We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.
- Anaïs Nin
It was a great weekend of rest, fellowship with other like-minded women, and studying God’s word together. I also had a nagging side ache that only intensified as I spoke throughout the day on Saturday. I chalked it up to a pulled muscle or just general third trimester achiness, traveled home that afternoon, and spent the evening resting.
The pain only intensified.
When I was weaning my third son two years ago I was suddenly aware of the passages in scripture that talk about a nursing mother (Ps. 22:9, Is. 49:15). It’s not a ton, but the ones that are there are beautiful, compelling, and even jarring to someone who is on the more conservative end of the theological spectrum. We don’t talk much about God being seen in a mom nursing her baby (or even God being seen in motherhood in general).
In the final days of nursing him I was overcome with emotion. I was sad. I was grieving. I was torn between what my heart wanted, but what everything else around me said: “it’s time.”
I was imaging God.
For as long as I’ve been a believer, I have prided myself in the fact that I don’t view the corporate gathering of God’s people as an entertainment service. In college, when many made the distinction between preaching and “worship” (the singing), I stood firm that it was God’s word preached that was the focal point of the worship gathering. We worship through singing. We worship through prayer. We worship through liturgy. We worship through the preached word. I simply didn’t think I had a problem with thinking church was about my preferences—about me.
Until a couple of months ago.
You’ve probably heard the statistics about single women in our culture. There are now more women on some college campuses than men. In some cities there are more single women than married women. Women outpace men academically and often times professionally. In many churches, the single women outnumber the men. For all of our emphasis on marriage being a good and important institution, singleness is the reality for many people.
Over Thanksgiving last year, I got strep throat. I haven’t had strep since college and it reminded me quickly why I hope to never have it again. It’s awful. But antibiotics are God’s gift to humanity. I only had to endure the effects of strep until the antibiotics kicked in, but every hour the pain lasted, I thanked God I live this side of modern medicine. Within hours, the pain subsided and I could at least drink a smoothie. Within days, I started feeling like a human again. Modern medicine is a privilege I don’t take for granted. It’s a blessing to live on this side of human ingenuity in medicine. In the days following, I started thinking about how in our strongest moments we tend to think very little of these modern medical advances. We can even begin to think they are unnecessary.