*Disclaimer: if the discussion of breastfeeding isn’t your cup of tea, you may want to skip this post and wait for another cute baby photo update*
I’ve been meditating on Psalm 34:8 often in the past four (nearly five…) weeks. “Taste and see that the Lord is good…”
Mostly I meditate on it at 3 in the morning. When I’m tired. So if my thoughts are completely incoherent, blame it on motherhood and humor me!
The only disappointment I’ve had a new mother is an infant who refuses to breastfeed. Since he was an hour old, I was working with lactation consultants to try to help him figure it out. According to our medical advisers, a slightly-early, full-term baby sometimes hasn’t fully developed his sucking reflex. In particular, when combined with the need to suck, swallow and breathe, his coordination can be a bit off. We worked with this poor child for hours, spoon feeding him when he wouldn’t latch. While a larger, full-term baby can stand to wait while he figures out nursing, my tiny 6 lb 8 oz cherub couldn’t afford to loose much weight, and particularly couldn’t afford to have his blood sugar drop. By the end of his first day, Alexander was on formula. I felt discouraged and helpless, although carefully counted my blessings that I had a way to feed him at all. He ate well, and I have a supportive husband who bottle fed him while I pumped milk (or tried, it was about four days before my milk came in).
I’ve seen three different lactation consultants, multiple trained nurses, two pediatricians and more helpful moms than I can count. This sweet child still won’t nurse. He’s showing signs of improvement. He’s latched about four times now. Often, our sessions are little more than cuddle time, while he contemplates sucking and waits patiently to be handed over to Daddy for an easy meal.
So why Psalm 34?
I blame it on the first lactation consultant we saw. She kept sweet talking Alexander, encouraging him to “taste.” I’ve continued using that word with him, generally with no success. But for whatever reason Psalm 34 popped into my head one night. And I was immediately hit with how our heavenly Father must feel about us many times. He sits, waiting for us to taste and see that He is good. He is the ultimate good. Receiving our spiritual food directly from His hand is the best it can get.
But we act more like my infant son.
We arch our backs and pull away. We hold our breath until our face turns red. We kick and punch and pinch (ow!). We miss the mark, sucking on knuckles and arms. We purse our lips and clench our jaws and stubbornly refuse assistance. We go to sleep. We wildly throw our heads about, screaming all the while that it isn’t easy enough and we just want our food!
How many times has this momma been brought to tears by a child I desperately want to help, who simply cannot cooperate. How many times have I brought my heavenly Father to tears as He seeks to guide me to His spiritual food and I push away seeking an easier and more instant meal?
Breastfeeding is hard work for an infant. They really have go for it and exert some energy to get what they want. My son hasn’t figure this out yet. He is often content to make a kissy face and slurp up whatever milk may drip into his mouth. He likes to nestle his mouth just under the nipple and let the milk slowly trickle in. Sometimes he won’t even swallow and the milk runs down his cheek. Of course, if this were the only way he ate, he would starve. So he gets a bottle – easy feeding compared to breastfeeding. While we use low-flow nipples and employ pace feeding, he’s always thrilled to get that bottle in his mouth.
Likewise, growing in spiritual maturity is also hard work. To intentionally draw close to the Lord, to seek to emulate His ways, to practice what He preached, to be like the Bereans, to work out our salvation – these things take time and effort and energy. Often, I find 100 other things to do with my time, effort and energy than seek the Lord and the food He has prepared for me. So I slurp up tiny servings at church, in a blog, in 15 minutes here or there when I feel I can spare a moment. I avoid the hard work of really digging into the Word and seeking the Lord’s face.
How my Father must weep at this.
I’ve shared with many women that I believe parenthood is another method God uses in our sanctification. Parenthood is designed to push us back into the arms of our Father, to light a fire under our complacent selves, and to spur us on toward holiness. Less than 5 weeks in, and I’m already feeling that pull to draw closer to the Father.
How has the Lord used your children to teach you about Himself?