My last two babies nursed all. the. time. Of course they “slept through the night” – they slept supremely well for 3 hours, until they needed their next milk fix. Of course, they didn’t “need” to eat, but it was like Ponderosa in the late 80’s and if you have chicken wings readily available, why not enjoy a few more for the sake of deliciousness? For my life situation, including 2-3 other sleeping children in rooms nearby, it was easier to feed them than endure the cries that come with learning to wait until breakfast, so I continued to nurse 2-3 times a night. It was simply life and it didn’t frustrate me much after I came to terms with it. (Though, saying it 6 months on the other side of sleeping only in 3 hour increments, I sound more gracious than what I perhaps felt at the time.)
One to two days after we fully weaned, my children didn’t wake for feedings. It didn’t take long to remind them that the shop was closed and dark time was for sleeping, not the buffet. Within the week, there was a new freedom to our relationship. They didn’t just want me to feel better, which they had historically achieved by filling their belly. Now our snuggles and our time together, just living each day, filled that need.
One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, chooses to refer to God in the feminine and I appreciate her bringing to light the fact that God carries both natures – he created both man and woman in his image. I think only a God who created nursing mothers would inspire the words of King David in Psalm 131.
My heart is not proud, Lord;
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed myself
and quieted my ambitions.
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
The great King David, the one who put mighty Israel on the map. The man who ruled, bringing prosperity to all, with an eye and a heart for the downtrodden. A king, who, when you overlook that adultery, murder and misuse of power mishap, gave a great face to the God of Israel. In fact, I was reading about the idea of “the Kingdom of God” and much of our understanding of that phrase goes back to David’s rule, where it was understood to be a manifestation of God’s reign among his people. To say that David did great and mighty things – “great matters or things too wonderful” – would be an understatement. David was not a sit-back-and-see-what-happens kinda guy.
But this bit of poetry casts David’s heart in a new light. While he was all about the Lord’s work, he also knew his place. His relationship with God became such that he didn’t constantly crave what God could give him, but rather God’s presence. Like a weaned child – not a child driven by a belly’s growl. Not a baby, who, though she loves her mother, defines her mother’s love by what is given or how often it is offered.
Like a weaned child I am content. God has provided. He has proven his ability to give what I need. Now I don’t need God to serve me to be content with him.
Reading this, I’m prone to believe that there was a time in David’s life that he was concerned with great matters. Being a King, one would hope so. But this particular phase in life, David calmed himself and quieted his ambitions. Now David and God connected through presence, not productivity. David didn’t stop ruling the nation; he simply stopped believing that provision was the only way to understand or experience God.
It turns out, the hand of God, or – more accurately, from this Psalm – the breast of God, isn’t the only way draw close to