photo credit: mikecogh via photopin cc

photo credit: mikecogh via photopin cc

I started thinking up hashtags at 2 am. Not a good sign.






This child was miserable. Compared to the other, he was miserable for much longer and many, many, many more times. Middle of the night rendezvous of this nature are never pleasant for anyone.

After the umpteenth time of consoling and comforting, cleaning and tucking, the little weak voice spoke out. Echoes of his brother.

“Thanks for taking care of me.” In the eye of the storm, these are the words that came out.


Of course. Of course, I think.

What is it about a stomach bug that brings out such meaningful statements and polite manners–especially in the dark, lonely hours of the night?

I’m seeing these moments of vulnerability, even in young, spent little bodies and tired spirits, that remind me of our great need to know that we are not alone in this life. We need to be cared for. We need to be comforted. We need more than what we ourselves can supply.

These verses are worn thin in my Bible, from hands that trace the words to remind myself of its truth:

You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. . . . You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?. . .even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139: 2-3, 5-6, 12)

There’s beauty in knowing we cannot be anywhere where God cannot care for us. In our room, on the bathroom floor, on the couch, in the dark. Always there, shining like day–even at 2 o’clock in the morning.

Hidden under warm covers, the middle one now rests in the calm after his storm. He chooses to be out in the open while we go about our business of the day, preferring the sound of our voices and the mere knowledge that he isn’t alone. And he isn’t. Not even a little bit.







All Alone, in the Dark

photo credit: Inter.rs via photopin cc

photo credit: Inter.rs via photopin cc

It was somewhere in the late evening hours, after cleaning up a miserable child’s vomit, that I started questioning our decision to add to our family. Not seriously, mind you. Just the kind of wondering that occurs in the midst of puke and crying and germs and exhaustion and it seems a little crazy to add more potential receivers or carriers into the mix. Could one or more fit into this puzzle of chaos? Who would want to–especially on a night like this?

All these thoughts hung low, like a fog, circling around as I went through the motions of cleanup and comforting.

It was finally when I was tucking the child in, spent and trembling from a fever and unhappiness, that he said it.

“What?” I couldn’t hear the small voice. Under covers and near sleep.

“I like when you take care of me.”

I was speechless. “Of course I am going to take care of you–it’s my job!” I wanted to say. Or “I love you. It’s what I do! I couldn’t NOT do it if I tried.” Or “That’s what mamas are for! All this stuff–the gross and hard and scary stuff!” All of it true but somehow missing the real point. I’m there because I’m called. I’m there to teach about the One who calls.

As I lingered over the child, leaving one last touch on his arm, I realized there are kids all over this planet, all over our countysitting in the dark, alone, missing something excruciatingly important. Kids who don’t have mamas to lay hands on their backs while they suffer, praying over their little bodies, storming the gates of heaven on their behalf. There are kids who don’t have someone who feels their cheek to see how warm they’ve become, to measure their progress, or to kiss their sweaty little heads as they lay in their hot mess.

My heart beat a little faster as I stood next to the bed, realizing the magnitude of the moment. I’m here. And the child knows it. But he also knows the One who holds us both.

In the dark, alone, he knows he’s not really alone. Isn’t that what we mamas want to be teaching our children? When he hurts, the darkness may feel frightening. When he trembles, his body may feel near the end. Yes, there are my hands who help him. But then there are Hands, one on each side of him, gentle pressure on the skin that holds in his soul. Loving, walking and guiding him through. He can count on that, even when my hands are not there.

That’s what I’m teaching him. That.

And as for the fog, it blew over. It didn’t have time to linger long. It burned off, thanks to the Son.