Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Awful

There is something Awful that happens in my home on a daily basis.

The Awful needs to be bathed in prayer; before, during, after... but I didn't know that right away...

When the moment came, I used to cry, call out to God, my husband, my children, but the words were nonsense, panicky. Heart would pound crazily and body would shake. Afterwards, I always wished I could have stayed calm, that I could be the rock He is, and everyone would swim to me to cling, to rest. But instead, I was a cyclone, pulling panic in my wake and kicking up dust and dirt.

And in the quiet that followed the Awful, I would rock back and forth and whisper, Help me... Help me to be steady. Help me to see...

And slowly, He did. I began to see.

But first, the cry. Then... nothing.

Running to my Little Man, I drop to my knees and lay him gently on his back, even as his lips begin to turn purple. His back arches and his eyes are wide in a panic, but I rub his chest and tummy to soothe.

And I close my eyes, but I can see.

I see the mamas in broken Haiti, wondering where their babies will be found, and if, even.

I see the mamas in starving and war-torn Africa, Ethiopia, Darfur, wondering how they will feed their babies today.

I see the mamas in diseased hospital rooms, wondering when their babies will breathe their last breath.

And in my own fearful moments, I pray for them. For the mama who holds her baby dying of cancer. For the mama who holds her baby dying of hunger. For the mama whose arms are empty.

Because I know that our Awful will pass. And theirs will not.

So when Little Man finds his air again, I scoop his limp body close to my chest and our hearts beat together and

I inhale him until all of my air is gone.

Until he pushes away from me and toddles off to bring me a book or find his favorite ball or chase after his big brother who is as relieved as anyone to hear the laughter and shrieking coming from our Little Man.

And I am Awe-Full, now, that He opened my eyes in this way and now I am a lake of calm while my children float past in their own peace, and my slow breathing and peaceful smile and gentle movements flow effortlessly, under His great mercy.

Ten seconds, perhaps twenty, and it is over. But I continue to kneel, knowing no names, only hearts. And I pray for every nameless Mama who mourns.

Because He sees the Awful, too.

And His comfort is for us all.

16 fellow travelers shared:

mamabear said...

You write so beautifully! You're so obviously led by our Lord while you blog. It's such a privilege to visit. Thank you for giving us all the perspective we so desperately need--usually on a daily basis!

Deidra said...

This idea of awe has always fascinated me. The mixture of fear and holiness and respect and breathlessness. And now you've written here of true breathlessness, and the writing leaves me breathless and in awe...of your heart that writes so freely, and strong mothers who loves so deeply, and our God who sees it all and knows and cares and holds His breath - right along with us, until we each can breathe again. Thank you.

cathy said...

Elise, you always inspire me to be a better mother, a better person, a closer-follower of Jesus. You have put words to what my heart desires in this life...to be a "lake of calm that my children float past in their own peace..."

Jaime said...

I'm glad you posted this Elise, for the simple fact that my Noah does it too! Certainly not every day, but we've had at least 6-10 episodes in the past couple of months. You're right, it is terrifying. But thanks for the link---after reading it and being assured that that is EXACTLY what is happening to him, I too can relax a little and stay calm when it happens (hopefully!) God must lead you to be encouraging to others who need it, even when you don't realize it! Thanks :)

Raya said...

Oh... my son did that too but thankfully he grew out of it, but it was so scary at first .
Many blessing

Kelly T said...

Thanks for your words, friend. My Sophie had a febrile seizure on Sunday, and as her fever was been on and off since then, I have been living in a slight state of fear. Trusting Him, and knowing He loves her more than I, but still scared nontheless.

I needed to read these words today. His comfort IS for us all.

Queenheroical said...

"... let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. " Psalm 5: 11
You have such a beautiful heart Elise, and my prayers I add to yours.

Linda said...

I couldn't agree more with all of these sweet comments. You have a very special heart Elise.
I can understand the fear. I, who can handle emergencies with great calm, became a total basket case when it was one of my own children. I once ran around the living room saying I can't even remember what, while my three year old who had hit his head on the corner of the tv lay on the couch with his bleeding (we're talking lots of blood here) head saying, "Mom, call me a doctor!" (sorry for this ridiculously long run-on sentence).
There is some sort of shift when we can see things with spiritual eyes, when we can feel with His heart.
This was an amazing post.

Mercy said...

Your writing continues to be amazing... clearly a willing vessel being sailed by God.

Erna said...

Oh Elise, I could feel the feelings you felt in your post. I have my own version of "AWFUL" but in other medical circumstances. There are days I wonder if my daughter will draw her last breath only to let the moments pass and have her return to herself. I stand in AWE of the ONE who has created a human body that goes through so much and yet remains so strong. You have a great heart of compassion and how wonderful that the Lord could move you to pray for those around the world who may never hold their child again, who wonder when their child's breath will be their last, or if they will be able to see the mountain-top after a time in the valley. God bless you and your Little Man (as well as the rest of the family) today.

Kristin said...

Such beautiful words as always. What a wonderful reminder to draw us out of ourselves. It is too easy in most every circumstance to focus on me and my fear and my concerns when instead I should turn outward to a hurting world. Bless you, Elise, and bless the little man, too.

(One more thing. I love the imagery of peace. Through the seeming rush of days, I long to exude His peace, too, and have it soak into my children.)

Andrea said...

you put into words what us mamas are struggling with amidst this tragedy. thank you.

Stacey said...

Mmmmm, yes. I am in awe of those who march on despite their hearts being cut out.... for to lose a child. sigh. i can't even type it, the anguish.

i am so weak, he did not give me these struggles, for he knows i would not handle them well.

thank you for sharing.

@queenheroical - that scripture, wow. thank you for sharing. it touched my heart tonight as I sit reflecting on a day where much refuge was sought. thank you.

JJ said...

Wow. Beautifully written. Only a true trial could produce such heart and beauty.

Hanna's Mommy said...

Simply beautiful words, spoken by only a mother that loves so immensely and deeply... so blessed that I happened to stumble upon your blog today.

Anonymous said...

My little Faithy-girl did this too. The first time was when she was about 8 months old and it continued until she was about four years old. Even now, occasionally, she will cry and have trouble taking the next deep breath. It is enough to stop a Mama's heart. It is so frightening, even when we know what it is and that it will soon pass and that baby will be back to normal.

I am so thankful that we can TRUST Him, aren't you? That no matter what, He holds us, He never leaves us, He walks with us through it.

And yes, Elise, perspective--our suffering in comparison with the sufferings of others. It pales, doesn't it?

Keep trusting and leaning on the one who is faithful.

Blessings,

Clarissa

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