For the first time in almost 15 months, I went all day without nursing.
I think Eliana’s just about done with it. And while it’s nice to have a small break, since Little Sis is due exactly 4 months from today (WHAT?!?!), I can’t help but feel a little bit sad.
I mean, I knew this was coming. It’s fairly common for babies to quit nursing when their mommas get pregnant, and she’s just been less and less interested the more interested she becomes in the world around her. But this has been a journey. Despite a bit of a rough start, things were fairly smooth after the first couple of weeks. I quickly became one of those mommas who loves nursing.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Eliana’s newborn days lately. I remember crying a lot that first week or two. I was an overwhelmed, fearful, overjoyed new momma. That crazy cocktail of new momma hormones definitely had something to do with it, but I’m also an emotional person by nature (duh) and I was convinced my two week old was just growing up too fast.
And the Lord saw that momma.
And he spoke to her, maybe in a way he’s never spoken to her before. Because the change, my friends, seemed instant. The way that peace washed up over her heart and her life and still washes up over her every. single. day? He didn’t scold her for her fear. He didn’t chastise her.
He invited her.
He invited her to make the choice between a life with grasping hands and squinted eyes– always straining to see the future instead of looking at what’s right in front of her, always snatching at moments as they pass instead of feeling the way they gently move through her hands the way sand does– and a life with open eyes and open hands, ready to be filled and emptied, filled and emptied.
He invited her to be filled and emptied. Over and over again.
But how can she be sure that once she’s emptied, she’ll ever be filled again? How can the fullness be enjoyed if it’s only meant to be given away?
Is this not the beauty of the Gospel, sweet friends?
“It’s what God had been doing from the beginning, of course. Taking the nothing and making it everything. Taking the emptiness and filling it up. Taking the darkness and making it light.”
When he met that momma that day, there on that brown couch while she held her newborn baby with tears running down her face, he gave her a gift. A gift of trust. Trust that grasping and squinting don’t make things slow down or become more memorable. Trust that this abundant life is in the seasons, the time coming and going. That “hurry up and get here” doesn’t make for an abundant life, but neither does “wait, wait slow down.” She didn’t want to be one of those mommas always lamenting that her first baby was growing up too fast. Because she isn’t. She’s enjoying and living each day that the Lord graciously gives her, and shouldn’t her sweet momma do the same?
To this momma who had been told the lie that she would have to be perpetually sad that her children were growing and growing and growing, Jesus spoke the truth that growing and growing and growing is a gift to be cherished by giving and giving and giving.
Maybe to you it seems like I’ve overspiritualized something that’s just a part of everyday life, but I think my point is that everyday life is deeply spiritual, if we pay attention. And I think that this is why I don’t have to be depressed about my sweet baby not nursing anymore. That even as I lose a part of our relationship, I can celebrate. Because she’s growing and growing and growing.
And I get to find new ways to give and give and give.
New ways to trust.
That empty hands will be filled again.
That abundant life doesn’t mean clenching up, it means opening up.
That I can say “yes” to all that Jesus has for me without squinting first to try and figure out what it is.
That He is good.
And then, last fall, I found myself saying “YES! YES!” as I read a post by Ann Voskamp who says it so beautifully:
“You can have it all” — isn’t the whole truth.
No matter where you are— it’s never all easy. A crop is made by all the seasons and the only way to have it all — is not at the same time… but letting one season bring its yield into the next.
This is how to have no fear —
each season makes a full year
The only way to have it all… is to have Jesus – and like Him — to give it all away.