Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sincere Milk

IRL: Early morning naps... at least for one of us!
As any mom will tell you, babies take up a lot of your time. You can rarely do things for yourself  when you actually want to do them. This statement is especially true if you are nursing your baby yourself.
  • You can't eat dinner with your family if the baby needs to be fed.
  • You can'y go to the bathroom if the baby needs to be fed.
  • You can't cook meals if the baby needs to be fed.
  • You can't finish folding the laundry if the baby needs to be fed.
  • And you definitely cannot sleep at nighttime if the baby needs to be fed.
On the one hand, this constant feeding process has brought to light how selfish I can be. I whine because I can't get all the normal things done during the day because I have to feed someone every 2 hours (30+ minutes of which are gone because of feeding, burping, and changing). I grumble and complain because I'm starving and just for once I wish someone else could feed the baby so I can eat when everyone else is eating.

There's a great Christ-like, sacrificial attitude, huh?

I also get mad because my son has a milk protein sensitivity meaning I can no longer consume dairy products or beef without his having major digestive issues. I'll tell ya, not eating cheese feels like a monumental sacrifice some days!

I have been tempted SO MANY TIMES, out of convenience to myself, to switch to formula. Yes, that synthetic substitute would've been in my house long ago were it not for the overwhelming cost of formula and the major benefits of breast milk.

Some days, it's only because of the cost.

Before proceeding, please allow me to point out that this post is certainly NOT an attempt to open up a debate about breastfeeding. Don't get side-tracked here, folks. Just stick with the ANALOGY.

To put this milk thing into a spiritual context, let's first consider 1 Peter 2:2:
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby."
Seems simple enough. Read your Bible, right? But there is so much more meaning in this passage. To discover the greater meaning here (and the meaning that really stood out to me in my devotional time this morning), let's get the context...

Read 1 Peter 1:18-2:3.

I don't find it coincidental that after we are instructed to "[love] one another with a pure heart, fervently" (v. 22), we are also admonished to "[lay] aside all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings" (v. 1) and to "desire" and "grow" in the word of God.

Verses 23-25 give more detail about why our priorities should be for the word of God, don't they?

  1. The word of God "lives," "abides," and "[endures] for ever." FOREVER!
  2. By comparison, how long do these verses say that the "flesh" and "glory of man" lasts? (Hint: NOT LONG!)

Therefore, what should preachers and spiritually mature Christians be feeding to newborn baby Christians (and everyone else, for that matter)? I know the answer seems simple (i.e. the word of God), but I am so discouraged by today's Christian culture in America.

We do ourselves, other Christians, and the lost world we are trying to reach a HUGE disservice because we try to give them synthetic food instead of the real stuff. We try to feed them Christian maxims, Christian-isms, Christian books, Christian slogans, Christian t-shirts, Christian bumper stickers, "happy thoughts," and the like instead of feeding them the things we've gleaned from the actual word of God.

Most Christians seem to go way out of their way to do this. They'll only attend church if they don't have to teach, or they'll only teach if the church provides a curriculum. They'll pay big bucks for special Christian conferences and retreats, or willingly drive across town to hit up their local Christian bookstore for supplies. Their lives scream: "We will do anything to not have to study for ourselves!"

Honestly, how many of us are comfortable simply picking up our Bibles and letting the Holy Spirit teach us His word? How many of us would rather just pick up a devotional or "bible study" written by someone else?

Why? Because it's easier. It requires less time, less thought, less energy.

But just like formula feeding, there is a major cost, my friend.

Back to my analogy for a minute: 
>>One of the benefits of breastmilk is that it is easier to digest--so much so that breastfed babies' poops don't smell as bad as formula fed babies' poops (no lie). Breastmilk is the perfect food for babies; there's no additives, preservatives, or extra stuff that can't be digested. 
In the same way, God's Word is so much easier to digest. You don't have to weed through someone else's misgivings and untruths to get to God's truth. You are going straight to the source. You're not relying on someone else to do your homework for you; you're not relying on someone's answers that could be wrong!
If you are too busy to study the Bible for yourself, you are too busy. If you think you have to have someone else chewing up the word into little pieces for you to swallow (for whatever reason), you're wrong.

