1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 1 Peter 2:1-3
I nursed all four of my kids…for varying lengths and with varying degrees of enthusiasm. I was completely clueless with my first and our nursing adventure lasted a brief three months. She liked to eat, I didn’t like being in pain and was a nervous first time mama, so we moved onto the bottle. I was more determined, less nervous and better prepared with baby #2. We nursed through her first birthday quite nicely. I had plans to nurse baby #3 for an equal amount of time, but her food allergies and ear infections cut off her nursing sessions at 11 months. Since our boy seems to be our last, I was in no hurry to stop nursing. I decided to let him decide when he was done. In the last two months, he has only nursed when he requests it and that has worked out to be either a) when he is upset or b) when he remembers it is an option. So, that works out to be once a day or once every other day. Pretty nice gig for me. It’s the best of both worlds…basically an optional activity, but good bonding time as well.
When I went to the doctor yesterday, he explained that my respiratory infection was pretty intense and that if I wanted to get well faster, I would need to submit to much stronger medication than I had anticipated. And no, he went on to explain, you absolutely cannot nurse the baby for the next 10-14 days. I don’t know if I was more shocked that I was so sick or that my time as a nursing mama was suddenly and abruptly over. I delayed my first dose of meds for later in the afternoon and squeezed in one last nursing session with my son. I cried through the entire thing. I was a disaster. I could hardly explain what was going on to my bewildered husband. Between my sobs and hoarse voice, I sounded ridiculous. But, it is the end of a significant chapter in my life as a mom. My babies officially no longer need me physically…kinda left me feeling empty and useless.
After a good night’s sleep and a better perspective, I know I am not useless to them…but I find myself grieving for myself and rejoicing for them. I’m sad because they don’t need physical nourishment from me. They are not tiny babies any more. They can be physically independent of me. Weird. I’m also rejoicing because the nourishment I did give to them was intended to bring them to this point…what I did worked and worked well. They are all strong, healthy, bright, wonderful children. That’s the deal though as a mom, right? This tight rope walk between heart ache and pride…a delicate balance on the slippery slopes of a mother’s heart.
As a believer, I’ve gone through the same thing with the Lord. He didn’t get bronchitis and need to give up nursing me on the pure milk of the Word, but He has grown me and changed me and then challenged me to cut my teeth on tougher, more substantial truths in His Word. And I’ve resisted, wanting to go back to the easier times of nursing. It’s less work, simpler, more comforting. But, it doesn’t satisfy my spiritual hunger any longer. As a perfect parent, God knows that. He knows exactly how long we need that spiritual milk and when to wean us. There’s no guess-work. And if we trust Him, it happens so naturally and excellently. He grows us up in Him. He has plans for us to grow from spiritual babies into strong, healthy parts of the body of Christ. Still relying on Him, still trusting in Him, still humble, still aware of the smallness of ourselves and greatness of Him…but capable of representing Him, loving with His love, being Jesus to those around us, helping raise other spiritual babies. It’s such a great picture.
Lord, help me. Help me to grow in You. Satisfy my hunger for Your truth, for Your Word, for You alone. Thank You for being my all in all. Thank You for being patient with me and giving me the pure milk of the Word. Thank You for providing for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.