Have you ever taken notice of the first time your child smiles, after many days of sickness or sorrow?

If you’re a mom (or a dad) you know how painful it is to see your children hurting. Whether they are sick, were treated badly by a friend, or have experienced a loss, it’s hard to see them in pain. We help to the extent that we can, and we provide as much comfort as humanly possible… and then some more through our earnest prayers.

 

Oh, I can’t think of anything more beautiful and refreshing than to see a child smile again.

 

Or eat again for that matter! To hear them laugh again is especially touching.

 

Last week, my 4 year old was sick for several days in a row. Not super sick, he just didn’t feel great. His mouth was hurting, so he wouldn’t eat. We spent a lot of time with the TV on.  When he finally ate more than enough to keep a bird alive, I was just filled with joy, and commented as I took his empty dish, “It’s so good to see you eat again! But it really warms my heart the most when they smile again.  I guess it’s just one of my joy-triggers (Hey, we have stress triggers, why not have joy-triggers as well?)

 

When my beautiful girl was 4 years old, she had a high fever that just wouldn’t budge and an extremely sore throat. We took her to the doctor and she actually ended up in intensive care for 4 days and then a regular room for 2 more. She was ultimately diagnosed with  Influenza B.

 

It was a  scary time for us. We hated to see her in such pain, having to endure so many difficult medical procedures, and not be able to help her. I slept in her hospital bed with her, sang many songs into her sweet little ear, and Daddy came to visit several times a day. (How convenient was it that he worked in that hospital?)

 

Because of the illness and all of the medications and procedures, she was extremely week when we brought her home. I remember having her lay on my lap while I gently brushed out her very long brown hair. Later that evening my sister came by for a visit. At some point in the evening, Lydia walked across our living room floor. I have no idea why, I just know how amazing it was.

 

Through tears, I exclaimed, “She’s walking!” 

 

One of the things I cherish most about parenting is the lessons I learn about God, and how He relates to His children.

 

I’ve been struggling lately with some angst over just what it is that I’m supposed to be doing with my little space on the world wide web, and more to the point, my little space in the Kingdom of God. Given my strong Melancholy personality, mixed with some Powerful Choleric, it’s pretty normal for me to let something like that permeate into every aspect of my life.

Last week I read an article that gave me an idea. I love the brainstorm that comes along with a good idea. (And sometimes what is later discovered to be a bad idea!). This idea was enough to refresh my spirit and pull me out from the cloud I’d been walking under. When I noticed my suddenly light mood, I wondered; Is God breathing a sigh of relief and crying a tear of joy? I think I can hear Him saying, “It’s so good to see you smile!”

 

Here are some things I know about God:

 

God hurts when we hurt.

 

“In all their distress he too was distressed.”

 Isaiah 63:9

“Jesus wept.”

John 11:35

But just like how a fever is there to fight infection, our struggles are serving to refine us. Though it  hurts God to watch us struggle, He knows that we will be stronger on the other side. So He walks with us, never letting us break.

 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

 

He always offers comfort.

 

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” 

Psalm 34:18

 

 

He always offers help.

 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

And…