Kierra Jackson lives in New Haven, Conn., with her husband, Aaron, and is studying to become a nurse-midwife.
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Labors of Love
IN HER LATEST BOOK, Birthing Hope: Giving Fear to the Light, Rachel Marie Stone spiritually illuminates a painstaking, sometimes isolating, and often highly medicalized event in the life of a woman. In uncovering her own journey giving birth, Stone invites us to question our understandings of pain and passage, deliverance and rebirth, illness and privilege, and theology’s long-complicated relationship to science. Stone uses her new memoir to inspire readers to comb through scripture and rediscover God as midwife.
Throughout the book, Stone includes passages from Isaiah, which “imagines God as birthing mother and midwife more than any other biblical book.” Stone notes, “Christians across the spectrum of cultural, theological, and political points of view seem equally to neglect biblical images of God as a laboring woman.” Chapter by chapter, Stone writes of labor and birth from a variety of vantage points that affirm the God closely linked to childbirth: Teenage Mary, struggling with morning sickness and at the end of her third trimester, pushing the Christ through her birth canal and into the world. A Malawian woman who must walk many miles home with her newborn strapped to her back mere hours after birthing. The Christian understanding of “being born again” as forgiveness, a fresh beginning, and as entering “into the womb of God to be born again.” Each perspective expands the reader’s understanding of rebirth through God.
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Finding God on the Running Course
I started running because of my sister. Kim and I began when we were pre-teens. I believed running was the key to making me more like her -- 5 foot 9, lean, beautiful, and highly intelligent. There was one problem: I hated running. After forcing myself to do it for a while, I was disappointed. My dreams of who I would become were dashed, and all I got from trotting around was a lower resting heart rate and bulky thighs.
Years later, much has changed -- including my relationship with running. Following her multiple-sclerosis diagnosis in 2009, Kim, who was once a long-distance runner, has retired her running shoes. She hasn't hit the pavement in more than one year. I still run. Something in my spirit won't let me quit.
Last weekend, I completed my fourth half marathon in Washington, D.C. As I toed the start line, a story began to unfold. At 7 a.m., it was barely 35 degrees outside and still dark. I was surrounded by a sea of 16,000 people -- all of whom were present for one thing: to put their bodies to the ultimate test. This morning was all about endurance.
Why I'm Becoming a Doula
Discovering the call to 'mother the mothers.'
'Gentrification Kills': Confronted by the Writing on the Wall
Happy Birthday Sojourner Truth!
On this day in 1797, Isabella Baumfree (Sojourner Truth) was born in Ulster County, New York. Sojourner Truth was a former slave, women's rights activist, abolitionist, and great orator. On November 26, 1883, Sojourner passed away in her home in Battle Creek, Michigan.