Nora Beth woke up from her nap yesterday with a case of croup. She went through the evening, night and most of today in great spirits, totally defying her barking cough and fever. She was exceptionally snuggly, which isn’t her norm, and at one point reached up, touched my mouth and whispered, “Mommy. Your lips are beautiful a’day.” Also worth noting (for my memory), she didn’t know the word for throat, so when we tried asking her what hurt, she would point to it and say, “my… chin. my… tongue.” Bless her sweet heart.
Things took a turn for her tonight around 5:15 when the croup took over, leaving her a pile of fever, tears and labored breathing. As I held her sturdy little body against me in a bathroom full of steam and running water, I kept murmuring to her, rocking her, singing sweet songs, trying to assure her that if she would just stop fighting for the oxygen, it would come. Finally, after about half an hour I felt her relax into me and fall asleep. As her body relaxed, her breathing grew more even, and the fight left her. There was peace in the inhale.
While I don’t usually like domestic anecdotes taking a hard segue into the spiritual, tonight, that’s what happened in my heart. Sitting and rocking and reassuring and urging her fragile, hurting body to trust me, I couldn’t help but feel it impressed on my heart how often the Father is coaxing the same trust from me.
For Nora Beth, the fuel for her fight to fill her lungs was, in fact, the fear that she couldn’t find the air. She was becoming her worst enemy and being counterproductive to the thing she was most desperate for. In my own life, when I’m seeking affirmation or security or hope or peace, I can destroy my own progress when I become so frantic to find it – searching this way, seeking that way, darting my eyes to and fro – that I lose my focus on the source, stifling my own ability to receive the very thing I’m yearning for most.
Now, I can picture the Father holding my fragile humanness in His arms, whispering and singing and murmuring and reassuring me, that all I need to do to find all of the things I need is to relinquish my fight. To let the fight drain from my tense spirit and actually feel the arms that are holding me. Allow myself to hear the voice that knows what is best even in the midst of my fear.
For Nora Beth tonight, as the fight exhaled, she was able to inhale. For me, as I surrender the fight, the victory makes its way into my outstretched hands. Thankfully, my big girl’s body will only be wracked by this virus for a short time. Unfortunately for me, my soul will be wracked by my doubting human nature until I reach eternity… but what that also means is that His hands will never leave me. His whispers will never cease. His reassurance will never fail. If I surrender the fight and the fear, His exhales will be the fuel for my inhalation.