The Story Behind the Poem

My dear friend was very pregnant…and very sick. She barely had the energy to stand, let alone birth a child. We felt hopeless for her, unable to carry her child for her, only able to bring a few meals, clean a few corners. When I feel most powerless is when the words flow most clearly. This was my prayer for her.


by Sarah Steele
June 2014

Strength is the green of the leafy iron
consumed by a mother intent on keeping
herself and unborn baby well fed and rested.

Strength is the black of the clock
that gently tick tocks, a constant reminder
that new life will be here soon.

Strength is the white of knuckles
clenched on to handles so as not
to draw blood from a husband’s arm.

Strength is the clear of air escaping
the mother’s lips as she moans herself peaceful,
giving in to the tightening of her abdomen.

Strength is the red of a woman’s face
determined to push with all her might
to bring her little one into the world.

Strength is the blue of the infant’s body
first exposed to water and air and mama’s chest,
waiting to know if they’re safe and wanted.

Strength is the yellow of the blanket
gently wrapped around baby’s body
as they lay in calm in Daddy’s arms.

Strength is the gray of sheets
that bring Mama comfort and sleep
after her intense labor of love.

Strength is the browning of meat
made to feed the growing family,
giving nourishment and filling souls.

But strength is mostly the purple of a robe
draped over a King who, though He was in the very
form of God, did not consider equality something
to cling to but instead gave up His divine privileges
and was born as a human being, humbled Himself
in obedience to God, and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

That’s strength.

You can be strong, Jen, because He was strong for you.