Jesus, Loaves, & Fishes: A Devotional for Young Mothers [Video & Transcript]
Jesus, Loaves, & Fishes: A Devotional for Young Mothers
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I hope if you’re a mother of young children, you’ll feel God’s awareness of you today and appreciation of your care and efforts on behalf of your family. I’d like to share an experience with you 2 decades ago now, that may help you feel His eyes upon you and His personal love for you.
Like most mothers, I found myself reaching out and stretching to creatively meet the needs of my children, two-year-old Kira Janae and two-month-old Talia Noel. Watching them grow brought so much joy, and I loved being a Mom and learning how to be one. You’ve heard the quote, though, I bet that goes something like this: “As much as we love our little ones, we’re also happy that they sometimes go to sleep.”
I remember one particular day where I was just tired, so there an evening before that was cut short for whatever reason–I don’t remember what the middle-of-the night-malady was that time, and the day was stretching on.
It seemed like the needle on the spinner, the wheel of needs, moved rapidly from boo-boo to find socks to time for more love and affection, to play-and-put-away time, to story time and pray time, time to teach, bathe, feed, and console, change, and back to the beginning again, with no commercial break. I just needed a few moments of R & R to catch my breath and to renew my energy…
In this moment, feeling consumed in kinder-care, I collapsed on the couch for a two-minute time-out for Mom. I picked up my little burgundy set of scriptures, opened them, lying on my side, and my eyes fell upon a story in the New Testament, gospel of Matthew: the account of Christ’s feeding of the five thousand (See below this post).
As the scriptures unfolded, I felt the Savior’s awareness of me and more of His love and compassion for others, and was renewed in an intimate way that day… and feel the Savior would have me offer that same respite to some other young mothers today.
The Holy Bible: New Testament Account of Jesus’ Feeding Loaves & Fishes to the Multitudes
So here’s what I read and what I perceived through a very familiar story to many. And for anyone who doesn’t yet know Jesus as Lord or as the Christ yet, but who’ve found your way to this podcast, send us a note on the site or call us, and we’ll send you a Bible and share with you more about Him and about your Father in Heaven, who love you and know you perfectly.
So, as Matthew states in this part of scripture, during the Savior’s selfless ministry, the Lord had just learned of the brutal death of his servant and cousin, John the Baptist. Jesus left shortly thereafter by ship to “a desert place apart” (Matt. 14:13). He was preferring and heading off to a place of privacy, space, prayer and peace, we can only imagine.
Yet, what struck me was that instead of solitude, Jesus met up with a multitude in need of his healing and care.
What was Jesus’ reaction? I was re-enacting this like a motion picture film in my mind.
Moved with compassion towards them, Jesus immediately responded to their needs. He postponed any moment of renewal he might have desired Himself. But He did this not on any ordinary day, but right in the wake of the loss of a loved one and what must have been a time of grief and sorrow.
Jesus continued to minister, though tired and though grieving. He healed their sick, and He saw to it that all present were fed.
I overlaid this story onto my day. What I felt was this: Jesus knew the surround-sound of people in need-crying out incessantly to him. The scriptures state, in fact, that the people, the multitudes followed Him from “out of the cities” (Matt. 14:13; see Mark 1:32–37) all day and even into the night.
I thought: “He knows what it’s like to have to have the surround-sound of children of men or children tugging at you out of the bedrooms and living rooms all day and even into the night.” He experienced feeling physically spent during his earthly ministry. He tired. He knew what it was like to lovingly minister when tired. He healed and He led, and He fed those around Him.
I pondered how Jesus, disregarding tiredness and the late hour, lovingly directed the setting down of a meal for his followers, putting their need for refreshment above his own. He seemed to say, “I get it when you and mothers, exhausted from caring for sick children and keeping up a busy household, nevertheless shuffle into the kitchen and lovingly prepared dinner for everyone and tend to them until their needs are met on a given day.
He understood what it was like for me and for all mothers who are consumed in good care of their children to heal the owies, to lead and teach and read stories, and to feed those little faces… They needed Him and He continued to give when He could even in time of His own need. He delayed his own intermission and was aware, He seemed to say to me, of how as mothers, we make the loving offering of allowing our children’s outstretched arms and tearful eyes to sometimes delay our own restful intermissions as well.
I was suddenly filled with a feeling of the Savior’s awareness and gentle approval of my own simple desires to serve my children and my own expressions of love for them. He’d seen them. He knew them.
And then it occurred to me that Jesus was likely the last to leave the desert place. I thought to myself, in pretty colloquial terms, :) He even knows what it feels like to be the last one out of the kitchen. Indeed, the Spirit helped me to know that the Savior understood how it is for us, sometimes, to be the last one to close the cabinet, put the last item away, and shut off the lights in the kitchen.
In retrospect, I have wondered what I was grasping for that harried day at home when I collapsed on the couch with my scriptures. I didn’t need physical help as much as I needed to know that the Savior was with me and aware of my simple though uneven expressions of love and concern for my children and their temporal, spiritual, and emotional growth. In poring over Matthew’s account, I not only reveled in the Savior’s empathy and love for the multitude, and thus for me, but also increased in my own love for him and empathy for his sacrifices in serving others.
My intermission had finally come, as it did for Christ when he “went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone” (Matt. 14:23). I, likewise, was renewed both in my work as a mother and in my desire to become more like the Savior and “when the evening came, I was there alone in prayer to thank and worship at His feet.”
God bless you, mothers of young children, to know that the Savior sees you, knows you, and is ministering to you as you minister to those you love. And please don’t mis-read into this that this means that every day is a long one… There are ways to take breaks, to shape your life so you’re not burning out, and acting as an agent rather than being acted upon). This is just encouragement to say the Savior is with you and will strengthen you and renew you as you turn to Him whatever the day, whatever the hour. He’s marked the path. He’s been there before, one way or the other.
Feeding of the Five Thousand: Jesus’ Miracles of Loaves & Fishes, Bible Study
“When Jesus heard of [the beheading of John the Baptist], he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.
“And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
“And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
“But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
“And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
“He said, Bring them hither to me.
“And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
“And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
“And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
“And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
“And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone” (Matt. 14:13–23).