Fearfully and wonderfully made

A few days ago, I was back at it with an old foe. Self-image, weight issues, hearing words from long ago echoing in my mind. Thinking about how I can’t seem to lose weight without obsession or extreme deprivation, thinking about what certain members of my family might be saying about me behind my back if they could see me right now. It’s something I’ve dealt with for a very long time and is just not something I’ve beaten yet.

It’s easy to imagine what other people think and then start feeling like God probably feels the same way. Disappointed that I still have baby weight from last time, disappointed that I am not athletic, that I am not a socially accepted size. I was going down that road when I felt Him whisper, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I turned in my Bible to Psalms 139 and read this familiar verse again:

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:

marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knows right well.”

I have for many years imagined myself to be overweight, even when I wasn’t. When I was a young teenager and had to stop wearing junior sizes and wear women’s clothing, I thought this meant I was now fat. When my friends wore size fours and I wore a size ten, I thought this meant I was huge. I look back at photos of myself and feel grieved that I spent so many years thinking that way. So why do I still do that? I’m not talking about making excuses for bad eating or sitting around doing nothing – those are things I’ve been working on for a very long time – I mean focusing too much on clothing size and the shape of my body and what I look like in photos.

He has done marvelous works in my life, both physically and spiritually. I have been delivered from depression, healed of allergies and given the opportunity to carry and birth eight children, even though I once said I wouldn’t have more than three and when I got married, assumed I would be done by the time I was thirty. My body certainly shows the signs of carrying those babies but why don’t I wear it as a badge of honour? Why do I obsess?

The day after this gentle reminder, I asked God how I could lose a bit more weight. He answered quietly, “Just stop eating so much.” I tend to believe that I need to calorie count, work out all the time, eat perfectly, etc. to lose any weight at all and because of my weakness when it comes to perfectionism, I often give up when I realize I can’t do all of that perfectly. But what if I don’t need to be a size ten again? God knows what is right for me and I believe that the first step is moderation. Moderation in what I eat and how I exercise. Not giving into gluttony but not starving myself or becoming obsessive either – that side of things isn’t moderation any more than eating at a buffet every day would be. Not sitting around doing nothing but not spending all my extra time on exercise.

There are practical things I can do to lose weight or at least stop gaining but if my view of myself is broken and I do not see myself through God’s eyes, my motives will always be wrong. I have watched people with a terrible self-image have amazing success at losing weight and it’s just never enough – they still see themselves as too fat or not fit enough. I’ve been down that road, doing crazy things to just lose a few more pounds to hit a goal. That’s not what I want. I want to look at myself and know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I need to love myself regardless of extra weight, wrinkles, stretch marks or blemishes. If I can figure this out, it won’t matter what I look like and I can finally win this long battle.


Search and Rescue

I had a dream in early July that again, I knew had meaning as soon as I woke up. After sharing it with my church, I knew I wasn’t wrong, but it is probably a hard message for the Church as a whole. I pray it is received with grace.


In my dream, a cousin who lives in the States had a son, around three years old. He and his son were in the backyard together and one minute he was there, the next he was gone. Searches were conducted but everything pointed to an abduction, not a death. One day a month or two later, I received a program in the mail for his funeral – it had his date of birth and the day he disappeared as his date of death. I was angry. I felt like they were giving up hope. I went to the funeral anyway and while I was there, I was in deep intercession for him, praying for his safety and for his return. I prayed in tongues for most of the time and wept as I did so. I seem to remember that people thought I was strange for my behaviour. I am also certain that at the top of the program, it read “social distancing,” as a reminder not to get close to people. I thought about how awful it was that we could not hug people at a funeral.


I believe that this dream is about the Church in North America (and maybe the attitude some have about commerce and the economy as well). Believers have given up hope. We have had things taken away from us suddenly – church and Bible studies one week and the next told that everything is shut down – disappeared. Instead of searching and praying for their return, we are having a funeral – and that without loving each other as we would need in a time like this (social distancing representing lack of unity, distance from each other both literal and figurative). We should be on our faces weeping and praying for the Church but instead we are planning her funeral.

