Steadfast Love

steadfastThe weight of my daughter’s body is heavy on my chest. We are lying together, on my bed, in the dark. Her breathing is slowing; I can feel the rattle in her lungs of a cough that will not go away.

For weeks now, she’s been coughing. We’ve already used boxes of kleenex on her endlessly runny nose. And she has struggled to sleep more than two hours at a time, usually vomiting at least once a day after a particularly hard coughing fit.

The days are filled with sickness, crabbiness, and forever trying to wipe her nose as she thrashes her head back and forth in protest. Our nights, that hour or so in which it is just my husband and I, wearily trying to connect for the day, have also been interrupted.

Tonight, I put the kids to bed myself so that Eric could have a few hours to work on a looming freelance deadline. I wrestled the nebulizer on Elsa’s face. Owen watched The Muppets on his own while I nursed her, though I also longed to snuggle his little body in this cold house. I put her down. I put him down. Cleaned up the toys. Did the dishes. Swept the dining room floor of the remnants of our dinner.  I had just made some popcorn for myself, about to finally sit down, when I heard her cry. This has become routine now. She has been waking up about an hour after bed and staying awake for the next hour or so, not wanting to nurse, but just wanting to be held. Breathing is hard when you are congested and lying down and still new enough to the world that you sometimes forget to breathe through your mouth.

I head into the room. And she has vomited all herself, all over the sheets. For the second night in a row. And now, I am crying.

I am crying because I am so, so tired.
I am crying because I would do anything to help this little girl be healthy again.
I am crying because my popcorn was just ready.
I am crying because there have been no breaks.

I pick her up and clean her off and get her new jammies. She is calm in my arms. I sway and sing to her, and then we lay down in the bed together. I try lying next to her, but she is straining every muscle in her body to be on me, and I think, I will hold her for now, while she is still little and reaching out to me, her body so tired.

I slowly rub her back and sing over and over again:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning,
new every morning,
Great is thy faifhfulness, Oh God,
Great is thy faithfulness. 

A lullaby for her. A mantra for me.

I am still crying. I am crying because I can’t believe I rolled my eyes as I first heard her cry tonight, that I sighed at the thought of room-temperature popcorn.

I am crying as I think of God, my Father, coming to lift me out of my own vomit, with neither eye roll or sigh. I have chosen, again and again, to do what annoys him, wearies him, wounds him. But He comes, at the first hint of my cry, to hold me, to comfort me. He whispers I love you, even as his popcorn gets cold. And oh, how He wishes to restore me to fullness of health. To abundance. Hours and days and years of the same sins, the same patterns, and still, He comes when I call, and sometimes even when I don’t.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.


(Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago when we were in the thickest thicket of sick kids and sleepless nights. Elsa is better now, and we’re sleeping slightly more, but the truth is unchanged. Happy Friday.) 

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17 thoughts on “Steadfast Love

  1. Our Father is always with us! He is Our everlasting hope and faith he will always be with us no matter what! Keep the faith and loving those beautiful children! We are their guide! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings! God Bless You and your family!

  2. I think all of us who have been mothers want to hold and comfort you, my friend. And feed you popping-hot corn. We have been there. But what you have gleaned from this is a truth no one can take away – though you don’t love your babies perfectly as Jesus does – you love them enough to learn a little more about the perfect love he has for them, for you, his child, his sheep.
    This has always been a favorite reminder to myself and to parents of young children:
    “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. ” (Is. 40:11) “GENTLY LEADS,” don’t forget that.

    • Oh, Margie – I love that verse. Our shared friend Sarah Johannsen shared that at a baby shower for me prior to baby #1, and it is a verse I often feel like I am clinging to with white knuckles. I love the idea that the God who rules and orders the cosmos thought to put a verse like that in for weary mothers.

  3. I can relate to so much in this post! The nebulizer, the dining room crumbs, the husband working on freelance… I have even sung that very song to my littles thinking, I need these words more than you. Beautifully written. You are a wonderful mama!

  4. I remember feeling that way when my Lil’ girl wouldn’t go to sleep. Daddy had to be at work @ 5am and she was still crying at night. He was tired & frustrated as so was I. I remember rocking her to sleep every night for a week till she got used to her crib. It is in those moments we see what is truly important. This too shall pass, I tell myself, so soak up every precious moment, no matter how tired you are, as there is sleep to come!

    • “this too shall pass” – there is a song by Danny Schmidt by that same title that I have literally sung in my head in the middle of the night when awake with my babies :) A good reminder!

  5. Beautiful testimony of the power of a song, loving relationships and an ever loving God. As a Gramma and mom of three older children, your account brought back many memories of similar trials and days when those burdens were lifted. God bless you and your family.

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