In the depths of my night, I struggled to the surface. A cry...a deep barking cough. I strained to a conscious state of wakefulness. I slipped out of my warm bed and pattered down the hall to a small, needy toddler. Picking him up, I pressed my cool cheek to his feverish one. The crying stopped but he whimpered his discomfort. Again the cough persisted. The distinct cough of "croup".
So many times I've bundled wee ones into cozy blankets and myself too and gone to sit on the porch to let the cool night air do it's work and shrink their constricted, swollen bronchial tubes back to its pencil-like shape. This night I wanted to get both of us to sleep. I administered tylenol to help with the fever and tucked our little bundle between hubby and I.
Then the accusing thought came, "You're not a very good mother, you should bundle up and go to the porch. You know what's good for croup. You've done it for the others." The thoughts continued and I cried out to God for wisdom. But the "Helper" had already come. He whispered, "You are a good mom, a tired one and you're trying to do what's best for everyone." Peace and sick toddler settled and somewhere sleep descended. We made it through the night. A restless night with whimpers on and off, kicking legs, and turning body, peppered with occasional bursts of that barking cough.
Sickness ran its course. More sleepless nights, a visit to the emergency room, a treatment of prednisone, a script for an ear infection and a toddler needy of comfort, pressing close, wanting relief. I was aware of my "Helper" on and off this week. He nudged me in times of sin when I was tempted to murmur and complain. Instead, through the Holy Spirit's promptings I reminded myself of the "gifts" of a child's sickness - taking a break off routine and cuddling with the little one needing comfort, enjoying the gift of closeness and time to reflect.
As I sat on the couch with a small boy wracked with coughing, seeking feverish rest, I listened to my older 3 at the dining table. They gathered reference books on Peru and began doing a country report, collectively. They sifted through the books to find out the landscape and climate before jotting down their answers. Whoever held the book dictated the spelling of harder words. I heard Joshua dictating the spelling of the Andes Mountains while Hannah later helped with the spelling of the Amazon River. They worked diligently for about an hour, no squabbles. Each one finished their report. Thankfulness settled over me. The holy spirit brought to mind the questions I was asking myself the past week - Am I spoon-feeding my children in their education? Can they search out information independently? Because of this sickness, my children developed a new skill and I was assured that they can seek information from reference materials.
Often this week I was aware that the spirit stirred me to do what was right. His peace was present in difficulty and times when I needed patience. In tiredness, He stayed ever at my side to give me strength. I was comforted by His presence, thankful that this time I was aware of His nearness when at so many other times I just pressed in.
Often we forget the Spirit, the Helper, the Comforter, that Jesus promised would be present with us when He left this earth. We take for granted his nudging to holiness, stirring to righteousness, conviction of sin, comfort in sadness, thankfulness in trial.
Christ, while he walked this globe, told His disciples, "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." John 16:7 NASV
Christ died on that cross and ascended into heaven but he left His spirit here to be with us. Jesus prepared John, his disciple, with more knowledge of the Spirit. Jesus shared, "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
John 16:13 NASV
Our Father in Heaven speaks to the spirit who stays with us, ever-present. That is a powerful truth. It doesn't matter what our trial, difficulty, joy, temptation...He is there. That is the Holy Spirit's work.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NASV