A Metaphor For The Holy Spirit

I’m sitting in a rocking chair in the middle of Babies R Us, it’s plush cushions cradle my body. I lean my head back and close my eyes. The chair is the softest thing I’ve ever felt and I’m in labor with my first child. I want to be cradled. I want to be held.

 I feel a contraction begin so I rest my hand on top of my belly and breathe deeply letting myself feel it. When it’s over, my son kicks within me and I smile down at the tiny jab. 

  I look up and see my husband’s eyes on me. He knows I’m in labor, and he’s ready to follow my lead. I’m determined to be calm, confident, in control of the moments that lie ahead and I’ve never been more grateful for his unflappable nature. 

 “Is that the one then?” He asks me. 

 “This is it,” I reply as I stand up. “Let’s buy it.”

 We check out and I tell him that since we finally bought our rocking chair, I’m ready to have the baby now. 

We leave Babies R Us as another contraction overtakes me. I walk through it, breathe through it, amazed at what my body is doing. As it subsides, I see a woman crying in her car. I don’t know her but my heart squeezes at the sight. For the last nine months, it’s been like this. I’m overcome by stranger’s emotions. I want to share their load, feel their feelings, carry it with them. 

I know it’s because I’m pregnant and emotional but I also know in my heart of hearts that it won’t ever go away. I’ve been filled with another life, overtaken and changed irrevocably by the presence within me so I see humanity differently now. People aren’t just people. They are someone’s child. They are someone’s whole heart. 

I rest my hand on my abdomen again. My heart doesn’t just beat anymore. It kicks and moves and is no longer mine.
~
It’s eighteen months later and I’m standing in the water bottle aisle at Target. My son is chattering away in the cart, pointing at a cup he sees. My eyes comb the shelves, scanning over every detail of every bottle. The decision seems inconsequential but to me, it isn’t. I’m pregnant again and am determined to drink more water this time. Determined to give my baby everything it needs. 

Finally, I make my selection, smiling at the secret growing within me. 

A few weeks later, I’m walking into my house, my eighteen-month-old fast asleep on my shoulder. He drifted off on the way home from the doctor’s appointment, the one that was filled with an empty sonogram and hollow comfort. 

I’m angry and empty and sad. 

With tears in my eyes, I walk to the kitchen. The water bottle is on the counter. I tuck it away in the back of the cupboard, trying to ignore the fact that it never held any water. Trying not to let my mind say, “Maybe it never will.”
~
Six hours into labor, six hours into the most incredible and empowering experience of my life. We’re at the hospital now but I can’t tell you a single detail about the room. The reality I’m living in is just pain and exhaustion and hope and excitement. 

The moment has reached a fever pitch, a crescendo, a pinnacle. I’ve never felt more powerful, more equipped, more determined. I’ve never felt so focused on life. 

And then, he’s born. 

I was filled up and then life was sent out. 
~
Mother’s Day dawns brighter than it should two weeks after my miscarriage. 

All-day, I convince myself that it’s fine that I’m not filled with life. Not overtaken by someone else. It’s there though, the lingering emptiness. “I am empty” I tell myself. “Empty.”

“No, you are filled.”

A voice argues back. It’s a voice I know well, the voice I love most. 
 
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper… You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16.17) 
~
 I know what it is to be filled and I know what it is to be empty. The Holy Spirit is evident in both. 
 
In the fullness, I saw what it means to be overtaken. To allow someone else to fill your every fiber, to gently wrest control from you, to change the way you think and feel and see the world. To cause your heart to break for others and to love with selflessness. In the fullness, I experienced power and passion and a singular focus on proclaiming that the time of darkness is over and life will have its day. 
 
So it is with the filling of the Holy Spirit. He fills us so he can change us. He fills us so He can empower us. He fills us so the way, the truth, and the life, can be proclaimed on earth.  
 
But there are empty days, too. Days when you feel loneliness take hold, when you think you will be left wanting forever. In those days, He is there too. He is near. He is our helper. Our comforter. 
 
In the empty moments, I have found the truth that there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. That God is strong in my weakness. That he draws near to the brokenhearted and while he’s there, he sees our emptiness and fills it with himself. 
 
This is the truth about who the Holy Spirit is. He is fullness and power and comfort and peace. He is God, dwelling within us, filling us in every season of life.
 
Originally published on The Hope Denver Blog 

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