Friday, November 23, 2012


“That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.”
–C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
Her life, my womb once effortlessly sustained, is now cradled in fumbling hands.

I rest my palm on her narrow fontanelle. My heart pulses to its beat.

I peel off her onesie and dip her in a tepid bath. I wrap her hot, chilled body in a pink and yellow towel. She clings to me, peering beneath the hood of heavy, glassed eyes.

I hope she cannot feel how I shake.

She sleeps, a marionette devoid of strings.

I scour the sink lip and wipe the border of the floor. I reply to emails and sort laundry.

I check her temperature…100, 101, 102.

Last night, it reached 103.4.

I swirl fermented cider and curdled half and half down the drain.

She coughs, coos from her playpen. Her dimpled hands clutch a square of sunlight streaming through the kitchen window.

She is so trusting; I am diseased with doubt.

I tie off bags of trash and pluck lint from the gleaming hardwood floor.

My lips form prayers, too antagonistic for requests:

Don’t you take her from me.

When He is the One who gave.

Don’t you do this to me.

When He is the One who knows what I can handle.

In between lighting of candles (to cleanse the scent of illness) and the folding of her satin-edged blanket, I clutch my daughter’s life in a death grip.

Things, people, have been taken from me before. Prayers have gone unanswered.

My life, unprotected.

How can I expect the One who once turned a deaf ear to heal?

Inside, my daughter sleeps. Outside, my breath echoes her labored breath on the baby monitor, both filtered through a stuffy nose and scarlet cheeks.

The sun slips further behind the mountains; the dwindling rays illuminating the white oaks, which have been stripped to bone.

Yet beneath the dead branches, life still lurks.

Waiting to be reawakened.

And I know those who I have lost will one day be regained.

My life that was once unprotected, has been renewed.

And that in giving her back to the One who had her first, I can find my trust again.


  1. It's alright God understands a mother's heart.His runs deep too wasn't it God who said "I wish that none would perish?" Love, Mom.

    1. Thanks for the words of love, Mom. It is a comfort to know that you've been there, too...with all of us. Love you.

  2. The hardest thing for a mother is to watch a child suffer. We want to protect, to preserve. It is our calling, our mantra.

    And at the same time we also must learn to let go, to trust.

    It is hard, but your mom is right. God knows our hearts.

    I often think of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham trusted because He knew God could do all things, even raise the dead. He is a God of promises, and He will never renege on one. Never forsake us abandon us.

    Praying for Adelaide's return to health, and for your peace of mind.

    1. Thank you, Cecilia, for this precious reminder. I am learning to trust God with my daughter and with everything...

  3. I completely understand:-) Neither of my girls even had a sniffle when they were little and I never experienced that "fear". Then Caleb came:-) The slightest congestion and it goes straight to his lungs. I have sat up rocking him to keep him upright many a night so he could breathe without gasping, so I understand that gripping fear. "What if his lung collapses again? What if I can't get his 104 fever to come down since it's holding its own despite alternating fever reducing potions and cool baths? I can't take another trip to the NICU as that is what they will do with him." You have to look at them and know that Jesus loves the little children and that He holds them in a way that a parent cannot. They are His special treasures. With Him, they can know no harm because He will do what is best. It's a hard thing, this parenting stuff:-) It truly is a "dying to self". You will learn a trust in God that you've never known before!

    1. Oh my, Lauren. It sounds like lil' Caleb is truly helping you to trust in the One who created him. I am learning to trust, too. We will all get day. :)

  4. Oh, Jolina. I hope baby girl is getting better by the minute. THis was so,so beautifully written ... it touched me so deeply.

    1. She is doing so much better, Melissa. She is sleeping now--peacefully--and hasn't had a fever since this morning. Such a relief! Xxoo

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