Joyful Noise: Feeding a Baby, Feeding Yourself

c) 2014 Jocelyn Mathewes / used with permission

c) 2014 Jocelyn Mathewes / used with permission

My little baby of ten months screamed at me–I knew she needed food. All parents know that wailing, desperate cry–the cry that seems to say, “You’ve never ever fed me in my whole entire life!”

I sat her down calmly, and spooned bits of meat, cheese, and vegetables into her mouth in between her frustrated cries. The sounds became less desperate, and she started to shift into a contented squirminess, then the cheerfulness of a full belly overtook her.

What if I couldn’t feed her? I thought, suddenly horrifying myself. A daily struggle for bread takes its toll on untold millions of people. But in this moment, she experienced sufficiency.

What a clinical word for something so comforting and complete: sufficiency. In the past few weeks, the days where I’ve felt at the end of my rope–strung out and hungry for something to fill me–were overwhemlingly numerous. I had felt that same wrestling anguish that passed over Irene’s little face just moments ago, crying out, “Why aren’t you feeding me?” to a God who is ever much more sufficient than I could ever be to my own children.

Yet here I was, in front of my child, experiencing a moment of my own sufficiency. But what of the days when I am not enough, or do not have enough to provide for my child? It was a moment where I saw God’s own position to myself–an endless store of nourishment–waiting. Babies are instinctive–they feed themselves when hungry. If I was hungry I was probably starving myself without knowing it. God is always there, waiting, with just the right food for me, at just the right moment.

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