Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I'm Right Here

"I know you can't see me, baby, but I'm right here.  Mama's right here, honey."

As soon as the words left my lips that day, I knew there was more to the moment.  More than my attempt to comfort a wailing, sick and uncomfortable baby while driving to the pediatrician's office.  Those words were meant for me as well.

That day as I drove, my heart was breaking and tears were brimming. I had never heard my sweet 10 month old scream like this, she always calms down and goes to sleep in the car.  Always. But not this time. Every mile I drove seemed to bring a renewed intensity to her cries. (Later we would learn a nasty ear infection was the culprit.)  Logically, I knew she was right where she needed to be - safely buckled in her rear-facing car seat so we could get to the doctor. But since she was facing backwards, of course she couldn't see me.  She was hurting and desperately crying out for her mama and everything in me wanted to stop the hurt.

I mentally ran through my options.  It would have been ridiculous (not to mention illegal) to take her out and drive the rest of the way with her on my lap.  She would have been able to see me, to feel me, and it may have offered temporary relief, but would have put her in great danger.  Forbid that something would happen, but nobody ever plans a car accident.  Her little body would have no protection without her car seat. Not an option.  I could have stopped and held her, but I knew the screams would start again as soon as I put her back in her seat.  What she really needed was to get to the doctor without delay. So as her mother who loves her beyond words, I had to let her experience momentary discomfort in order to get her what she really needed.  And it was hard.  So hard.

My only option, all I could really do, was speak to her - to remind her I was close by even if she couldn't see me.

"I know you can't see me, but I'm right here . . ."

My husband pointed out the other day that as a family we have been through almost every major change possible over the past year: job changes, school changes, the birth of not just one but two precious babies, and a major move.  Any one of those things would be enough to deal with, but all of them in such a short amount of time has proven extremely challenging to every part of me - spiritual, emotional and physical.

For various reasons, the past two months in particular has just about put me over the top.  Or down in the depths.  Whatever.  Nothing feels settled, every area of life feels upended and there is no margin.  There are mornings I wake up and tell God, "Nope, sorry.  You got the wrong girl because I just can't do today."  And of course I still get up, because I'm a grown-up and also because leaving five children to fend for themselves just really isn't such a great idea.

But the whole day often feels like a battle and I find myself grasping for spiritual straws - trying to read a verse here, throwing out prayers that hit the ceiling there - and I ask God, "Where are you? I know you're here.  I know that logically.  But I can't feel you.  I can't see you. Are you sure you're here??"

" . . .I'm right here . . ."

That day as I drove, as the feeble attempt to calm my screaming baby escaped my lips, I realized the Lord was just as much comforting another one of children - the one that was driving, the one whose heart is screaming for her Father every day, who desperately needs to see Him.  And He reminded me that just as I was doing the best for my child right then, so is He doing the same for me.  Always.

Even when I can't see Him.

Even when I can't feel Him.

He's still driving me toward what I really need, even if it means discomfort.  And while that doesn't completely dry my tears, and I still feel in the midst of daily battle, it feels good to at least  hear His voice.

To be reminded He's right here.

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