It had been a long day. A very long day. I remember feeling pretty frustrated and dissatisfied with life in general. It all started with some pictures my dad sent me. He had recently talked with an amazing missionary from Peru who worked with indigenous tribes. This man had spent years gathering data about the various different people groups and their locations, exposure to the gospel, and whether or not they had their own written language. My dad, knowing that I loved language study and have a degree in applied linguistics, thought that I would be interested in this info, so he emailed it to me. I had been having a rough week in “mom world” and with sleep deprivation due to our girls’ illness, and behavior issues to deal with, I was already pretty worn down. I looked at these documents and I thought, “Wow. I could be doing that.” There were pictures with each different tribe, and my heart was moved. I longed to be out there, on the “front lines,” making a difference. But instead, I was here, in the suburbs, folding yet another load of laundry, and wondering if I was wasting my life.
My thoughts were interrupted by a thud, and then crying coming from Evie’s room. I went in and found her on the floor. She had somehow climbed out of her crib. I held her and comforted her and put her back down for a nap. Later that evening, I was getting supper on the table and I had Little People toys set up on the floor for Evie to play with so that I could get supper on and keep an eye on her at the same time. I noticed that each time she went to bear weight on her arm, she would sit back up and cry. At dinner, Eric and I debated whether we should take her in to urgent care, but I was reluctant to do that yet. With three children with asthma, we are on a first name basis with pretty much every doctor and nurse at Urgent Care, and it is almost embarrassing how many times we have been there. I opted to give her ibuprofen and see how she felt in the morning.
We all went to bed, and as is customary in the world of women, bedtime is the perfect time to talk out all of our feelings. So I did. I told Eric how I felt about the missions info I had read. I reminded him of all of the things I used to do in Peru. I told him about evangelistic campaigns, and leading music, and teaching classes at church. I told him about leading people to the Lord during altar calls. I informed him of how skilled I truly was in a whole variety of things that I do not use at all in my life right now. I finished my monologue with, “And I am capable of SO MUCH more than this.” Yep. I said that. Then I rolled over, frustrated and kind of angry, and tried to sleep.
But I could not sleep, because I heard crying coming from Evie’s room. I went down to check on her, and when I went in, she was inconsolable. No matter what I did, she would not calm down. It was after 11pm. so if we took her in to urgent care now, I would have to drive all the way to the downtown children’s hospital. We didn’t have a choice, because by this point, I thought maybe she actually broke something. I couldn’t imagine her breaking a bone from climbing out of her crib and landing on soft, thick carpet, but stranger things have happened. I loaded her up and took off for downtown. We arrived at around 11:30. The waiting room was packed. I signed her in, and we waited. I held her on my lap, because I could just imagine the viruses crawling all over the waiting room. This was one of the few times that I was at ER with my child for a non-breathing related issue. I had no idea people could have to wait that long.
We got called back to a room at around 4 am. If I thought I was tired before…this was a whole new level of weary. They x-rayed her arm and sure enough, it was broken. They put a little splint on it and sent us home. By the time I got home, it was around 5:30, and the other girls would be waking up any minute, ready for their breakfast and needing mom to get them ready for the day and off to school. I put Evie in her crib, and she went right to sleep. I went into the kitchen and began washing my hands with antibacterial soap, trying to get rid of any remaining ER germs. As I stood at the sink, with a weary heart and body, I began to think about the conversation with Eric the night before. I stood there and prayed, just asking the Lord to align my heart with truth, because my heart was so tired, and felt so full of discontent. I asked Him to speak to me. There was no response.
I was so tired and already dreading the upcoming day, operating on no sleep. I felt angry and like this was just one more thing on the list of why my life stinks right now, when I looked up from my sink and saw one of the few remaining note cards on the side of my cabinet. It said, “Lay down your life.”
I lost it. OK, Lord. I hear you! I get it. I just cried and then half laugh/cried because when He answers in an argument, it’s over. There was nothing more to say. Lay down your life. Are you capable of more that this? Lay down your life. Jesus was capable of infinitely more than He became when He came to us as a helpless baby. The passage from Philippians came to my mind. “Though He was God, he didn’t think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” He was capable of more. He was God. He set aside so much that He had every right to…for a reason. That reason was us. Our lives depended on His laying down His life out of love. Can I do the same for my little ones? Nobody prepares you for the sacrifice involved in parenthood, and yet it is accomplishing something deeper than you could ever imagine, not just in our kids, but in us. It is a picture of the gospel. Every time we lay down our lives, our kids see Jesus. What could be more important than that?