Imagine a large field where a child has wandered off. A search party would line up, nearly shoulder to shoulder, possibly even arm in arm, and comb through that field looking for the child. They would search until they were told they had to stop and even then, experts would come in and look longer. They certainly would never hold a funeral a month later without any evidence that the child had died. There are parents who are still hopeful their son or daughter is alive thirty years after disappearing like this. This is the posture we need to take right now – maybe not literally, but certainly in the Spirit. Hopeful expectation, prayer and fasting, unity in the search.

God has a plan and I know He is making good from what the enemy meant for evil. Will everything look exactly the same when we get it back? Probably not, but let’s not give up, Church. Hold onto hope and keep searching for what He has for us.

Just walk through the door

This is a dream I had at the end of January and I am sure now that it was a personal warning of sorts. I felt recently that it was time to share this more publicly than I did then.


February 2, 2020

The night before last, I had a mind-bending dream. It was so vivid, like watching a movie. In the house I lived in with many other people, there was a door. Everyone knew that the door led to what could best be described as an alternate reality – an adventure or a major change for a period of time. Everyone who went through did so without knowing what they would encounter, as everyone had completely different experiences there. Sometimes those things were hard and painful or scary but no one stayed there forever. Without fail, everyone who went through came back significantly taller. I knew in the dream that going through the door would change me – change my life – but I was afraid because I didn’t know what I would have to experience there.

One day, the house was bombed. As people screamed and fires burned around me I realized that my only route of escape was through the door. I couldn’t bring anyone with me (Mike or the kids) and if I didn’t go, I would die. So I threw open the door and jumped out – and fell into this life altering experience.

What happened there was bizarre and likely has meaning here and there, but in the end the meaning I see here is that the door is change – major change. I should take opportunity to choose change that is something I am led to, rather than having a hard situation or circumstance push me into change as my last option. The fact that people came back taller signified positive change in their lives as a result of what they experienced on the other side of the door.

Pastor Larry spoke on trust today and how when we trust, we see God’s love. When we know we are loved by Him, we will also find it easier to trust. It’s a cycle.

I thought of 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” The door in my life was change and the willing step through it was trust. Having no other choice is not trust. When we allow fear to dictate our lives and make our decisions for us, we miss God’s timing and sometimes are forced into hard things as a result. God still uses those times when we allow Him to but we would experience greater blessing if we stepped through the door on our own when He asks us to.


I believe that COVID has been the explosion that pushed many people into change that they were not ready for or were previously afraid of. Losing a job, having your kids home when they were in school before, uncertainty around health and finances, all are major changes that we were taken off guard by.

Did I jump through the door before COVID? I don’t know. Have I thrived throughout the last few months? Thankfully I can say that I believe I mostly have.

I had another significant dream more recently. I will share that one in the next few days.

Exhort one another daily…

Each morning, I get up, sit on the couch and ask the Holy Spirit to lead me to a passage of Scripture that will benefit me in some way that day. Sometimes I don’t feel a firm response so I read the Proverb of the day or a few Psalms, a chapter in the New Testament, etc. Today I felt led to Hebrews 2 and 3. I often read most of what I feel I should without any major light bulbs only to find a single verse towards the end that is clearly my reason why. This morning, that verse was Hebrews 3:13.

But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (KJV)

What do most people think when they see the word “exhort?” In the NIV and NASB, this word is instead, “encourage,” but is that really what this word means? Encouraging other people is wonderful and usually fairly easy because it makes everyone feel great. It’s important but it’s not the whole picture.

The Greek word here is parakaléō and in this particular verse, it means “To call upon someone to do something, to exhort, to admonish.” This paints a larger picture than merely encouraging each other.

The Merriam-Webster definition of the word “exhort” is: “To incite by argument or advice, urge strongly; To give warnings or advice, make urgent appeals.” Dictionary.com says exhort means “To urge, advise, or caution earnestly; admonish urgently. To give urgent advice, recommendations or warnings.”

