Landon got all of his first teeth at the same time. All four of them decided to pop through his sweet little gums within just a week or two of each other, and if you’ve been-there-done-that with your own little ones, you know that it wasn’t without some pain and a few sleepless nights. Add in biting while nursing and you have a pretty miserable situation. Landon is just about the sweetest natured little boy you’ll ever meet, so when he’s fussy, you can bet that there’s a reason.
I am so fortunate to have an arsenal of women that I can go to at any hour of the day or night with questions. My Momma, first and foremost, but also my aunt, my mother-in-law, my cousins, and some very dear friends have just been a wealth of knowledge and encouragement for me as I learn how to be a Mama. In them, I see Titus 2: 3-5 come to life in a way that I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for. As you get older, I think you really do come to appreciate quality relationships more and more.
I talked to one sweet friend in particular, who has been a huge advocate for me when it comes to breastfeeding and is a big believer in homeopathic remedies and natural health, about his teething pain and she gave me a special concoction of oil (Gum-omile Oil by HerbsPro) diluted with olive oil to rub on his gums. She was so sweet to share it with me and as she was explaining how it works, she encouraged me to test it on my own gums first, to make sure it wasn’t too strong for him. Then, she said, “my Mom always told me to be the cupbearer for my kids.”
It’s not a word you hear everyday.
I knew what a cupbearer is, but couldn’t remember the last time I had heard that word. In Bible times, Kings had a cupbearer who would taste their food or wine before they ate to make sure that no one was trying to poison them. Wikipedia explains this role like this:
“A cup-bearer was an officer of high rank in royal courts whose duty it was to serve the drinks at the royal table. On account of the constant fear of plots and intrigues, a person must be regarded as thoroughly trustworthy to hold the position. He must guard against poison in the king’s cup and was sometimes required to swallow some of the wine before serving it. His confidential relations with the king often gave him a position of great influence. The position of cup-bearer is greatly valued and given only to a select few throughout history.Qualifications for the job were not held lightly but of high esteem valued for their beauty and even more for their modesty, industriousness and courage.”
I went on about my way, followed her instructions, and tested it out before I used it to help soothe him. Day after day went by and I couldn’t stop thinking about that word. Cupbearer.
I hadn’t mentioned it to Grayson until Sunday morning on our way to church. Over coffee in the truck, I asked him, “what do you think it means to be a cupbearer for your child?”
He was a little taken aback at first, I think just because it’s such an uncommon phrase. We talked about what it means to us, both as individuals and as a team, and I explained how after Kristi had shared with me the week before, I couldn’t stop”chewing” on it, trying to process it. I really felt like Jesus was speaking to me, but I couldn’t figure out what He was saying.
My Sunday School teacher is amazing. She’s one of those women who literally just oozes Jesus. She walks into the room and you just instantly know that there’s something different about her, and whatever it is that she has… you want it too. She carries herself with a grace and gentleness that is unmatched, and I am so thankful for her. She puts so much time and heart into preparing our lesson for Sunday School every week, and each and every Sunday, I go into the service truly prepared for worship and having learned something or having been challenged to grow in my walk with Jesus. It’s such a blessing.
Well, if you’re one of those people (like my husband) who always tries to guess the end of the story before you reach the last page, you may have already guessed what happened next. We finished prayer requests and began our lesson and Vikki told us to open our Bibles to the first chapter of Nehemiah, and what does it say?!
1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:
In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said:
“Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of lovewith those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’
10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”
I was cupbearer to the king.
I couldn’t believe it. Cold chills.
I (in my totally not-dramatic-at-all fashion) said “CUPBEARER?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” I explained why I was in such shock, and kept reading the last sentence in the first chapter of Nehemiah over and over again:
“I was cupbearer to the King.”
Okay, Jesus. You have my attention. What in the world?
You see, Nehemiah was in a very similar situation as Esther, which is a story I was a little more familiar with. One of my “life verses” comes from Esther 4:14, when Mordecai encourages Esther to be brave and approach the King on behalf of her people, saying, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
I shared all of this at a Bible study that my friend Meredith and I are both a part of, and when she was editing the photo session she did of Landon’s sink bath, she texted me this picture and said, “Katie, this picture can preach. Cupbearer.”
And that was it. I knew I had to write about it. It had been weeks since I had shared this story at Bible Study. Meredith and I had never talked about it since then. The fact that she even remembered, the fact that she captured the essence of being a cupbearer so perfectly as I tested the temperature of the water, the fact that once again, this word came up and stopped me dead in my tracks… I truly believe that it’s all Jesus.
I wish there was a neat, tidy ending to this story. I wish I could say and then, I realized why this word followed me around and we all lived happily ever after. But, to be honest, I’m still trying to figure it out and it both thrills my heart and terrifies me at the same time. Obviously, we are called to protect our babies… which means we make sure the bath water isn’t too hot and we blow the food to ensure it doesn’t burn their little mouths and we make them wear coats and hats to protect them from the cold. But for me, this word cut straight into the deepest part of my heart. I don’t know yet, what it will mean in the years to come, but I do know that when you feel Jesus speaking to you, you better listen up.