I am honored to have my good friend, Jessie Weaver, guest post this evening. She has been a great friend and prayer partner for almost ten years. Thanks Jessie 🙂
Breastfeeding has been a very sweet part of my relationships with my kids. I know it’s not that way for everyone, or even many. But for me, it’s been relatively easy (at least until the kids hit 9 months or so). And it feels like something I thrive at!
I can supply all the nutritional needs of a human being! I make milk! I make babies fat! My own body gives my children what they need—for free!
I can’t deny that it does begin to wear on me after awhile, though. My precious David has always been a major Mama’s Boy. His whole infancy, he just wanted to nurse. All the time. And he continued to nurse until he was 20 months old. (About when I got pregnant with Joshua, which I think is probably why he stopped.)
By the end of our nursing experience, I was pretty over it. He no longer needed those nutrients, although they didn’t hurt, of course. But I was tired of being screamed at every morning as he cried for “GAGA!” I was tired of being exposed in public as he pulled on my shirt.
The nursing relationship is very give, give, give, and you don’t get a whole lot from it, except some good snuggles and bursts of oxytocin.
In Numbers 11, Moses is plain fed up with feeling like a nursing mother. I can’t blame him, really, given that he was a pretty old dude responsible for what was probably more than a million people.
In this chapter, the “foreign rabble” traveling with the Israelites have begun to wish for Egypt—the food, in particular. Then all the people start complaining to Moses, wanting the vegetables they left instead of the manna God was providing miraculously every day.
In his complaint to God, Moses says, “Did I give birth to them? Did I bring them into the world? Why did you tell me to carry them in my arms like a mother carries a nursing baby? How can I carry them to the land you swore to give their ancestors? … I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy!” (vv. 12, 14).
No one can nurse a baby forever. Children are meant to detach from their parents.
It’s beautiful that God gives us leaders who are willing to carry us along like infants for a while, too. But leaders, just like parents, can’t carry that burden forever. Before God even took care of the “meat issue,” He assembled a pack of leaders for Moses to rely on, to ease his burden as a “parent” of these people.
Read Numbers 11 and see what happened to the Israelites and foreigners who succumbed to their whining and desires. It’s not pretty.
There comes a time for children to stop nursing and for Christians to stop being weights for their leaders.
Of this passage, Matthew Henry’s Commentary says, “We should not indulge in any desire which we cannot in faith turn into prayer, as we cannot when we ask meat for our lust. What is lawful of itself becomes evil, when God does not allot it to us, yet we desire it.”
Jessie Weaver is a freelance writer and editor and stay-at-home mom to three kids: Libbie (6), David (4), and Joshua (2). She and her family live on a private high-school campus in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her devotional, Parenting Parables, leads moms through 30 days of quick writings and some journaling to help them see God in the everyday moments and think about the Bible in new ways. You can grab it for $2.99 for Kindle or on PDF. You can also find her on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.