This is the first installment in a series of posts on seeking grace in the midst of suffering. I invite you to share your own perspective, stories, questions, support, and encouragement in the comments section of each post. Together, I believe we can help one another find God’s grace, healing, blessings, and joy in the midst of suffering.
“This is so unlike her, Jeff. What do you think is going on?”
“She must be cutting her canines,” he says.
I wince, get out of bed, and walk to my daughter’s room.
“What’s wrong, baby girl?” I ask as I walk through the door. In the faint glow of her nightlight I see big tears tumble down her precious cheeks. “Oh angel, it’s ok. Why don’t you come lay with mommy and daddy for a bit?”
She reaches her arms in the air and I lift her from the crib.
I change her diaper, and see she has a bit of a rash. “You’re cutting teeth for sure, sweetie. I’m so sorry.” I give her a dose of Advil and bring her to our room for some snuggles.
After half an hour, she seems to be in a better mood. So, I scoop her up in my arms, and carry her back to her room. She screams. I lay her in her crib and say, “it’s ok, sweetie. Get some rest. I promise you’ll feel better in the morning.” Eventually she settles in to sleep.
But morning comes and she still doesn’t feel better. In fact, the diaper rash has spread and her bottom is covered in bright red welts. I call the pediatrician and we get the first available morning appointment.
After a thorough examination, her doctor concludes she is indeed cutting canines, her eczema has flared up, and she has a virus that is exacerbating both. He tells me to keep a close eye on her for the next two days.
When we get home, she screams and cries. She takes a brief nap, and when she wakes up the rash has spread all over her arms, legs, cheeks, and mouth. Her lips are swollen and she looks up at me with her big, beautiful blue eyes, full of tears and whimpers. I call a dear friend who is a nurse, send her a few pictures of the rash, and we decide Kristen should be taken to the emergency room. My friend takes Jack for an afternoon of play time with her four sweet boys, and Kristen and I head to the nearby ER.
The doctor and nurses on staff wince when they see her. Her skin, blistered and red, looks so painful. After a dose of Benadryl, a slathering of heavy duty diaper ointment, and a scheduled follow up visit for the next morning, we head home.
On our way home, I think of countless mothers and fathers cradling their babies, wondering if and when they will leave the hospital and my heart aches.
Little did I know I would be rushing our daughter to Boston Children’s Hospital the following day.
Have you experienced suffering with your own child(ren)? If so, how did you face it in the beginning? Did your perspective change as time went on?