After suffering an ectopic pregnancy and then a miscarriage, Â I was thrilled beyond belief to be pregnant with Matthew. Â As the weeks and months ticked on, I marveled at all the changes in my body — the ones I expected (my expanding wasitline) and the ones that, frankly, took me by surprise (that crazy network of blue veins that made my torso look like a roadmap). Â And yet every change was a chance to reflect on the enormity of this thing I was undertaking to do: bring a new little life into the world.
That’s why, when I read Sarah Jobe’s book Creating with God: The Holy Confusing Blessedness of Pregnancy, I felt as though I’d just met a kindred spirit. Â This is a book that is both delightful and insightful — and a real treat for any mom who is now, or ever has been, pregnant.
Jobe, an ordained pastor and mother of two, admits up-front that she was not one of those dewy pregnant women who make it seem so blissful and easy. Â This Â book is the result of her attempt to find God in the experience of pregnancy. Â As she explains in the introduction, she has come to realize that “God is present in pregnancy at precisely the places that seem least divine.” Â In engaging chapters, this book shows how that is true. Â Jobe reflects on the larger meaning she’s come to discover through her pregnancies, sharing insights about faith, about waiting, about suffering. Â I like how she discusses these weighty topics with playfulness and humor; though it has a lot of depth, the book is also highly readable (a quality I always admire in spiritual writing, especially since I became a mom.)
One of my favorite chapters dealt with the frustrating experience of being pregnant and having to rest, a state which Jobe found very hard to accept. Â She connects it to the parable of the lost sheep, how the good shepherd leaves the whole flock to go tend to one little sheep. Â As she explains, “I always thought it made more sense for the shepherd to stay and take care of the ninety-nine sheep, but during my pregnancy, God taught me to focus on one little lamb. Â As an ordained minister, having a child has felt like leaving a whole flock of sheep to care for one little baby. Â It doesn’t always make sense to me. Â I wonder if it is the best use of my gifts. Â But I am convinced that this narrowing of focus to one little lamb is not simply a product of my own human limits; this narrowing of focus is an opportunity to experience and understand how God works.” Â Â That’s a wonderful insight, something that gives me a lot to ponder.
If you’re looking for a baby shower gift for a pregnant woman you know, this is a terrific choice. Â But you don’t have to be going through the mood swings and nausea of pregnancy to appreciate this wise and readable book. Â All you need is an interest in learning about how motherhood and spirituality nourish each other, ultimately creating something beautiful.
I was delighted to receive this as a review copy from Paraclete Press. Â