Has anyone ever said something personal to you that stung a little? That you knew was true but was hard to swallow? This may have been an exhortation. Have you ever been instructed in the faith and felt stirred up, even if the instruction feels a bit heavy and serious? This may have been exhortation.

I do not claim to be an expert in this area. In fact, I feel very new to this concept. Christianity is full of wonderful encouragers, and I try to be one as well. I had a brief experience in the store today that showed me clearly the difference between encouraging and exhortation.

There were two young mothers in the store with children, one with a little girl with beautiful short curly hair like Jenny had when she was young. The other had a little girl who was around four or five and a boy probably a year and a half younger. I struck up a short conversation with both women about their children because the first girl reminded me of Jenny and the set of siblings reminded me of Jenny and Elias when they were young. I smiled and did what I could to be uplifting as both looked like parts of their shopping trip with young children were slightly stressful. This was encouragement. When I tell my kids how proud I am of them when they’ve done something good, that is a type of encouragement. But when I show them an area they need to look closely at and make changes in, it is exhortation, or at least my understanding of it. I had that opportunity today as well – something most parents have opportunity for each day.

The second half of this verse is crucial here: “lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Exhortation is not to make you feel bad. Exhortation is to prevent you from being hardened by and tangled up in sin.

I have often struggled with correction. I was the kid who tried so hard to do everything perfectly right so I wouldn’t get in trouble. I didn’t rock the boat in school and have done everything in my power to obey the law. I even signal on country roads when there is no one in front of or behind me for kilometres. When I have faced correction (or possibly exhortation), I have not reacted well. It seems possible that I actually did not receive enough exhortation growing up to become accustomed to it and was actually hardened by the deceitfulness of sin – in this case, fear of failure, fear of man and perfectionism.

In the area of advice, I know many people want to give everybody advice about everything and another group doesn’t want advice from anyone. I have tried to graciously accept advice over time, particularly from people who have more experience than I do in some area. I have also tried to avoid giving advice when I know it is not welcome or when it is actually unnecessary and I’m just trying to toot my own horn. Godly counsel is a great need in the Church, though. Take a look at Proverbs and you will see how important counsel is. Proverbs 11:14 says “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”

We are often quick to see a financial advisor when we’ve gotten ourselves into trouble with money or we want to secure our future. In school, we see a guidance counselor to help us make decisions about our life or college choices. Many people see counselors in the secular world or use a life coach to get them through trying times. None of these are bad, but we also need sound Godly counsel. This is the job of someone who exhorts.

I aim to take exhortation well in the future and also to do my part to exhort others when I feel led to do so. I believe the Church will benefit greatly when we take this verse and others on this topic more seriously. Yes, please keep encouraging, but don’t forget exhortation.

Starting Over, Again

More than ten years ago, I felt God breathe a word into my heart. That my words would help to revive the spirits of many people. I’ve blogged for a long time, since my kids were little and I still really hated the word “blog” (I’ve come to terms with it since then). Because I didn’t know what the word meant exactly, I floundered. I waited for more explanation, I wrote what I felt like writing but rarely got serious because I just wanted to see the whole picture.

Two years ago, I had a similar experience, feeling God call me to a number of things all at once, writing (and possibly speaking) being one of them. I reacted to this calling in a very similar way: I was confused, overwhelmed, uncertain and clinging to perfectionism that demanded the full picture be visible before I ever started to draw, so to speak.

Last year, I felt a renewal of this calling with more added to it. I started off well in the fall, but yet again, found myself back to square one, unsure, doubting, feeling lost, and still waiting for more – more followers, more comments, more knowledge of what I was supposed to be doing.

