As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Caring Unapologetically

As I sit in my recliner writing this, my son sleeps restlessly on the couch less than four feet away. For the past four days he has been battling a flu-like virus, and for the last 30 hours or so, it has manifested in severe congestion in his sinuses. We know this is the last stage since our daughter endured the same nasty bug last week. We also know in some ways, this is the hardest stage.

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen give a good defense against the fever and headache. Lying still helps with the tummy ache, but the congestion is just a beast. Vaporizers, decongestants, and loads of waters don’t make much difference at all. If he lies down, he coughs and gags because the junk settles in his throat, so we keep him propped up, and it is easier to do that on the couch than in his bed. Plus, it is easier for one of us to be close to him this way as well.

During the two week stint of this virus’ rampage in our home, Rob and I have taken turns staying up with the children. Because their temperatures shot up to 103-104 without medicine, one of us would set an alarm and get up to give them medicine when it was needed. When little muscles and joints ached because of the high fever, we’d rub them. We placed cool washcloths on foreheads, and we kept water bottles readily available.

We have become aware of breathing changes, even quiet moans, and body movement. We have figured out which moans meant muscles ached and which moans meant we better have a trashcan ready. Even in our sleep, we are aware of these things and quickly respond to the need of the moment.

Thankfully, we have the ability to tag-team. After supper, I lay down and napped while Rob cared for the children. Now, I am taking the first shift of the night while he sleeps. If need be, I’ll wake him up later, and he’ll take over.

Granted, some of you might be wondering why we are “hovering”, and some of you may think our attention is excessive. You are certainly entitled to think that way, and I won’t tell you that you are wrong. However, one thing I have learned in my journey as a person and as a parent is that people usually have reasons for what they do, whether you agree or not. In my case, yes, I do fuss over my children when they are sick. Yes, I most likely am too protective. However, I know what we have gone through as we have dealt with a child who had a habit of going into respiratory distress without warning. For example, one very scary night I woke up and felt prompted to check on Robert. After the fact, it was obvious that it was the Holy Spirit who woke me up, but at the time I almost didn’t get up because a few ladies had taken it upon themselves to tell me I was overprotective and needed to quit fussing over my children so much. Instead of lying back down, I figured those women weren’t there to know, so I went into Robert’s room to find his lips and mouth blue and in distress to the point he could not make sound.

Maybe I am more fussy than most mothers. I don't know. What I know is my children. I know where we've been, and I know what we've endured. I am extremely protective, and I won't apologize for it.

And besides, I think we are teaching our children something important. Our actions tell our children, “You can depend on us. We are watching out for you.” More than that, I think we are saying, “Because we represent God to you, we want our actions to clearly say you can depend on Him. He is watching out for you.”

The Bible says we can cast our cares on Him because He cares for us. If our sitting in this recliner or dosing on the floor teaches our children that they can sleep when they are sick because they know we’ll be there if they need us, then it’s worth it because some day they will have to do something that tests their trust in God whether it be a move for business, a broken relationship, sickness, whatever. Something will come when they need to know they can trust God to care for them, and Rob and I will be able to say, “Do you remember when you were little and you would get sick? We would lie with you or put you on the couch and we’d sleep in the recliner or on the floor?” They’ll nod, and we’ll say, “We were so aware of your needs. Remember how we had water for you, gave you medicine, made sure there were crackers where you could reach them? Remember how we uncovered you when you were hot and wrapped you up when you were cold?” They’ll nod again, and we’ll say, “We did all that because we love you. We cared about you and cared about your comfort and health. We cared that you could rest. We cared about how you felt. We did those things because we love you, and you know what? God loves you even more.

“He is even more aware of your needs. He is everything you need, and where we could only wish to help, He can completely help. When we had to sleep or leave your side for a moment, He never leaves you. When we would get fatigued and frustrated, He is always patient and kind. He says you can cast every care and concern on Him because He cares for you. Whatever is bothering you, He will give you the attention we gave you and more. The comfort you found in knowing we were there, you can find in knowing He is there.”

Yeah, we might be a bit obsessive, but we’ve had a good example. I pray we reflect Him well enough for our children to see that.

May you be aware of the caring presence of the Lord in whatever is making you ache as well.

Copyright Jerri Phillips @ 2007


Paula said...

Beautiful post, Jerri. My husband and I spent many sleepless nights when our children were little. I didn't think of it as hovering, but as doing our job!

Like you, I hope our love translates into a security so that our children find it easier to believe in the security and love God offers them.

Great post.

Linda said...

Very sweet, post, Jerri--you are a WONDERFUL Mom judging by what you've written here. Do not ever apologize for loving a child too much. If more parents were like you there would be fewer deep hurts for the Holy Spirit to work through and heal when we become adults. My opinion is, it's your JOB to hover right now! There will be time for pulling away little by little so that when they're my kids' ages (college, high school) there is less hovering. You will know when it's time to pull back. Right now, I say, "Hover like a mothercraft!"