Grace Is in the World

It seems appropriate that, on the heels of our six-part Marriage series, Dan and Becky flew to New York to welcome their new granddaughter into the world. This week on the podcast, Dan is joined by his daughter Amanda, his son-in-law Jeff, and their cooing, hiccuping baby, Grace Harper.

Amanda and Jeff recount the day of Grace’s birth the week before—a day that was chaotic and, at times, scary. Amanda recalls her confusion—“I still didn’t believe that it was all happening to me”—and Jeff remembers being at work when he saw the text and frantically rushed across the city to the hospital. “It’s really difficult to drive the streets of New York when some sort of life-altering moment is upon you,” he says.

The 18 hours of labor culminated in two hours of intense pushing. After Jeff and Amanda share about those moments, they play audio that captures so much of the experience: the chaos of several people in the room shouting simultaneously, the painful intensity of the process, and, finally, the relief and awe at Grace’s entrance. “Grace is in the world,” Dan says through his tears.

Amanda: “It’s still hard to process that moment. […] And it’s hard to listen to that without crying. I feel like it’s one of the scariest moments, like I remember thinking I might not be able to get her out, it might not be possible. And then just shock at, oh she did come out, and I’m done, and she’s here. The finality of labor being done and her being in my arms was incredible.”

Jeff: “It takes a while for that to sink in. […] I held her for a minute and I was in love. After a minute—or less.”

Dan: “Thank God for oxytocin, and for what it brings our brain in terms of bonding, that within seconds, your brain has made this beautiful shift, that this little girl will be, along with your wife, the love of your life. You are captured.”

The conversation shifts as Dan, Amanda, and Jeff recall hearing about the attacks in Paris and the reality that Jeff was being called back into work because of them.

Dan: “Birth is not an idyllic world. You can create a fantasy of what the first week or month ought to be, but already reality has intruded. But there’s something deeper between the three of you—delight, honor, love—that enables you to make a really difficult decision well. […] The story that’s in your arms right now, Amanda, and the story that’s literally thousands of miles away—there’s always an intersection of lives and stories. We want this beautiful young child to enter a world that has far more honesty and hope and reconciliation.”

The intersections of stories, the collision between life and death, hope and despair—these are on our minds as we consider world events and prepare our hearts to move into the Advent season. In coming weeks on The Allender Center Podcast, Dan will talk about all of the complexity—good and bad, joy and heartache—that is stirred up during the holidays.

Then, early next year, we’ll launch a new series in which Dan responds to questions from listeners.

If you have a question for Dan, or a topic you would like him to engage, email Content Coordinator Beau Denton, We look forward to hearing from you.