and my baby.

Thank you all.

Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman