The Lord Gives and Takes Away: A Theological Treatise on Nursing

(Disclaimer: This post contains thoughts on nursing. Nothing graphic, but nursing makes some men uncomfortable. Guys, you are free to not read if you don’t want to.  But there is a sweet theological lesson in it all!)

The last couple of weeks have been increasingly difficult for Jeshuah and me and I haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly why until a few days ago. My milk supply is diminishing rapidly. He’s waking up in the early morning and in naps and in the night and crying…because he’s hungry!

When I began to suspect I was losing my supply, I started doing all the things you’re supposed to do when that happens: drink gallons of water, Mother’s Milk tea, take fennugreek and blessed thistle, pump all day long and nurse, nurse, nurse! I am strongly opposed to formula, so the thought of running of of milk, for me, is especially scary. I have just kept praying all these months that the Lord will keep up my milk to feed my baby.

But I know the Lord “gives and takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” If he takes my milk, who am I to question the higher wisdom of his plan?

As I sat pumping this morning, I remembered the early months of nursing. I had what they call an “oversupply” of milk. Not having enough milk was never my problem! The question was what to do with all the extra?! And you know what? I was proud of that fact. I was proud that I not only had milk, but that I have more than enough. I had enough to feed two or three babies! I had enough to donate and freeze and just plain throw away! Even though I firmly believed that, as much as milk is a product of “supply and demand,” some bodies just do not produce. If one person can have way too much milk for no apparent reason, another person can have a serious lack of milk for no fault of her own! That is what my head told me. There is something in me that wants to self-righteously say, “There is just no good reason a woman can’t nurse for as long as she wants to. I mean, just look at how much milk I have!”  But it is precisely the fact that I had too much milk that should have made me stop and think about what my attitude said. If milk is purely supply and demand, then my body should have eventually regulated to a lower supply.  But it isn’t that easy.  God is sovereign. Even over milk production! And the fact that we can run low is the result of living in a fallen world. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t even be talking about this.

Now my milk is diminishing for a reason unknown to me.  I haven’t changed anything I am doing.  I am having to ask for help and advice on how to increase my milk! It is humbling to me as I realize how much pride I had in my ability to produce milk. But as I sit on the couch doing everything humanly possible and crying out to God, I realize that my milk was a gift from God, who controls all things, that He did not have to give me, that He indeed choose not to give some women, and He can take at any time. Just as my milk is an undeserved gift from God, so is my salvation! How could I take pride in having much milk, when it was totally and completely a free gift from God?! Like I did something to accomplish having a ton of milk! In the same way, how can we hold pride that God, for some unknown reason chose us from the beginning of time to be His own–like we did something special to cause him to choose us! Salvation is nothing but grace, a sweet, precious gift from God that we did absolutely nothing to deserve. Nothing. I am no better than anyone else that He should grant me favor in His sight because of His son! Oh, what sweet joy is mine because of His good pleasure!

I will continue to do what I know to do to increase my supply.  But more than that, I will leave the sweet gift of milk in God’s capable hands, trusting that He knows what is best.  And if He gives; blessed be the name of the Lord! And if He takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord! But I cannot boast in my own works. It is only His good favor in all things. Praise God!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by crystal V on July 29, 2010 at 2:51 am should blog your thoughts and what you learn more often because THAT WAS REALLY NEAT TO READ. God is also teaching me about looking at daily life and HIS Word to learn things–I mean maybe that didn’t sound quite right but what I am trying to say is that He is trying to teach us about himself in the midst of our daily lives—because everything is all about HIm.


  2. Posted by brockjamieson on July 30, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Hey Ashley-Nicole! I really enjoyed reading this and can relate! Thanks for sharing these thoughts on God’s giving and taking:)
    Love Anna


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