It’s been awhile since I last posted. In fact, the last time I posted was on the very day that my brother and sister-in-love (who are missionaries in West Africa) were furiously driving the dusty roads of Cote Ivoire frantically trying to find help for their Colette, only 22 months young.
It’s a very long story with a lot of scary moments and a boatload of terrifying feelings, but suffice to say, there were seizures, non-breathing moments, a diagnosis of Cerebral Malaria, an air evacuation, a shut-down of kidneys, edema, another air evacuation, a new diagnosis of Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, intubation, sedation, dialysis with small machines, dialysis with big machines, EEGs, MRIs, and lots and lots of tears and fears.
And though I could probably write 14 blog posts about the past 14 days, describing the valley-lows and the mountain-highs, I think my daughter (only one day shy of 2 years old) summarized what I feel like God has been teaching me over the last 336’ish hours.
But before I share that, let me back-track for a few minutes.
For the past three months,
my husband and I my husband has been working REALLY hard on trying to wean our daughter from her beloved paci. It’s been a struggle…a REAL HARD struggle for my daughter for both my daughter and myself.
I’ll be honest, I’ve grown so accustomed to the magical hushing powers of that rubber nipple that it’s been hard to give it up and let it go.
I’m making dinner, and she’s whining at my knees…GET THE PACI!
I’m trying to respond to e-mails, and she’s weeping at my feet…GET THE PACI!
I’m trying to take an uninterrupted shower, and she’s fussing at my wet self…GET THE PACI!
I’m trying to talk with a friend and finish a complete thought, and she’s moaning at my hip…GET THE PACI!
That NUK paci has been a trusted companion, a life line, a nerve stabilizer, a baby whisperer, a hope giver, a suffering husher, and this mother’s best friend and sanity. And guess what?!?! It’s FDA approved, legal, not a choking hazard, not frowned upon by the church, and it was less than $3!!! Seriously, it’s been amazing!
Insert: awkward Gollum image coddling a NUK in his hand while repeating in a voice that is only heard in nightmares and creepy Lord of the Ring scenes, “My precious…my precious.”
With that paci, I BECOME GOLLUM! I won’t tell a lie.
Quick comfort, immediate hushing, and instantaneous soothing–we both have lived life thinking that we needed it.
And honestly, it’s made me a little irritated that daddy hasn’t believed that we needed it too. Apparently daddy is tough as nails, has no ears, has 1/2 a heart, and has nothing to finish before the next day!?!? RIGHT? Well…maybe. But not really.
Daddy just has learned (a whole lot quicker than his girls have) that the paci isn’t something that we HAVE to have.
SO, over the past weeks, this Mama has been slowly trying to exert some self-control and practice some will-power in regard to the handy-dandy paci. And every time I take it from her (in the morning and after naps), I whisper a reminder to both her and myself.
Fast forward to yesterday…
Upon waking from her afternoon nap, my little love-bug was standing in her crib doing something that she’s NEVER done before…like EVER.
With her hand willingly outstretched, she handed me her paci and then uttered the very thing that I’ve been constantly trying to remind the both of us.
“Mama, we not need that.”
I know I should have done a happy-dance to celebrate this momentous milestone, but the Spirit was much, much, MUCH quicker than I was.
Immediately, I was flooded with moments from the past two weeks where I was forced to willingly open my hands AND my heart, loosening my grip on the things I have come to think I NEED.
But when you’re forced to face the reality of death, staring it square in the painful-hard eyes, you realize that you, too often, live life thinking you NEED a lot of things that you really don’t.
I need ENERGY and EXCITEMENT to do my job well.
I need GOURMET food for my daughter’s birthday party.
I need TIME and SPACE to pray and cry out to God.
I need LISTS to deal with my house, my counters, and my laundry.
I need AFFIRMATION, APPROVAL, and VALIDATION to feel ________.
I need WELL-BEHAVED and WELL-RESTED kids to have a good day.
I need HOT DINNERS on the table and CLEAN DISHES in the cupboard.
I need to be THIS KIND OF FRIEND and THIS KIND OF PARENT to be ________.
I need CONFIDENCE…
I need CALM…
I need CONTROL…
I need COMFORT…
I need CURES…
On and on…the list could go.
And as the Lord has graciously done (in a way that only He can), He has lovingly and faithfully used this time of scary suffering to do some serious weed-exposing in my heart and life, revealing that there are many non-paci areas in my life where, “I NOT NEED THAT.”
Because the only thing that I really, REALLY need is…CHRIST.
So tonight, as I reflect on the ways that God has lovingly pried open my hands–reminding and revealing the things in my life that I think I need– I am praising God for the way that He has promised to use suffering to refine us.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:6-7