Yesterday I heard a very personal message from someone I had just met. She talked about missed opportunities when we disobey or delay our obedience. But instead of drilling in how important obedience is or how much she had missed out on, she focused on the importance of accepting God’s forgiveness and forgiving ourselves. I realized right away that God was using her to speak to me. Reminding me that it wasn’t too late. That it might look different now than it would have ten years ago, two years ago or last year. But that it wasn’t a lost cause and I needed to let go of the perfectionism, turn over a new leaf, forgive myself and move on. I believe that God wants to use me to speak to people. Sometimes I think He just wants me to make them laugh, and honestly, that’s my favourite part. “A merry heart does good like a medicine,” and it is refreshing to me as well as the reader. Other times, I share what is on my heart and hope that it helps someone else to know they aren’t alone, that there is at least one person out there that gets it. Whether that is in relation to parenting, unschooling, the challenges of a big family, etc. I know that someone needs to hear it.

I am sorry if I had something to say that you needed to hear. I am sorry that I allowed perfectionism to speak to me and make me give up when I couldn’t get it all just perfect. It’s a battle I’ve been fighting for a long time and I really want to win. I can’t make promises but I do know that I want to be obedient and I want to follow where the Spirit leads. I have forgiven myself and have talked to a few people about this, hoping for the help of accountability this time around.

I don’t know what the future holds but I do know I cannot be silent when even one person needs to hear my voice. I cannot stand back in doubt or fear when one person needs my prayers for healing.  I pray now for grace to continue this task. For a multiplication of time and resources that will allow me to accomplish it.

If you have let something slip by because of fear or disobedience, it’s not too late to change course. The work might look different now – the person who needs prayer, discipleship or encouragement might be someone new – but it’s still worth it. God forgives when we ask Him and so forgiving ourselves is the crucial next step.

The New Normal

Listen, I know you’re likely in one camp or the other: you embrace this term or you reject it. I have swayed back and forth for various reasons, some of which I will explain.

On the one hand, yes, we will have a “new normal” because none of us has ever experienced anything like this. Yes, our oldest generation has gone through worse. I believe that: think of the world wars, the great depression, genocides, etc. But this is different. COVID has happened in an age of information that is historically unrivaled. News travels fast – lightning fast – whether it’s true or not, and often influences so efficiently that if it is later debunked, it is hard for people to believe the actual truth. I believe we also live in a very fearful age. I actually think that safety has ironically made us more fearful. We live so safe and clean and healthy (at least we perceive life to be this way) that we are terrified of a bad cold, needing a few stitches or a surgery, offending people, the list goes on and on. And so this fear fed the narrative – I don’t think you can disagree with this no matter what side you fall in your beliefs about this virus and its socioeconomic effects. And when you have been taught to fear something, it is very hard to walk away from that.  Worldwide lockdowns, terminology no one had ever heard before (social distancing, anyone??), confusing science and data have left us in a very different place than we were five months ago. And those living in epicentres or who have lost friends or family members will be scarred and will never go back to the normal they knew before.

On the other hand, I can see that there are freedoms we have given up in the name of health and safety that I still believe we should get back. Using the terminology “new normal” has the potential of convincing people that these freedoms are no longer our right. That we are too vulnerable to stand closer than six feet apart as we might get sick or get someone else sick. That we will accept the prices of groceries that have steeply risen or the extra taxes we’ll inevitably be paying to handle the government financial aid that many of us have received. I know these things are par for the course in the middle of it all but I am concerned that over time, these things will continue even though the virus itself passes. That we will be quick to do things we are told even when they are unreasonable. People aren’t meant to live alone and stay apart. I certainly intend to fight the new normal in that area at least.

So here’s the third perspective. Hopefully a Godly one.

I embrace the New Normal. Not the losses in freedoms or the fear of disease. I wholeheartedly embrace what God has been doing in the Church during this time. I believe that many who were lukewarm have become hot in this time. I know that there will be some who let their love grow cold, and will fall away. I do not deny that. But I feel revival in my heart, in my family, in the Church. I have experienced beautiful community borne out of trial and I don’t ever want to lose that, not to go back to what was “normal” before. I have prayed more, worshiped more, read more of the Word. I am revived, even in the middle of global crisis.

Yes, I still get frustrated. I still feel sorrow over what has transpired, over lives lost or in ruin. I still wonder when it’s going to end. But then I actually didn’t want it to end too soon. I wanted a chance for more of the Church to grab hold of something incredible.

