Monday, October 3, 2011

Spirit-Led Parenting : Opening Thoughts on Feeding Choices

Megan is sharing her heart here again today, with some excellent thoughts to kick off our series on infant feeding.

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Today we are beginning a series on feeding baby - one of the most primary concerns for parents of brand new little ones. We began this discussion over two years ago in this post at SortaCrunchy, and certainly many conversations on feeding have taken place on my blog. But as we work through the material for Spirit-Led Parenting, we are narrowing our focus to looking at what these choices look like and how they develop organically in the life of Spirit-led believers.

Readers of SortaCrunchy know that I am a breastfeeding advocate. The motivation for my advocacy stems from a desire for any woman who wants to pursue breastfeeding to have all of the resources, information, and support she needs to be able to do so. It is no small thing, then, for me to set aside my advocacy hat for a minute so that we can discuss this topic with an emphasis on unity amongst other Christ followers.

Obviously. the first major decision we will make for our babies is the choice between breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or a combination of the two. There are many, many voices speaking to women today on this topic. I think that somewhere in the cacophony of voices preaching, teaching, advocating, deliberating, analyzing, and proselytizing the breast versus bottle question, we as Christian women may neglect to listen hard after the one Voice who is able to speak absolute truth to our lives, our families, and our circumstances.

A foundation of the Christian faith is the premise that at the moment of belief in Christ, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, speaking to us the voice and words of our Father God. As believers, we know we can call upon and rely on the prompting of the Spirit within us in each decision we are called to make. I don't know about you, but I find that I tend to compartmentalize the topics in which I feel God would be interested in providing direction: Ministry opportunity? Yes. Marriage partner? You bet. A move to a new community or a new church? Certainly. Homeschool, private school, or public school my children? Absolutely.

Breast feed or bottle feed my baby? Well, see, my pediatrician says . . . but this parenting magazine says . . . and my best friend told me . . . and my grandmother's advice was . . . and the La Leche League leader said . . .

Friends, this should not be!

Here's what God reminded me of this morning in studying His Word - we need to seek His truth for our family, for each individual child, before we listen and give heed to any other voice in this matter.

In John 16: 13, Jesus spoke, "But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth." All truth. The Truth that surpasses any wisdom of man - the Truth that speaks to every situation. Later, the Apostle John would write to the new church, "As for you, the anointing (referring to the anointing of the Spirit) you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit - just as it has taught you, remain in Him" (1 John 2:27, NIV, emphasis mine).

In context, of course, John was writing to the new believers to remind them that they need not make themselves susceptible to erroneous teachings because they thought themselves to be uneducated in God's truth. John is reminding them that the Spirit dwelling within them was enough to educate and enlighten them of the truth of God and His Word. But I don't think it's a stretch - do you? - to say that God's wisdom is enough to speak and teach us truth in any and every circumstance in our lives . . . including the decision of how we, as mothers, choose to feed the little ones He entrusts to us.

I feel strongly that the very first thing Laura and I need to speak about feeding is to make all aspects of this part of parenting a matter of prayer.

If you have children, did you pray over what choice to make in the area of feeding the new baby? I confess to you today that I did not. I made my choice mostly out of fear - fear that we would be unable to afford formula so I felt I just had to make breastfeeding work. That approach certainly colored many of my first experiences in breastfeeding. I have to wonder how different those earliest days and weeks would have looked had I approached the whole matter prayerfully.

Today, we would love to hear from you. Have you even considered approaching this choice prayerfully? How did that play out in your lives? We are eager to hear what experiences and reflections you can share from your life as we thoughtfully consider how to encourage parents to be Spirit-led in this (highly controversial, emotionally-charged) matter.

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And just as a reminder, we would love to have your stories and contributions collected by October 10th - one week from today! See this post and also this one for subjects and submission instructions!

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