The sister of former President Jimmy Carter, Ruth Carter Stapleton, was a well known speaker and facilitator of spiritual inner healing, often called “healing of memories.” Her 1st book, The Gift of Inner Healing, describes her own experience of emotional healing and the ministry into which it launched her.
After reading the following story in her 2nd book, The Experience of Inner Healing, I immediately felt led to share it, to reinforce to young moms and dads the importance of parental love and perhaps to help older adults seek inner healing for repressed wounding from deficits of that love. This is quoted from her chapter on “The Healing Power of Self-Acceptance,” p. 95-97:
From the moment we become conscious in our mother’s womb, immense emotional and spiritual forces emanating from our mother and, to a much lesser degree, our father begin to mold our pliable sensitive emotions which will one day be the adult self. People have tended to ignore the significance of that first nine months in our mother’s womb. Every new parent ought to be instructed that what they think and feel is more important in the care of an unborn baby than how they care for themselves physically.
The mother of a two-month-old baby boy had to rush him to the hospital. For no clinically explainable reason he was feverish, dehydrated and starving to death. Intravenous feeding did nothing to stabilize his condition which continued to deteriorate. Visiting in the home of a Christian friend while her son was hospitalized, the mother met a man who, after hearing her story, said, “I think it’s important for you to know that I’m a Christian doctor. Christ has shown me the absolute importance of love.” Possibly, he informed her, the baby was in its serious condition because it didn’t feel loved.
The mother broke in tears. “You’re probably right,” she said. “I don’t love the baby and I don’t love his father. I never wanted to have the child in the first place and I’m divorcing my husband as soon as I can.”
When the doctor asked if he could pray for her, she consented, and with deep tenderness he asked Christ to heal her broken spirit. As he spoke, she felt enveloped in a terrible shroud of bitterness that, over the years of antagonism, she had woven into her marital relationship. She realized she was killing herself with hate because of her own problems and was starving that innocent baby to death in the process.
After the prayer the doctor instructed her to go to the hospital, take her son’s face in her hands, look straight into his eyes, calling him by name, and say, “I love you.”
When she got to her son’s crib in the pediatric ward, she saw her little boy more dead than alive. Suddenly she was filled with a new sense of tender love for him. Reaching down she gently held the baby’s face in her hands and told him, “Michael, I love you. O Michael, my baby, I love you.”
At that moment the hospital doctor came into the room and asked her what she was doing. She told him the whole story.
He looked straight into her eyes. “I believe everything you say,” he told her. “I believe your baby is dying because he has no will to live. What you’ve just done may possibly save his life.”
The next day the fever broke. The child began to assimilate nourishment and fluids. A week later a loving mother brought her nearly recovered baby son home from the hospital.