Sunday, May 1, 2011

On How Breastfeeding Nursed Me

No, this post is not about how breastfeeding strengthened the wonderful bond between my son and I. That could probably be the subject for another post, even though, I suspect that you all have heard enough about it. Nonetheless I have to take a moment to let you know that I solemnly declared myself a passionate advocate of nursing. Yes the kind that you see nursing in all sorts of places like the back of her car, a restaurant, a class, etc...  And yes, the kind that some look at, like “What in the world..?”...but many others, now more and more look at with such respect and tenderness...After all it’s not in vain that at some point of our nursing journey my husband started calling me “wonder woman”. Yes, that’s true, but the kind that instead of wearing a superhero cape wears a nursing cover! =). 
However, I have to be honest with you and tell you that this “title” didn’t “happen” until later in our breastfeeding experience. Actually starting was not easy. Not easy at all. It was physically painful and required a lot of time and persistence. However, I don’t regret one bit of it and I am very grateful for how much I learned about mothering through sacrifice and how much intimacy I developed with my son, Garrick.  So I wholeheartedly encourage all expectant mothers to nurse if you can! Even if it’s painful at the beginning. There is so much help available! -To name a couple of my favorite sites: or Don’t be shy to look for it. I promise, I promise, I promise, it gets better with time and you will never regret it! You can do it for a little or long as you want and both your baby and yourself will get so much out of it!

"Daddy also gets to his own, unique way.." =)

Ok, with this said, let me get to the heart of how I got nursed thru breastfeeding. I think it would help if I tell you that nursing, for me, has been, on top of everything else, a spiritual experience.  Through it, the Lord has revealed himself to me as “My Ultimate Provider” like never before.  To be honest with you this word “provider” is such a churchy word, and is used so often in religious circles that it’s very often taken for granted. Actually, I think this may happen more often in countries like the U.S where we live. We are so infinitely blessed, that when we thank God for his provision, we are referring for the most part to those things that we could really do without, but we have grown so used to needing:  popularity, a best friend, a nicer car, a better figure, a brighter brain, a better income, etc.  A good way to put it is how Francis Chan said in his book, “Forgotten God”, which I highly recommend:  “We hardly ever find ourselves in situations where we really, really need God’s provision because we live such safe and insured lives!”  If you’re not  part of the small segment of the population that have gone through a very critical health situation or life crisis, to whom my heart goes out, when was the last time that you asked God to provide a place for you to sleep that night or a meal to eat? I am part of that small group of people in the world that can’t remember to have ever done it. Believe me it’s not a memory loss problem. It has never happen. What a blessing! However, in some instances, what a curse! I know, I know, that’s a strong word.  By now you’re probably turning skeptical about these write up. But just let me explain briefly what I mean. I am not against being fiscally responsible, looking after our family welfare and wanting the best for ourselves and beloved ones. But when these wants set us in a path that make us put all these things as the top priority of our lives, and therefore our time, money, and mental and emotional energy and even our prayers are mostly devoted to it, then I think we can miss the greater blessings that are only possible after knowing God as our truly provider, and not ourselves. And I think that not knowing God as He wants us to know Him is a curse. After all His word says that Eternal life is all about that, about getting to know Him.

"He nurses me with lessons on the masculine, adventurous side of life"

Ok, now let me tell you how I got from nursing to lifestyle comparisons. Throughout my nursing experience I remembered an old lesson on the meaning of God’s name:  “El Shaddai “. For those of you who don’t know, the first word “El” is indicative of the greatness of God’s power. And the second word “Shaddai” is derived from a word that means “breast”, which implies “one who nourishes, supplies and satisfies.”  So God wants and intends to provide abundantly and most satisfactorily to us and He is the only one who has the power to do just that.  It wasn’t until I went through the experience of nursing my baby that I was able to understand how He wants to provide the very best for me, and just what I truly need, in the same way my breast milk is the best food I can provide for my baby and the one that is the most satisfying for him. Every time that Garrick cried, and I knew he just needed me to feed him, I was delighted to be able to respond to his need. (Of course, the delight didn’t really start until he was able to sleep thru the night), But I knew that his need of me was a life sustaining matter. And every time that I have been able to respond to his need,  his delighted face while nursing was such a clear picture of “how” much God desires me to need Him, and how much power he has to truly satiate my true needs. Furthermore, even the first month of suffering while I was getting started, those first weeks so full of sleep deprivation and physical pain and exhaustion when I didn’t even have energy to face the world were also very revealing on how God gave Himself to provide salvation for me.  So that is the spiritual truth he nursed my spirit with. That’s how He nursed me while I breastfed Garrick, or better I should say that’s how He revealed His ongoing nursing me. Because, in contrast to what we mothers, sooner or later do, He never weans me. El Shaddai never weans us!
So I leave you with these questions that I asked myself after considering what I just shared with you: Do you really need God? Would taken God out of the picture of your life make a real, noticeable difference? Could others notice if He weren’t part of your life? Are you relying on Him or yourself to satisfy your needs? When was the last time that you examined what you normally crave for and how does that align with what the Lord wants you to?
Believe me I wasn’t totally happy with my answers. But thanks God for his transforming, ever faithful and empowering grace!

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