There are so many lessons we learn from mothering……so many. When Evan was just nine months old, he had RSV, and was very sick. He was in the hospital for six days. While he was there, the Lord used the experience I am going to share to speak to my heart. I wrote the following while sitting in his hospital room. It still comes to my mind and heart often. I pray it will comfort and help you as it has me.
My baby is sick. His little body is miserable from coughing. He aches, and does not want to eat. He is sleeping a lot, exhausted from the effort he is expending just breathing.
I sit and watch him lying in his little tent, wishing there were more I could do to make him well, wishing I could take the sickness and discomfort and pain for him. We’ve been at the hospital for three days now, although time has become somewhat distorted, measured in shift changes and breathing treatments.
This morning, his IV site had to be moved. We’ve been here long enough that I was expecting this…..and dreading it. But I know that it is necessary. And so, when they tell me is must be done, I just nod.
They come to take him to the room where they will do the procedure, and ask if I want to come. No parent wants to see their child in pain, and I have already seen him go through this once, but I feel I must go with him. As much as I hate to watch his suffering, I want him to see my face, feel my hand, and hear my voice telling it will be alright, that it will all be over soon.
And so we go….just down the hall, into a room with bright lights and a stainless steel table covered with a blanket, instruments, tape, and other things they will need. The nurses begin their work, poking his chubby little wrists and ankles, peering from different angles as they look for a vein. He is fine at first, kicking and cooing. Then they tie a strip of rubber around his arm, hoping to see a little vein pop up. It’s as if he has a flash of memory and knows he’s been here before. I see a bit of fear creeping in his eyes as his coos turn to cries.
They wrap his body in a swaddler to help hold him still, and one nurse holds his feet as the other prepares to insert the needle into the top of his foot. I hold his hands, and try to distract him. But now the fear in his eyes is near panic as he struggles against their grip. I talk to him, trying to soothe him. But he is screaming now. His pain and panic make it difficult for him to focus on my face. His crying makes it almost impossible for him to hear my voice as he fights to free his hands from mine.
As I seek to comfort Him, seemingly to no avail, the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart. How often have I been like my baby – in pain, suffering, and unable to understand why? How many times in my fear and hurt and confusion have I wondered, “Father, if you love me, why are you allowing me to feel this kind of pain?” How frequently have I been too overwhelmed, too consumed, too immature to consider that He would never allow this kind of pain if it were not for my good? How often have I been too angry at my circumstances to be grateful that I never suffer alone, too panicked to realize that the hands I push away are the ones seeking to calm and comfort me, too vocal to hear the still, small voice that whispers, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love,” and “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”?
All this was over in just a few moments, and I was able to pick my little one up, and hold him. Before long, he falls asleep. As I watch him, I pray for his healing.
He will not remember this one incident, but as he grows, I hope that he will learn to love and trust me. I hope that he will come to know how deeply I feel his pain, and how greatly I desire his well-being.
I am far from a perfect parent. I will make wrong judgments. As hard as I try, I will not always be able to be there when he needs me. I will not always be able to say the right thing, to alleviate his fears, or to comfort his heart. I will not always be able to protect him from harm, try as I may. But I will love him. I will do my utmost to protect and nurture him.
One day, when he is older, he may learn to sit quietly, lay his head on my shoulder, hold my hand, look at my face, and let me talk to him while the doctors or nurses do their work. The pain is truly not any less, but the comfort is much greater when we do not struggle so hard against it, and when we trust the hands that allow it to be, knowing that they would never willingly allow us to be harmed.
I pray that one day I will learn to be that kind of daughter, one who trusts my heavenly Father implicitly. I hope that I will learn, even in the midst of suffering, trials, grief and pain to listen for His voice, to look on His face, and to lean on His mighty arm, knowing that He will never fail me. I hope that I will learn to run to Him for comfort instead of from Him in confusion. I hope that I will mature enough to appreciate His presence rather than accusing Him for my pain. I pray that I will always remember that the Lord promises, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you;” (Isa. 66:13).