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Turning Milk Into Wine

Turning Milk Into Wine

It’s been called “liquid gold”, and for good reason.

Breastmilk, that amazing, life-giving gift that increases children’s health, encourages mother-child bonding, and may even increase children’s IQ. And it’s so very precious – when there is not enough, there are very limited ways to get more, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

The Milk Miracles

#1 I nursed both of my children for more than a year and a half, and planned on doing the same with Dominic. When he died, I knew I couldn’t just let the milk gift go to waste, and God, in a miraculous way, provided the perfect baby to take it.

Throughout the months of pumping for my Milk Baby, there were times when I thought I might be ready to quit, and I would pray about whether or not it was time to do so. Every time I did, I would almost immediately get an e-mail or call or Facebook message that my Milk Baby’s mother was having significant health issues arise again, or that she was back in the hospital. It was clear word from the Lord, each time, that I was to continue pumping. So I did. And I have seen the Lord work throughout all of it.

But the milk miracle didn’t end there.

#2 My milk baby’s mother’s health has improved tremendously, and she has been gradually increasing the amount she has been able to breastfeed, so that now she can nurse him herself – a huge answer to prayer. Then, all of a sudden, God provided yet another opportunity for my milk.

I wrote the first part of this story, in Windows in the NICU, about my midwife friend whose birth brought me to the NICU for the first time since Dominic. Well, the Lord kept writing the story, and somehow, by His grace, continued to include me in it. That sweet little boy, who was in the NICU on the brink of life and death, came home. He is healthy and growing and doing wonderfully. And, although facing a long road of recovery, my midwife came home too.

The story could have ended there, and it would have been a good one. But, the Lord is writing it, so it gets even better.

My midwife, when she came home, was still not able to breastfeed her son, due to medication she was required to take for a number of weeks. Even though she planned to pump to keep up her supply for the time she could nurse, she still needed breastmilk for her baby during those crucial first weeks of life.  As soon as I found out, I called my Milk Baby’s Mom and asked her, since she was able to nurse fairly well herself, if she would be ok with me sharing my milk with my midwife friend. She said yes.

So, in yet another God-connection (How many of these have happened, now, since Dominic?), I began taking my milk to my midwife. So her baby could be nourished by Dominic’s milk.

I have to pause for a moment to get the full magnitude of it: God worked it out so that the woman who blessed me by helping to bring my son safely into this world, was later able to be blessed by the milk that came as a result of me having the baby she helped me birth.

Or, better: By blessing me, she became part of her own blessing.

And isn’t that just how God works?

1 Samuel 26:23 “The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness.”

Ephesians 6:8 “…Because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do…”

Acts 20:35 “…By this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

The Lord can turn death into a life. Milk into grace. Liquid gold into a gift of gold – a life-giving nourishment for a baby’s body and a mama’s soul.

And I mean this mama’s soul.

It has been that for me. A connection with the child that I lost, a way to bring goodness out of bad, a way to chase the darkness with rays of light. Watching what the Lord has done with just milk has helped me understand how He was able to multiply 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed 5,000 (Matthew 14) and how He was able to turn water into wine.

But there is something else in the “loaves and fishes” story that applies to me even more, now. However, to tell it, I have to explain the conclusion of the milk tale.

The End of My Milk

My milk supply has gradually decreased over the months I have pumped…just ever so slightly each month. However, it wasn’t until after giving my milk to my midwife that I saw a significant decline. About a week before my midwife was going to be able to start nursing her baby on her own, all of a sudden my supply reduced tremendously. In fact, I produced so little milk that it became evident that there wasn’t a good reason for me to continue to pump any longer.

I knew the Lord was telling me it was time.

He allowed my milk to last just long enough to meet the need of two families with whom He connected me. And now that the need has been fulfilled, my milk is gone.

So I’ve stopped pumping. 8 ½ months.

And I’m filled with mixed emotions.

I am thankful to be released from the responsibility of pumping, washing bottles, and storing and transporting milk. But my heart is also heavy, because it is the end of an era. The closing of a chapter.

The loss of the last vestige of Dominic I had left.

It really means that I am moving on. No longer will I be physically connected with the reality that I had him. And there is truly a loss in that, for me.

It already, at times, almost seems like I never even had a baby – time and memories distort reality in such odd and disconcerting ways. I don’t even have any special memories of doing things with him at our home – he was only there for about 5 hours, in one room, before he passed away. We never got to go out anywhere with him and make memories together as a family. He was too young to have played with any favorite toys, or to have a special book that he loved. I don’t even have any clothes he wore, because we never put him in any (I’d wanted to be able to see and touch all of him, for the little time we had with him).

But I had his milk.

Now, I don’t.

So being here, at the end of my milk, at the end of the era of Dominic, is…

Hard. Sad. Scary.

Where do I go from here? A mother with no baby, no milk, and no future babies on the horizon?

Broken Pieces

I look to Matthew 14 for an answer. When Jesus fed the 5,000, he used what the people had. It was only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. When He blessed it, it multiplied, and fed all of the people. By His miracle, “They all ate and were satisfied…”

But that’s not the end of the verse.

The verse says, “They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.”

The Lord performed a miracle, but that wasn’t all. There was something left over after the miracle…

Broken pieces. 12 baskets of them. An overabundance spilling over from the leftovers of His miracle. Grace not just enough for the miracle’s recipients, but extra for the disciples as well.

There is no doubt that the Lord has used Dominic’s liquid gold to perform miracles. But these verses give me hope about what the Lord will do now that the major work of the miracle is complete. Broken pieces. I believe my broken pieces are part of the spilling over of grace from the miracle He is working – pieces He will use as sustenance for me as He prepares me for what is next.

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, O God, will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). “The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.” (Psalm 85:12-13).

He has performed miracles from milk. I believe He will use the broken pieces that are left over, too. The broken pieces that produce righteousness in me. The broken pieces that prepare the way for His next steps with me.

I’ve been reading about what He does with broken pieces:

“I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be…New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills (Amos 9:11,13).

I may not have milk anymore. But the broken pieces left over from this miracle will not be left to ruin on the ground, because that’s not what The Lord does. Nope, my God uses the broken pieces left over as nourishment so we are sustained. Nourished so that we are ready for the next miracle in which He is going to use us. He takes our broken pieces left over, restores us, and builds us back up so that we overflow with the wine of His blessings. The fruit of His miraculous work.

I’m ready for the next chapter…

The one where God exchanges milk for wine.

The one where I am not only sustained by His blessings – I am intoxicated.

One Response to “Turning Milk Into Wine”

  1. Autumn says:

    So many of the emotions you describe I have felt as a mom who also works outside of our home to provide milk to all three of my children well passed a year. Whether it was supply or the urge to start trying for our next child or simply wondering if I had done enough… It was always a struggle and an end that i prolonged for just one more week or one more day or one last pump. But I have never had to let go as you have. Hugs to you my friend as the next beautiful chapters unfold for you.

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