Right now, I’m in seminary working on my Masters in Divinity (MDiv); and, every once in awhile, I stumble upon some truth that causes me to say, “I’m going to write about that.” Normally, because I forget things very easily, I don’t. But this one seemed important…
When I was studying “Procreation and Origin of the Immaterial Aspect,” I was confronted with varying views of basically, “Where does my soul come from?”
Mormons believe that our souls preexist in “spirit-babies” that basically get matched up with with bodies when good Mormons make babies.
Reincarnation people believe that our souls are on a cycle of incarnation (with our status in our next life depending on how much karma we’ve got stuck on our soul).
Creationists believe that we get our body from our parents and our spirits from God.
If you were going to force me to say what I thought, I’d go with option four (Traducian), which is the idea that only Adam and Eve were created directly by God as whole beings– we actually are procreated (from our mamas and papas) as unitary beings (with a body and a spirit).
Why does this matter?
Well, for me it matters because (upon reading the Bible, like Psalm 139) it helps me to realize that “people” are really created at conception (not birth). And this is all more than theoretical for me.
People kept telling me last weekend that this was our “first Mother’s Day,” meaning the first Mother’s Day with Evie, our little baby. And, although I get that, this is really our third Mother’s Day. I celebrate God creating a child in MK’s womb back in 2009; and, man, Mother’s Day 2010 was hard after losing him. I celebrate God creating another child in MK’s womb in 2010. And, that disappointment was tempered by the expectation of MK being pregnant with Evie during Mother’s Day 2011; but there was still a sense of loss that year as well. It’s hard not to think about all three children this year.
Our first two children didn’t make it to see a live birth (or even to have a heartbeat), BUT the Bible teaches me that they are people, created in God’s image. So…we’ve treated them as such (I know this is kind of weird for our culture).
[Isn't it interesting that if I child dies in the first trimester or so, people typically just call "it" a miscarriage; but, the longer the pregnancy goes along, we will actually refer to the child as a stillborn baby (usually with a name)? Our customs sometimes underscore adopted belief-systems-- one perhaps being that those children who died early on weren't really "children"-children?]
I have a family of five (two of whom are now in God’s hands). More than anything, I rest in God’s truth. We mourned for both of them. I think about them when it’s around their birthdays. Jedidiah would be two this July. Grace would have been one this past January. I honestly can’t say I’ve got all the theology to understand what it’s going to be like one day after this life is over, but it’s crazy to think that one day I may actually see them too.
Anyway, the reason I write this isn’t to be weird or make people uncomfortable with the awkwardness of my story. The reason I write this is to encourage those who have been or are going through or will go through something like this. Don’t let anyone tell you that your child is not a child, a real child, or a “child”-child. He is, even if you don’t know if “he” is a he or a she, even if there was no heartbeat, even if you never felt a kick. This is the truth. And you aren’t “technically” a parent; you’re a parent who’s experienced the loss of a child.
I don’t know why our culture minimizes this (I know that many don’t want to re-live the hurt of it all), but I just want to validate your feelings of loss because it was a loss of a person, someone created in the image of God; and, even so, God knows what He’s doing.
I’m curious. When it comes to losing a child in this way, what are different things that you have seen churches do or individuals do to commemorate the lives of those children?