In the first few weeks of lockdowns and health orders, I woke up with part of a song in my head: “You take what the enemy meant for evil, and you turn it for good.” I have tried to make that my anthem for the last few months. No matter what was meant for evil, He can turn it for good.

The provision of God

I have been telling these stories for a long time and in this time of financial insecurity for so many, I want to tell them again. Sometimes I forget just how obvious this provision was at the time but then telling the story reminds me and I am in awe.

Mike and I got married in February of 2004. He was working a pretty good job but when we got home from our honeymoon, he was called to go to camp for a week. Not a great start to a marriage, especially when you add the fact that I had just moved 1,400 kilometres from home and didn’t really know anyone here. He quit that job about a month later because we knew we didn’t want that lifestyle and then we lived off of our savings for a few months, just enjoying our time together and settling in. That summer, he started looking a little harder for a job as the money had nearly run out. He had a few opportunities but took a cash job on trial at an auto body shop. He did detailing on cars for a short time and eventually moved to prep work. At this time, I was surprised we were not expecting yet (because we were not trying to prevent) and started praying more earnestly for a baby. Right around the time that I would have conceived, he got a “real” job for the company and a simultaneous $4 raise. By a year later, he was making $4 more than that per hour and not only did we have enough to provide for the baby that came in June of 2005, but we had enough to buy a home that summer. The timing of everything was just too perfect to call it coincidence.

In January of 2008, we were expecting our third baby and Mike had moved on to another auto body shop where his Dad worked and was even talking about going to school for some certification in body work. He didn’t exactly love the work but he did like the people he worked with and the company took care of their employees. He had only been there for six months when things slowed down and he got laid off. When I think of the year 2008, I think “recession.” It didn’t hit Canada in exactly the same way but I know many people had a hard time. It was early in the year, though, and all I could think was that we didn’t have any substantial savings, had a mortgage to pay and were about to have three kids, three and under. I was shocked and didn’t know what would happen. Mike started looking for work, applied for EI (unemployment) and we listed our ’85 Honda Accord for sale, hoping that would bring in a bit of cash. Not even two weeks into the layoff, we were sitting down with his sister and her husband for supper and talking about Mike’s need for a job when our brother-in-law told us that the small engineering firm he worked for might have a job but it was unlikely that it would interest Mike at all. He started to explain the job to us and rather than finding it off-putting, Mike was intrigued. He got an interview with the owner of the company and then we went on a trip for a conference that we had already had planned months before. I forget the fine details of when things happened, but we definitely got a call when we were in the Edmonton Ikea that they had a job for him and he could start work by the middle of February. Shortly after, our 23 year old car sold for $1,200 – the exact amount of a two week paycheque at that time. Not only was this job a Godsend in timing, it turned out to be something Mike loved and has continued doing for 12 years now, working through a company buy out and a everyone else in the company leaving over time.

Now, 2020 and the COVID crisis. Early this year, we went over our budget and determined that we had around $600 in excess every month if I kept my spending relatively tight. We had changed the way we budgeted and so we could see where money had been wasted or unaccounted for before. We talked about investments or just putting it into savings but in the end, we needed the extra for a few things in January and February so we didn’t make any final decisions about it. In March, we were told that the company would be implementing a 10% wage reduction due to COVID. It wasn’t long before I determined that the difference in wages for us was almost exactly the amount of extra money in our budget. We had never squirreled it away anywhere and so it was just there, available to make up the difference for us.

We have had countless times when God has provided for our needs – both tangible and otherwise. Sometimes these cases of extra provision have been totally obvious. Other times, we have had to look back and realize how incredible they really were. They have all pointed us to a God who knows what we need and has provided.

Psalm 37:25

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Psalm 50:10

For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.”

Matthew 6:28-32

 “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”


Think on these things

This morning, we took in our first live stream only church service. Our little church has been live streaming for some time now but this week, it wasn’t just church members who couldn’t be there in person, but all of us watching from home. We were reminded to praise God in the middle of this trial, and after the message, our family joined together to answer the global call to prayer from noon to one local time.

