Today, tomorrow and long ago, God provides food for the people He loves. The people are stranded in the desert. No food. Worried that they’ll starve. So every day on their lunch break, God rains bread down from the sky, enough to feed them and their families until tomorrow. He asks each one not to take more than what they need for that day, because they need to believe that the next day, the same thing will happen.
Today, tomorrow and long ago, God provides food for the people He loves. At a wedding reception, the host runs out of wine for the guests. The party’s been going on for a while and everyone has already drunk a lot, but all they have left is water. Jesus’ mom asks him to do something about it. I picture him sighing and raising his eyes heavenward as he tells her this is not a good time, but because he loves her, and believes in parties, he turns their barrels of water into barrels of wine. The guests who are still sober enough to register what they’re drinking get excited. “Most people put out the crap wine at the end of a party, after everyone’s already finished off the good stuff,” they say. “But you did the opposite! You saved the best for last!”
Over the last month and up to this moment, God provides food for the people He loves. David and I decided before Marion was born that we would give her the nickname Merry. We hoped that whatever journey she takes, she would always come back to joy. The joy of the morning after the bleakest night. The joy of Spring that breaks an endless Winter. The darkness, then the dawn.
This story came to life when I went into labor on a Sunday evening while decorating the Christmas tree. We didn’t know at the time that it was the real thing, as Merry had been practicing her debut for months of weeks leading up to that night. But when we were certain it was the final countdown, and my water broke all over the kitchen floor, we drove to the midwives and settled into the rhythm of a very long, very intense night, in and out of water, pain to rest, and rest to pain.
I dilated 10 cm and began to push. I pushed for a while, but something wasn’t right. The midwives were monitoring Merry’s heart rate, and it kept dropping low before picking back up again. They made the call to transfer us to the hospital, following the emergency plan we had already set in place, and from that time until delivery, I lay on my left side for 45 minutes, in the ambulance, on a gurney, in the hallways of the hospital, breathing through an oxygen mask and holding in my mind’s eye nothing but pain, my baby and the love of God. During that time, Merry kept trying to push out. She was ready. But I knew that my body was not, and that if she came too soon, we could lose her. So I waited, in those moments of agony when my entire existence centered on breathing through the pain, until we were in the delivery room, and I asked the question I’d been dying to ask.
“If I feel like I need to push, can I?”
And out she came!
They laid her on my chest. I wept, with joy and with relief. We were alive!! We made it!!
We found out later that the cord was wrapped very tightly around Merry’s neck. My fantastic birth team, my incredible husband and the hospital’s faithful care united around my determination and the mercy of my Lord to see us through.
There’s another part to this story that bears telling. Prior to labor, without the blessing of my husband or knowledge of my providers, I came off my medication too early. I was partially manic when I had my baby. I wanted to be able to breastfeed her, and knew I could not on the medication. So I decided that I was well enough, and came down way too fast.
This decision on my part cost us weeks of horrific postpartum depression and mania, broken trust with people who love me, and almost cost us far more: my life, or Marion’s. A sobering reality to check me as I enter parenthood, because my greatest enemy is one that I will never be able to fully defeat this side of glory: my selfish heart.
And then came the glory, how God gives us just what we need, as He feed the sparrows. Time and again, on the day or in the moment when we need it the most, we have had food for Merry. In the early days, formula. Today and tomorrow, donated breastmilk. Whatever she needs to make it on that given day, sometimes up to the very minute that we are running out. Because He is faithful always, even when we are not. And because of this, His provision for our daughter continues, from conception to birth and beyond, into eternity.
I sent this text to my women tribe at East Lake recently, as they have prayed us through this story:
“This stuff does not just happen y’all. The action we take as parents is a reaction to His provision and promises. There is a God who takes care of His children, and we get to sit back and watch the manna fall.”
Like manna, the bread from heaven that fell on God’s people in the wilderness, it is there when we need it. Like the wedding water that Jesus made wine, He saves the best for last. And like Jesus, who broke like bread to give us eternity, this sustenance comes as a result of sacrifice. His. Ours.
He gives us, this day, our daily bread. Praise Him. And get to know Him, if you haven’t already!