• Sarah Raad


The reality was that God was holding me against His Holy Breast as a mother holds her child…

God the Father Creation of the Sun Moon (Michelangelo)

Following a medical diagnosis and some recent surgery this year it is now impossible for me to ever bear another biological child.

While this may not seem like a terribly tragic scenario for a mother of three living children and one little saint, for me – a woman with such a strong vocation to be maternal – this has been difficult news to hear.

What I realise most of all is that – despite the magnitude of such news – God has been preparing me very well for this moment in time so that in asking me to carry this very small cross, He has already well-prepared me to have the strength to bear it.

You see, after my little baby died before he was even born, I entered – for the first time in my life – into a period of terrible terrible grief and anguish. For many years I felt that God had teased me with that child – giving him to me and then taking him away just to show me His power and might so that I would become afraid of Him. For years I grieved for the loss of that soul and for years I felt the overbearing weight of love in my soul that I was unable to express for this child who I had lost.

Perhaps the worst part of this period was that the people around me – those who loved me the most – could not understand what was grieving me.

After all, mine had been a very tiny little baby and I had not had him with me for very long and I had three other healthy little children. And nobody had seen him or knew what he looked like or smelled like or sounded like or felt like – but I knew all of those things about that precious precious soul. And people who wanted my pain to stop mistakenly thought that I should stop remembering this precious soul… But that was impossible! He is as much part of me as any of my children and I could no sooner forget about him than I could forget about any one of my other children – biological or spiritual…

And so it was that God allowed me to enter into a sort of wilderness for all those years.

But how He loved me through that!

You see, during those years of anxiety and dryness when I felt God was very far from me, I was afraid – like a newborn baby is afraid…

I was like a little newborn baby who is hungry for her mother’s milk.

Have you ever seen how distressed a hungry newborn baby gets? With a newborn baby it appears that they are completely fine in one moment and then – literally one second later – they are absolutely frantic and out of control completely convinced that there is no more milk left on the face of the Earth and their mother is determined to starve them to death!

I have breastfed all my children because breastfeeding is quite a convenient way of feeding a newborn baby because there is very minimal preparation required – though this is not the say that there is anything wrong with bottle-feeding babies…. With breastfeeding no bottles need to be sterilised, no milk needs to be mixed up, and nothing needs to be heated. Instead, the mother simply must find a place to sit down – though many mothers will make do standing up if things are desperate – and prepare herself to feed her baby.

The whole process takes only a few short seconds for the mother to prepare herself to feed her child… And in the few seconds this takes, the mother often holds her child in her arms and against her breast so that she is ready to go. Now, most mothers would hold their child thus out of convenience to speed up the process of breastfeeding, but the actions of this process serve two purposes…

Firstly, holding the baby in that position comforts the baby, because she is close to her mother, and she can smell her mother and her mother’s milk, which gives her hope that there really is still some milk left on earth for her to eat. And secondly, holding the baby in this way and listening to the baby’s cries, allows the mother’s milk to “let-down” so that the baby will not have to work so hard to get the milk when she is actually put to the breast to eat.

So, though there is a good reason why God allows mothers to take a few seconds to prepare to feed their babies, during those few seconds of preparation, the baby can become hysterical. And when the baby becomes hysterical she can get to the point that when she is finally put to the breast, it can take her a few seconds to realise that all that she desired is right there and all she needs to do it eat.

And. That. Was. Me… During that time of terrible anguish…

All I could see and think and feel was that God was denying me. All I could see and think and feel was that God was ignoring me. All that I could see and think and feel was that God did not love me or care about me.

And yet, the reality was that God was holding me against His Holy Breast as a mother holds her child. And God was preparing a way for me, as a mother prepares to feed her baby. And God was doing everything for me and for me alone, as a mother does everything for her helpless baby.

And the darkness and fear that I felt was not from God – it was from me – because I did not trust Him to care for me as a mother cares for her infant child.

And I see that now with a clarity inspired by the Holy Spirit. And I praise my Lord and God for His infinite condescension…

For He cared for me when I was weak and He fed me when I cried…

How awesome is my Lord and God, King of the Universe, who cares for me, even when I scream out in distrust and fear!

How awesome is my Lord and God…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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