12 April, 2013

Thoughts of a Nursing Ewe

Grant is refusing to nurse again. We went through this same struggle 4 weeks ago and I hoped I would never have to deal with it again. There is nothing quite like the feeling of nursing your baby until they contentedly fall asleep. Nursing has been one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. It has also been one of the most challenging. There are times that my baby latches on, takes a few sucks, makes a face like my milk tastes disgusting and begins to cry. I know he is hungry because it has been a long time since he last ate, but still he refuses to nurse. It feels like utter (udder, haha!) rejection. I feel as though I have some sort of malfunction and my baby does not like me anymore. Combine that with sleep deprivation and the fact that he seems to smile and coo more for Ben, it can be pretty heartbreaking. I guess this is the life of a mother. You pour yourself into your children selflessly, even when it hurts.

After another night of poor sleep and another morning of Grant not nursing, Ben shared a verse with me that he found as he was preparing his Sunday sermon. I like it best in the NASB.

"Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs,
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes."
Isaiah 40:11 (NASB)

I need to be gently led today. To feel the soft touch of God's strong hand guiding me. I need gentleness as I deal with the harsh sounds of the city and a screaming baby who doesn't want to nurse. I need to know that my little lamb is safe in His bosom. I need His life, as mine is exhausted.

I want answers, but I don't need them. What I need is to trust in You as You lead me through this.

So many worries and big decisions. What's wrong with my baby? What's wrong with me? Am I doing the right things? Am I doing enough? I'm dizzy and disoriented with questions! I can't even take a step for fear of going the wrong direction.

Sheep are pack animals. Their defense is to group together as a flock and follow each other. If poorly led, they will follow each other to their deaths. This is instilled at an early age, as mothers encourage their young to follow them as they follow the flock. This begs the question: If I am a sheep, who am I teaching my lamb to follow? Where am I leading him while he is young? To life? Or to death?

Someday, he will be old enough to follow on his own. Who will he follow? The sheep? Or the Shepherd? Do I follow the Shepherd myself? I confess, not always. Sometimes I follow the other sheep. Sometimes, I wander off on my own, tired and weary, and become easy prey for the Enemy.

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might, He increases power."
Isaiah 40:28-29 (NASB)

It's the same lesson I have to learn over and over again:
"Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so."

The Bible spells it out in black and white that He loves me. But HE spells it out each day in love, provision, and blessings overflowing. There is no better leader for this nursing ewe than the Gentle Shepherd who sees the nations as a drop in a bucket, but has called each star by name and forgets not a single one.

For all you nursing ewes out there, He does not forget you. He will gently lead you. Just follow and bring your little lamb along.