I’ve never loved nursing my babies. I don’t hate it – aside from the first few toe-curling weeks when we are both getting used to it. But I have also never been one of those women who loves it so much that they are sad when they wean their babies.
To me, it’s just how I feed my baby. It’s somehow simultaneously convenient (I can feed her anytime, anywhere) and yet inconvenient (I can’t leave her for long and very few of my dresses are being worn right now). But I’m not sad when we graduate to a bottle of whole milk before bed.
That is, until my four month old Juliette decided that nursing time is also story time. She has started using the time to repeatedly stop drinking to lean her head back against the nursing pillow to search my eyes, grin and coo at me. Is she trying to tell me about her dreams? About what her sister did to her when I stepped out of the room a few minutes prior? Is she giving her compliments to the chef?
These sweet moments drove me to my Bible to find a Psalm I vaguely recalled, that mentioned nursing babes. A quick word search led me to Psalm 22, perhaps one of the most recognizable psalms (next, of course, to the one that follows it).
A psalm of David, it begins with one of Jesus’ sayings from the cross, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1, ESV). In the subsequent verses, David details his suffering and feelings of abandonment by God, while also, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, detailing aspects of the crucifixion.
The psalmist (and later, Jesus) is surrounded by jeering foes and he feels forsaken. But then comes verses 9-10:
“Yet You are He who took me from the womb;
You made me trust You at my mother’s breasts.
On You was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb You have been my God.”
“Yet”. Three letters that spell a turning point for David. He recalls God’s faithfulness to him from the days of his birth. Our covenant God had His grip on David, even as a newborn nursing infant.
And so, reminded of this knowledge, David calls out to God in verse 11: “Be near to me, for trouble is near.” He continues on pleading to God in prayer, armed with the remembrance of His faithfulness.
I now think of this psalm whenever I nurse Juliette. I pray that God, who took her from my womb, will make her trust Him even as she trusts me to feed her. I pray that He will be her God even from my womb, that she will never know a day apart from Him.
The Coming Generation
The days will come when she, like all of us at times, will feel abandoned by God. But I pray that feeling will drive her (and us) to lean on God’s faithfulness and call on Him to be near to us.
The psalm ends with these words:
“Posterity shall serve Him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
they shall come and proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that He has done it.” (Ps.22:30-31, ESV).
Let us continue to proclaim to our children, from their nursing days and onward, His righteousness – and that He has done it.