After this time of prayer was done, I listened to another live stream from this morning. The pastor talked about hope and optimism in this time, something that many people seem to be short on. He reminded his church, and all those watching, of the following verse:

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

This simple reminder is crucial right now. Personally, I have been in a great deal of self-conflict (and unfortunately had some conflict with other members of my family) over the opposing information and viewpoints being presented. We can easily look at statistics and see desperation and hopelessness in this time. So many people are afraid, people are sick and dying and economies are slowing down considerably. We are told to limit our gatherings, stay home, don’t even go outside – such extremes in the actual orders, let alone what social media is screaming. It is easy to get caught up in this and listen to these voices rather than the Holy Spirit.

I believe that what the enemy has meant for evil in this time will be turned to good, but we have a part to play in that. Share things that are true and honest on social media – do some real research before you hit “share” on that frightening post. Read books and watch movies or television that are pure – now is the time to build ourselves up in the Lord, not embrace what the world offers. Look on what is lovely – if it is spring where you are, appreciate that beauty outside your window. Watch your kids learn new ways to be creative in the middle of isolation. Focus on good reports first. The statistics are there every day and depending on who you are and what you are listening to, you will read them differently. Remember that while you might not feel too bad about things, the person reading what you are sharing may be despairing and living without any hope. Ask yourself if it does anyone any good to re-share something that is already circulating and causing fear or distress.

I read a comment on a local post yesterday saying that “it is time to panic.” I could not disagree more, even if this virus was about to infect my entire city. As a believer, I cannot give time to fear. Practicing caution or listening to recommendations and mandates is good but I am watching as people make up their own rules based in fear and then spread those around – much like the virus we’re trying to avoid.

I have seen sad things in the last few weeks and have watched as some people seem to have given up all hope. I have also seen beauty in this time – families coming together in ways they’ve never been able to before and neighbours watching out for each other. The latter is lovely, pure, just, true. Think on these things, brothers and sisters.

When nothing changes, and everything does

I know that I am not the only home educating parent who feels this way right now. We laugh and share snarky homeschool memes as many of our friends and neighbours are having school canceled and then we share our resources to help those parents facilitate  learning in their homes until school starts again. We acknowledge that, for most of us, especially those of us with many children, not much has changed.

But everything has. Seemingly overnight, too. Our daily life doesn’t look different, but I promise you, it feels very different. We are facing the same uncertainties, explaining things to our children, watching as our extracurricular activities and then our church services are canceled due to social distancing mandates. We have long conversations with our children and spouses about different approaches those in the homeschool community and in the Church have in this time. Do we deny mandates to have fellowship with other believers? Do we embrace this time as a time of rest and sabbath? Do we distance ourselves completely because we are or know people with weakened immune systems? Do we believe this theory or that one about what is behind this virus and ensuing pandemonium? We ask these questions and don’t always have the answers.

We go to bed knowing that things will look different in the morning and we never know what to expect.

But our kids are still home, like they always are. We’re still feeding them all their meals and snacks at home, like we always do. They are doing school (or not, in our case), using up their screen time and sometimes asking for more. We live in this surreal state, with home looking more or less the same, while the world around us is simultaneously reeling and frozen in place.

And what should we do? My personal response is to maintain an atmosphere of peace in my home, throughout all the decisions that we have to make minute by minute. My God has not given us a spirit of fear and I will not bow to it. Maybe you’re not afraid of the virus or death but are concerned about the economy, your job or what will happen if school is out for the rest of the year. I challenge you to, ” let your requests be made known unto God,” in this time. Fill yourself up with the Word, worship, and words of encouragement. Focus on the many things we have to be thankful for in this time and look out to see what you can do practically to help others. There are many people in need in this time – some need toilet paper or milk and others just need a listening ear or a number they can text anytime they feel anxious.

