Thursday, January 16, 2014

THE BAND-AID EFFECT

I thought that cute princess band-aids would be a fun stocking stuffer for the girls this year.  For reasons only known to my frantic Christmas shopping self, I ordered them from Amazon and got four boxes shipped free with Prime.  With this wealth of band-aids, the girls - especially Bella - have sometimes found ways to "need" them.

"I'm hurt!  I need a band-aid."
"There is a little bit of blood."  (read: tiny, itty bittiest of scratches)
"I have a boo boo.  A band-aid will make it better."

Afterlight

These are the band-aid refrains that ring in my ears several times a week.  And, I get it.  Ariel is beautiful, and I can understand that Bella wants her swimming around her  finger.  It makes everything feel better.  Especially when nothing is really feeling that badly to start with.

While my mom, the elementary school nurse, was here for Lily's birthday weekend, she noticed that Bella had a large rash at the base of her back.  I had seen her scratching it, but I hadn't realized how raw it was looking.  With my mom's insistence and help, we decided to put some cream on it to help clear it up.

You would have thought that we were pulling out her nails one by one if you could have heard Bella screaming.  I know it was not painful, but the fit that she threw was still quite pronounced.  In the morning, the rash was dramatically better, and I have not seen her clawing at her back anymore.

It got me thinking about the things that I make out to be a big deal.  I wonder how often God listens to my prayers and thinks, "I see you asking for a band-aid for that little tiny thing.  What about the giant rash that you are not addressing?  Don't you feel the itch?  Aren't you actually raw?  Don't you see how much help you really need?"

As someone that has always felt capable and competent (to a certain extent), I was used to thinking that I could handle things.  Having four kids has helped me realize my depravity and lack more quickly than I used to.  I really cannot do it.  When someone always needs something and someone else is always crying about something else, I want to retreat into myself and not deal with anything.  It feels overwhelmingly hard many moments during the day, and please don't get me started on how it feels in the night.

So I find myself praying and asking God for the band-aid of having my babies sleep through the night consistently.  But, in my heart of hearts, I can feel God telling me to look at the bigger picture and to ask for bigger help than that.  The help really needs to come to my heart.  I need more of Christ's servant attitude and love and grace that comes while dealing with my children at times that don't feel convenient for me.  God doesn't develop those qualities by using easy and fun things.  No - instead, he places us in situations and circumstances that cause us to cry out to him.

He uses the giant rashes in our life to make us more like himself, and while I may not like it, I can either wither and fail by sinking more into myself and what I want (which does happen sometimes), or I can lean into the Lord's strength, where all grace, peace and strength can be found.  It is there in abundance - waiting for me to ask.  Waiting to be poured out in my moments of utter weakness.

Bit by hard fought bit, I am learning that going through the hard things is where the beautiful growth comes from.  And though refining hurts sometimes and is most certainly exhausting, I want to be more like Christ, and this is what it takes in my life.

All of that said, I won't be sad when the babies do sleep all night most nights.  I'm only human, after-all.

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