You don't need to have a degree in order to study God's Word for yourself. You need the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of you--that's it!

I know that I have talked about this subject before, but I don't think I can emphasize enough how important it is for you to study your Bible without the aid of the latest Christian speaker or Bible Study author.

If you want some tips on how to have success with this type of REAL study, please read this post: Gifting This Week: A Deep Clean Inside & Out.

Stop drinking formula and get hooked on the real stuff!

Much love,
~Mrs. D.

P.S. I recently purchased this vinyl wall decal to remind myself to have a better attitude: Psalms 118:24.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Parenting Note: The First Few Weeks

Almost 6 weeks ago now (has it really been that long?!), we finally got to meet our son in person. 31 hours after my water broke, his tiny flailing body (complete with wide-open eyes and a crying mouth) was placed into my arms.

And it was SO worth every minute of pain, uncertainty, and downright deliriousness (primarily from a lack of sleep and food) for that one incredible moment.

The amazing moments with our son continue each day, too. From the first time he held up his head to the way he now follows me across the room with his eyes and turns his head to talk to me. What a precious, wonderful (AMAZING, AWESOME, ASTOUNDING, OUTSTANDING etc.) gift from Above.

If nothing else, please allow me to say that if you are married and able to have kids, you should. Period. There is nothing like it in this whole world.

Sure, my home is no longer spotless (if it ever really was) and my body may never be quite the same (kangaroo pouch, I'm looking at you!). Even as I started typing this post today, I noticed poop on my sleeve from this morning's diaper blow out.

Whatever! It's only a little poop...

These trivial frustrations dissolve when compared to the enormity of this tiny person's physical and spiritual care being placed in our charge.

Truly, a learning curve exists when it comes to having your first kid (nursing, diapers, schedules, etc.). But what has become more evident to me in the last week or so (as the initial fog has worn off) are the amazing spiritual pictures God paints for us through parenting.

As I have the time, I hope to share some of what He's shown me through my new role as a mom. For now, though, I hope you are all well and enjoying your summer. We are enjoying it here at The Shore.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
<3 Mrs. D.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Living in the Real World

Elephant in the room: Yes, I've been gone a while. What started out as a time of reflection for me, to evaluate the point of my blog and its future direction, turned into a much longer hiatus than I had predicted.

To be honest, the long break has been nice. I have enjoyed living life in the real world. When you're blogging, it's so easy to allow your blog to become an obsession, to spend all your time focussing on what to post next, that you forget to focus on the life right in front of you. Life in the real world.

WARNING: This kind of tunnel vision can happen with any type of media, whether you are creating it or simply observing it.

I also felt blogging was pulling me away from baking, creating, writing, etc. for the right reasons. Was I trying to develop a new recipe because I was trying to please my husband or because I couldn't wait to post about it (hello, pride)? Was I writing something because God had laid it on my heart or because I felt pressured (by myself) to "get in another post"?

I don't want to be puffed up with pride, and I don't want to post things that are teeming with selfishness or other wrong motivators.

We need to be God-honoring in all that we do.

So, even though I have not fully decided where to go from here on The Shore, I wanted to say something about where I've been, mentally.

We are still waiting for little man to arrive... he should arrive this month. Pretty soon we'll be changing diapers, nursing, and everything else that newborns require.

We can barely contain our excitement over it all because it feels like we've been waiting so long to have a kid! I still can't believe how much God has blessed us in giving us this new life to shepherd and take care of.

He is so good.

I hope & pray you know that from your own life experience, that God is good even when things seem bad. God is good.

Love to you all,
~Mrs. D.