I said to my husband last night that I never could have predicted this two weeks ago and that knowing that makes me aware that I cannot predict what life will look like in two more weeks. This crisis, although it has not impacted me physically or financially at this time, has made me focus on living one day at a time, something I have admittedly never been great at. So while I fight for peace, I will just live one day at a time and adopt the position of “Lord willing,” as I think farther ahead. I encourage you to do the same, my friends.


The Milk and The Meat

When we think of milk in modern times, I would guess that most of us imagine a cold glass of milk with a cookie, or milk we pour over our cereal – things we readily consume as adults. But when the Bible refers to milk, it is in the context of infants and therefore can be presumed to primarily mean breast milk. Breast milk and its alternatives are really incredible foods. Babies grow exponentially fast in their first year of life – if we continued growing at this rate, we would be a race of giants! It is high calorie, high fat, built for exactly what babies need.

I have been breastfeeding babies off and on for nearly fifteen years. In fact, with the majority of my babies nursing into the next pregnancy, I’ve only had a known break from either for about two weeks in 2009. I am very familiar with breastfeeding and the demands of infants and toddlers who are still nursing. New babies nurse around the clock and this is natural and to be expected. Most of my babies have nursed during the night until around sixteen months. Regardless of how you feel about that personally, I never questioned it and have just gone with the flow (no pun intended) in feeding my babies.

However, as my kids got a bit older and started eating more solid foods, even before weaning them from the breast, I started giving them their own plate and utensil to eat with, or giving them bite sized pieces they could feed themselves. This is expected as children grow up – we want them to feed themselves because it is a time consuming process to be feeding ourselves and also feeding a baby or small child. At least half of my kids refused to be fed by a year and only wanted things they could put in their own mouths. We applauded this even when it meant a mess would be made.

Something we often hear in the Church is that we are looking to be “fed” when we attend services. People leave churches because they feel that they were not being fed enough. “Feed me!” we cry every Sunday, and most never question it.

This is what the authors of 1st Corinthians and Hebrews were talking about. We need to distance ourselves from this language and the expectation that it is the pastor’s job to “feed” us. Maturity in Christ means giving up milk and moving on to meat – solid foods. It means that instead of someone feeding us around the clock on simple food – milk – we move on to meat that we feed ourselves a few times a day. These things take longer to digest, are more nutritionally diverse and are much more exciting than milk anyway. But how many in the Church are existing on milk that a pastor feeds them once a week? How many never move on to more interesting foods because they refuse to give up the comfort of around the clock (spiritual) breastfeeding?

I write this while literally breastfeeding my youngest child. He is thirteen months old now and still desires this comfort but also loves solid food. He loves to eat half a banana, mash some of it up between his hands and feed the rest to the dog. He likes to beg for whatever the rest of us are eating and if I wanted to, I could wean him at any time and he would be just fine. There is no harm in continuing to nurse him for the foreseeable future but I do so with the full expectation that he will eventually wean and move on to eating full meals that look just like mine, with no need for the nutrition or comfort of the breast.

While new believers need the milk of the Word – the simple food, life giving, full of fat and calories – we must expect that as we grow in Christ, we trade the milk for solid food. At first, we might split our intake fifty/fifty. The initial foods we eat are basic, maybe a bit bland and still consumed frequently. Over time, though, we need to move on to meat – the solid, diverse and exciting Word of God. The stuff that takes studying, puzzling over, questioning. The parts that require a Strong’s concordance or commentary alongside to understand the original meanings of words and phrases. The chapters and books that may even confuse us until we study the historical and cultural context of the times they were written in. This is the meat.

A friend recently made a statement about the Church as a whole that was painful, but I believe to be true. The Church, in many ways, is dying. Not necessarily shrinking, but dying. Many never move on to meat as they grow up, stunting their growth, and eventually killing them. They may never leave the Church but are forever babies in Christ. If I forced my children to eat nothing but milk beyond their infancy, they would become nutritionally deficient and would not thrive. The same is true in the Church and it is time we face this head on and start the weaning process.


1 Corinthians 3:2  (KJV)

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

Hebrews 5:12 (KJV)

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.