Day 5: Named And Known - The Sacred Work of Belonging

Day 5: Named and Known

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Psalm 139:13-14

When I struggle to feel like I belong, I like to think about the way God was with me in my mother’s womb. Even now, in my mid-forties, I do this as a spiritual practice. I imagine the details that are specific to my family and me. My mom ate kimchi and rice and sang Korean lullabies when I was in her womb.

It’s a Korean custom for mothers to make Miyeokguk (seaweed soup) for their daughters after giving birth. This soup is also often given to people on their birthdays. Though I ate Korean food regularly at home, this was one of the soups I refused, and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized the significance and finished an entire bowl of it. I like Miyeokguk now, and even more than that, the experience of eating it nourishes more than my body – it is an embrace of God’s love for me and open embrace of who he’s made me to be and be connected to.

It was my Korean mom’s worries, her small frame, and her voice that I heard while God was with me before I was born. Thinking about these things helps me to embrace who I am and all of the things that make me who I am, as a gift from God. This embrace resists the thought that I am some kind of mistake. This embrace fuels my ability to see others and who God has made them to be and embrace their differences and distinct reflections of a loving God of multitudes and more. This embrace creates a strong sense of belonging to come back to again and again. This embrace informs the way I seek justice and love mercy. This embrace reminds me that our stories and our beginnings were made to matter to one another.

What makes you who you are? What tastes and sounds surrounded you in your mother’s womb? God was with you there, naming your story with love and intention.

We belong to God. We belong to one another. The sacred work of belonging is to embrace our unique stories and the stories of one another.

Breath prayer:

Breathe in: I can embrace my beginnings and my neighbor’s.

Breathe out: Belonging belongs to me and everyone around me.

From the Book: