Friday, July 3, 2009

Jehovah Jireh

I love breastfeeding. I know there are plenty of women out there who do not like a single thing about it, and some who were just never able to, but I have to say, unabashedly, I love breastfeeding. Now don’t get me wrong, we have had our rough spots. The first two weeks of it, with all three girls, are by far right up there with childbirth pains. To have a tiny little cheese-grater rubbing against such a tender and sensitive area is not easy at all. And I have just recently recovered from a nasty bout of mastitis, but after that has healed, it’s smooth sailing.

I love being able to hold my sweet angel so close, so tight, so intimate, to watch her nursing and know that she is growing strong and healthy because of what it coming from my body. It really is just amazing. To see her facial expressions go from one of anxious hunger to peaceful satisfaction as she is gulping down my milk is so rewarding as a mommy. And those tender moments when she falls asleep on the breast, her satisfied smile breaking the latch on the breast as she rolls back into deep slumber. It’s enough to make me cry such joy. I know that I have provided for her and she is at peace. I just love it.

On the flipside, it absolutely breaks my heart when I cannot provide for her. Those times when she is so worked up in her infant cries, too mad to calm down and suckle, too overcome by the circumstance to realize that all she has to do is suck; those times frustrate and sadden me. All I can is hold her close and tight until she calms down enough to eat again.

“Calm down baby girl. Shhhhh. Settle down so you can. Shhhh,” says the mommy in order to soothe her baby.

I am reminded that it is also a reflection of the goodness of our God, who so loves to take care and provide for His children, if only the children will calm down enough to look to Him. I imagine that God feels that same sort of satisfaction when we allow Him to be our provider, protector and caretaker, as a baby is lulled back to peaceful rest by the loving care and provision of her mother.

Often times, especially in this culture, we are quick to take care of situations ourselves. We are accustomed to having things planned out and knowing where our next meal will come from. We are accustomed to having steady jobs with consistent incomes, and should we lack anything, we can simply hop in the car and head to the local Walmart or Target without ever giving it a thought. We are accustomed to providing for ourselves. It’s just how life happens here. It is so incredibly difficult to learn to depend on God here.

In 2001, I made my first trip to Kenya. I knew that it would change me forever, but I had no idea how much it would rock my world. Incidentally, that was when I met the man who would later become my husband, but that’s a different story. I lived in a small village several hours from any city, and the water pipes that supplied the wells for the people had been high jacked by a corrupt government. So at any point in time, the water flow to the village would be cut off, diverted somewhere else, and our wells would run dry. For days. No water. For days. Imagine going days without any water available. No showers. No flushing toilets. No cleaning cookware. No washing laundry. I was volunteering at a missionary hospital at the time, and we would have to trek down a few miles to a nearby creek, fill up buckets of water from the creek, and tote them the miles back to the hospital so that we could scrub in for surgery. Scrubbing in with creek water. This was the first time in my life that I knew what it was to truly depend on God as Provider, Jehovah Jireh. The people of the village would come together and pray. I mean PRAY. Cry out to God for the very sustenance they needed to survive. And God would send rain to fill the wells. God would provide, and I believe that He smiled with such joy as His children danced with gratitude in that rain that He provided. I believe that He loves to provide, if only His children would ask.

Jesus was teaching when he said this:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?”

So, for as much as we are able to ask, God loves to provide, but we have to make sure that we are asking for the right things with right motives. James admonishes us with this:

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Ouch. I think he’s calling us selfish, materialistic. Yeah, he’s probably right. You see, I believe that God loves to give and provide for His children, as a fantastic father would, but that He reserves the right to lavish upon us if the resources He provides will not glorify His name. Maybe our hearts have not learned gratitude, or maybe we have not learned how to be content with the overabundance that we already have. Who knows the reasons? His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

Well, we are now moving into a new challenge. I have officially completed #63 on my list of 101 goals, which was to resign from my job and become a stay/work at home mom. It actually just means that I have shifted my focus of ministry from the hospital to my family and Unite 4 Africa. This comes with challenges as we continually pray for God to provide for our daily bread. We are praying for the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills to bless us as we walk in obedience to His calling. This can easily bring up panic in me, stressing over things that I cannot control, as I like to have the plan laid out for me, to know in advance…I want to know that everything will easily be taken care of and we don’t have to sacrifice anything. As if life worked that way.

Can you hear it?

“Shhhh, baby girl. Just calm down. Settle down, and know that I am God, your Father. Shhh, baby girl,” says Abba Father in order to sooth His daughter to trust and believe.

Two things I ask of you, of Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches,
But give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

Praise You Father, Jehovah Jireh.

What about you? What are you believing God for in your life?

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1 comment:

  1. Shauna, I love breastfeeding too. It's such a special, intimate, wonderful gift.

    It's not always easy. I definitely related to this statement that you made: "The first two weeks of it, with all three girls, are by far right up there with childbirth pains..."

    But it IS worth it.

    And it is a great "picture" of Christ's love for us. Thanks for pointing that out.


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