Bottoms up!

I recently became the mother of two. There are so many new emotions, joys, and lessons that come along with welcoming an additional child into the family. The newest challenge I face is getting ready to go back to work and preparing our three-month-old baby girl for this transition. My first daughter (now almost four years old) never took to feeding from a bottle, and my second seems to be no different. Time after time, I face the same disappointment and feel terribly wasteful as I dump out the unfinished milk.

As the precious nourishment disappears down the drain, I wish she could somehow understand that what I’m doing is for her own good. I wish she could understand that this milk is just as good as the usual serving; it’s just in different packaging. It’s not as warm, cozy, soft, and comforting, but it is perfectly suited to her future needs. I wish she could understand that I’m not trying to upset her or withhold what she wants to hurt her or because I don’t understand her hungry and frustrated cries. I do it because I love her and want her to be able to cope with the changes that are about to come and ease her into this next stage in our lives.

As the start date of my new job looms closer, I’m starting to feel the stress. Standing over the sink one evening, I found myself thinking about the last six months and how much has changed for our family. Over a year ago, my husband and I opened a very successful business with two of our closest friends. We had put off having our second child to devote our full attention to this endeavor. Our work and those we worked with brought a lot of joy into our lives. It was a dream come true, and we had great hopes for the future. That said, after the business took off, we were looking forward to a slightly slower-paced year to focus more on our family.

But just before entering our second year, there was a disagreement with one of our business partners on a matter of principle. Rather suddenly, three of us ended up losing our entire investment in the business and more. It was a heartbreaking loss on so many levels.

I heaved a sigh as I came back to the present and swallowed the lump in my throat. Why did this have to happen? Why do I have to now be in a position where I must leave my little one so soon? Why did this person hurt us so deeply? Each year presents brand-new ways of testing our endurance, and this one takes the cake. When will we be able to take a breather?

My mind at that moment was definitely not focused on spiritual things, but just then, a thought struck me, like an understanding that had suddenly been injected in the midst of my troubled train of thought. What I’m going through with my baby could be compared to what God must do in our lives at times. He only wants good things for us, but sometimes the things He allows to come into our lives don’t seem good to us at all. What’s being shoved in our face is awkward, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable. We can’t see much beyond the big obnoxious thing, and we feel separated from the warmth and closeness that we have grown accustomed to.

Just like my baby, my soul was crying out, not seeing how any good could come out of this situation. Thankfully, I have a heavenly Father who is all-knowing and all-powerful, who will never give up on me even in my moments of weakness. He gently whispers as He wipes away the tears, “I will not withhold what you need. I know it seems difficult and you are distressed, but, My dear child, I know what you need for your next stage in life. I want to equip you with the skills that you need, and if you trust Me and take what I’m offering, you will soon see that you will be filled and satisfied just as before. But you will now be wiser and better able to embrace the future and what I have in store for you.”

How it must hurt our Father when we don’t trust Him and we let His precious offerings slip away, when we meet His best efforts to help us with resistance and loud protests. How many of His gifts have I let pass me by, or just nibbled at and not fully partaken of? All that goodness could be mine if I would only trust, yield to His wishes, resolve to embrace change, and put in just a bit more effort and see where it takes me.

Meditating on this a bit more, I could think of countless times throughout my life when I had met with heartbreak, injustice, and faced challenges that seemed daunting. With time, I saw that each one was just a stepping stone. It led to new places, people, and experiences, which in turn brought me joy, fulfillment, and new skills that equipped me for other opportunities that later came my way. Without these past traumas and dramas I know I would not have the faith and trust that I now have to face this latest life-changing event.

Okay, Father, warm up that bottle. I trust You.

Bottoms up!