We've had a rough week. I've always found the stomach flu in a large family to be one of the heaviest crosses. It takes soooo long to make it's way through the whole family, and although I can handle the lighter bugs that pass quickly and simply tack on extra laundry and cleaning, I loathe the big bad viruses. They are the ones where your children suffer tremendously. Unable to keep anything down, even water, you find your little ones curled up in a ball, moaning and crying out in pain while you try your best (fully in vain) to reassure them that it will soon pass. Those abominable bugs are a special kind of torture for parent and child alike. It just kills me that I can't fix it or even give them something to offer relief. I rub their backs and pray, begging God to help them cope and to alleviate their suffering, as they're hunched over repeating the words, "Please make it stop!"
This time around a couple of my daughters had a good dose of this type of pain. My seven year old, who is usually the one to fiercely tighten her lip and "will" her way through painful experiences, was wailing, her eyes flashing panic. It broke my heart to see her in such a state. "I can't take anymore!" she cried, "What can I do?!?" I whispered, "I'm so sorry you're going through this. I wish more than anything that I could take your pain away." I would have even gladly born it for her. Then she crushed me.
Through tears she said, "I can offer this pain up for something, right?" I nodded. She looked at my eight month pregnant belly and said, "I'll offer it for the baby."
It was a misty-eyed moment to say the least.
I don't know why it surprised me. My hope is to foster the faith in my little ones, to teach and guide them, so that they will know the One who loves them and has His hand over them, but I fully admit, they are often the ones schooling me. I have to remind myself that holiness is blind to age. In Jeremiah 1:7, "The Lord says, 'Say not I am too young'." and how many saints have put us to shame by their example of devotion and sacrifice even in their most tender years? Our children are not the future of the church: they are the church now, with us.
Amidst the strain and grind of the journey, I'm so grateful for the holy, chubby little hands that make their way into mine and for the words of infinite wisdom, beauty and selflessness out of the mouths of babes...
...Granted, I spent this morning pulling a gem-embedded bead out of my two year old's nostril with tweezers (it was the size of a small marble and was waaaay up there) and then had to stop my three year old from using my new Apple Pencil to clean out his ear, but believe me people, I'm in the midst of saints! And I'm eager to continue my schooling from the these pure souls who are so often used as the mouthpiece of God speaking directly to my heart.
*In celebration of our family now being sick-free, we've put together this sweet video. This seven year old's voice will melt your heart. So thankful to God that she's fully recovered from her ordeal.