She screams again and I feel as if the sound is shaking my very bones.
It's been two hours.
Two hours of her walking on tip-toe, crying that her heel hurts. Two hours of my trying to lay her down and get her still enough to see what was causing her pain. Two hours of blood curdling screaming anytime I tried to feel the area, or hold her foot still enough for a closer look.
I called in the husband for backup.
"I think..." I shouted to him over her wailing "... that she has a tiny splinter in her foot... but she won't let me get a good look at it."
Scooped up in Daddy arms and peppered with kisses over tear-streaked cheeks he laid her on her back on our bed. She relaxed a little. "Kiss it Daddy!..."
He does. Gently. She just lays and whimpers.
I grab a light and hand him tweezers, standing near as a ready aid, knowing I will be needed.
"She is just so amazingly strong and stubborn... I couldn't hold her still enough on my own."
He lays his weight across her legs, holds the wriggling foot tightly. "Just trust me baby. It's going to be okay."
And there it is. A dark, ugly thorn wedged into her tender flesh. Too hard to see until we had her still in the right light.
He doesn't hesitate but firmly holds her foot and extends the tweezers. As soon as the metal touches her heel she kicks and shrieks in shocked betrayal "kiss it Daddy!!!!...."
"Baby!" He pleads softly "I'm trying to help you!" He grips her tighter. Tries again. She kicks harder. Her scream is shrill and continual as tears squeeze out in huge, hot drops and she just cries it over and over in heartbreaking tones "kiss it Daddy! Kiss it Daddy! Kiss it!!!"
And He says it low, and I hear the agony in his concentrated whisper, determined to have this source of pain out of his child "I could. But that won't make it better..."
She can't move out from under his strength, and in a moment he has it.
Almost instantly, the crying stops. And he holds it extended for her to see, this thorn so dwarfed in his massive hand. "See baby? It's out now. All better!"
She sniffles hard and begins to settle down. He takes her foot and tenderly kisses it. She scoots off the bed and scampers away, both heels softly padding the carpet.
I watch her go and The Spirit nudges and I wonder silent "how often am I like that with God?...
... screaming about something that hurts me, never being still enough to let Him deal with me...
... keep walking around with it, wedging the thorn deeper...
... and when He finally just stops me, I wail louder that He is hurting me.... that what I really wanted was for Him to kiss it to make it better... not to inflict further pain on me...
... but it's for my good. It's what is needed to actually make it better, to remove source of the problem. The ugly dark that can only be clearly seen in the stillness of The Light. And truly, I'm the one who refused to "wear shoes" in the first place, taking His advice on what would avoid the initial pain..."
And I remember these verses. And I know they are true. And I love Him for it.
He loves me enough to deal with all my screaming and kicking and fighting and just do what I really need because He can see the real source of my pain, and always does what is good for me because He. Is. Good.
"Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I obey your word.
You are good, and what you do is good;
teach me your decrees...
...It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I might learn your decrees.
The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.
You hands made me and formed me;
give me understanding to learn your commands."
~from Psalm 119:68,71-73
Giving thanks today because He is good. All the time. Even when, and especially when I'm hurting...
*learning new things on the computer, brothers who patiently teach
*family support: physically, emotionally, prayerfully
*husband who compliments and encourages me through all my head-shaking insecurities/negativity/ doubt
*praying over my children as I watch Him grant them sleep
*being challenged to think, grow, change, learn
*still fighting battles worth fighting
*roots going deeper, green things still growing, thriving, even under such unskilled hands
*sister-made lentils and rice after a hard work day
*knowing my children are well cared for when I am not around
*the refuge of mom and dads home, still my home away from home
*orange juice dripping sweet from her joyful I-can-do-it-myself clenched fist, off the elbow, onto her round little laughing toddler belly
*finally finishing defensive driving, ticket for "rolling a stop sign" dealt with and off my to-do list!
*having internet at home again, even if it only works sporadically
*daddy and daughter playing simon says
*family picnic under a shady tree, windy and wonderful
*tea tree gel for ant bites
*nice women at soccer practices who let Alexa sit in their chairs, share their snacks, pet their dogs... and enjoy her stone-faced reaction and personality as much as I do
*baby Jacob... finally here!
*that God is infinitely more patient with me than I am with others
*there is always a clean slate waiting for me
*living guilt free because of Grace and forgiveness gratefully, humbly accepted in the deepest places