This is a devotional I wrote for my cousin-in-law Jamie’s baby shower last week.
After Jack was born and I was struggling to figure out breastfeeding, a question from Isaiah kept coming to my mind. “Can a woman forget the baby at her breast?” At the time, I felt this verse could only be about one thing: engorgement. A book my mom gave me described engorgement this way: “Your chest is the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead is pushing so hard, the dam is going to collapse in about two seconds.” I think it feels like overinflated tires. If anymore air (or milk) goes in there they will explode.
My answer to this question: “No, I can’t forget Jack – my boobs won’t let me!”
But after about 6 or 7 weeks, I finally bonded with Jack. I began to experience a love that was deeper than I could ever have imagine. I ached for Jack. There have been times when I have risked waking him up because I had to hold him that minute. This love changed everything about the way I viewed my life. And it changed how I viewed this verse. Now my answer to the question, “Can you forget your baby?” is:
“No, I can’t forget Jack, because I love him.”
And that’s when the entire verse began to take on greater meaning. In it the Lords says this: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15 NIV)
You see, the people of Israel in Isaiah’s time were facing the threat of Assyria from the North. This was a pretty big deal since they found their identity in the land which God promised them in His covenant with Abraham. The land was (and is) pivotal to their existence as a people. Losing the land prompted them to question God’s promises and the covenant He had with His people. In their minds, God had forgotten them because they lost the Promised Land. Their hope as the people of God.
We all have experienced disappointment with God in one way or another. We have all experienced times when we can’t feel his presence or don’t understand what is happening in our lives. So we can all relate to Israel who says in verse 14, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”
But in Isaiah 49 and specifically in verse 15, God says, “No, I would not forget you. I love you more than a mother aches for her child. I love you deeper. If she were to forget and turn away from this child she loves, I still will not. I have not forgotten you! And one day I will restore this land to you. Do you see how much this mother loves her child? I love you more.”
Motherhood is more than the perfect chocolate chip cookie or heart shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It is more than the different philosophies on parenting. As displayed in Isaiah 50:15, motherhood is one of the many ways God teaches us about Himself and draws us to Him. Through our relationship with our children and the love we have for them, God shows us His love.
It is my prayer, Jamie, that through each event of your life with your baby, you will be sensitive to God’s voice and His words for you. When you are up for a 3am feeding, when you are changing diapers, when you are exhausted and hungry and feel you don’t have anything left to give, and when you delight in your babies giggles, remember that God says to you, “I love you more.”