“For they cannot bear meat now, but milk they must receive; wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish. Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.” (D&C 19:22-23)”
My nursling is going through a growth spurt and it seems like I have been nursing non-stop the last few weeks. Sitting with him, staring into his trusting eyes, has given me some time and I have been thinking a lot about the spiritual symbolism of nursing.
The first thought that has impressed itself upon my soul, so strongly, is the fact that breast milk is sweet. (And yes I know this because I have tasted it. Don’t get too grossed out, sometimes you can’t help but taste it when it is spraying all over you! ) Breast milk is high in lactose (natural milk sugar), and is actually the most sweet when a baby is first born.
The Lord has told us that “… all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual” (Moses 6:63) and that He has specifically designed this earth and our mortal life to teach us valuable lessons. When we know that it makes even simple things, like the fact that breast milk is sweet, a beautiful testament of God.
How precious is that God designed it so that the first taste of life that every child gets– is sweet.
Breast milk, and a mother’s role in delivering that milk, is a precious reminder of God’s love for us. A mother gives her milk freely, requiring nothing from the child and likewise our Savior invites us, “… every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and … buy… milk without money and without price.” (Isaiah 55:1) He offers us his milk, his precious sweet milk, of forgiveness, love and mercy with the tender charity of a mother. God is no respecter of persons and it doesn’t matter if a child is born to royalty or to a prostitute, if their birth is celebrated or despaired, or if their body is perfect or flawed; their life was designed by God to be sweet.
His love for each of us is the same.
The other thing that I have been thinking a lot about is something Robyn quoted me as saying in her essay in our book about how breastfeeding is symbolic of the relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. In her essay I said:
It has always really impressed me that a baby has to work pretty hard to get its milk. It has to learn how to latch on and then they have to suck and suck for a while before anything gets flowing. It can be frustrating and slow at the start. Yet the more they suck the more milk their mother produces. If they were to stop sucking, the milk would go away, but when they ask for more, it comes in abundance.
I think that is just like our Father in Heaven. He has told us “ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” He has living water for us, but we have to be willing to ask Him for it, over and over again. Sometimes we even have to work, and it takes a while before anything comes.
If we give up and scream and cry because what we want isn’t coming fast enough, then we miss out. We have to keep working and asking, and soon His living water begins to flow—like a river. It amazes me that this is one of the very first lessons that we are taught when we come to this earth. God could have made breastfeeding a much different process, but I think He knew that His children needed to learn this right away.
I have been wrestling and pondering some spiritual questions lately and have been feeling so frustrated that I don’t understand. I want, so badly, to see and understand more than I do right now. Yet it seems like there are some things that just don’t make sense to me. I lack understanding, and I hate it. Really, hate it.
Then as I was watching my little boy tug at my breast I was reminded that the Lord does not always teach us everything we need, or want to know, all at once. Learning in this life comes line upon line, precept upon precept and we can’t rush it or demand more until we are ready for it. If we want more understanding, if we want to see the glories that God has prepared for us, we need to come to His breast– several times a day– and ask for His precious milk. It is just waiting there, sweet and nourishing, and He is yearning to take us in His arms. We just have to ask for it.
I can bear testimony that the Lord has beautiful truths to teach us, the mysteries of the universe are not beyond our grasp, but just like a child we must learn how to nestle ourselves into His arm, and look up into His face with perfect faith, and ask until we receive.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt. 7:7)