Monday, July 23, 2012

Five Seconds Away From Joy, Better Health, and Peace of Mind

"Mom, can you come get me?"

Cocoa paint congealed in my orange plastic tray today, as my seventeen year old son's sick voice continued huskily. "My fever is higher again and I just wanna be home."

"Oh bud, why don't you sleep there tonight and I'll come get you first thing tomorrow morning?"

It was late afternoon, with rush hour starting soon, and his camp was a three hour's drive away. Plus my new trim paint brush dripped freshly-loaded paint, and splashes were already beginning to harden on the wall.

He waited quiet on the phone, breathing hard, and my husband motioned me to go from the background. "Really?" he asked then weakly and the mom in me caved.

"Okay, I'll come get you, bud. That's fine. I'll leave in twenty minutes, okay?"

Interestingly, both my sons struck fevers on the same day – 133 miles apart from each other. Saturday morning, my youngest woke us up at five am, padding in on hot little legs, whimpering. His heart thumped madly in his tiny chest, and we cuddled on the couch as the sun rose. Later that day, while I was on my way to urgent care with flushed little Daniel, we got the call that John, our oldest son, was feverish and ill at camp as well.

Red-cheeked, limp, and vacant-eyed, four year old Daniel slumped against his car-seat Saturday. I maneuvered corners, and scanned the directions. "We're almost there, okay, buddy? How are you doing?"

"Me doing well, Mom," he stated weakly, lapsing into silence. Minutes later, a tiny voice from the back seat broke the quiet. Straining to hear what he was saying, I was amazed to hear him singing, "oh my soul...,” a worship song that he knew.

An elusive magazine article, that has slipped my brain, promised better health and peace of mind to me this week, all through the power of singing. (When I find it, I'll link it here, okay? Sorry.) 

Today, after washing cocoa paint from my fingers, I grabbed the keys and headed out. Can I admit to you, though, that I was crabby and begrudging the delay in painting? Rain hit halfway through the trip, and my broken windshield wipers flopped oddly, smacking rubber against the top of my car and along the passenger side, smearing my vision as I drove. I grumbled. My paper directions and the roads didn't coincide. I grumbled, stopped for directions, pulled into some u-turns, and grumbled again.

He talked to me, then, my Maker; he sent seas of sunflowers to line my highways, and jump-start my sense of humor. I cracked jokes to myself, grinning madly at them, apologizing to him, and choosing joy. Turning on Christian radio, I started to sing along.

At the camp, my car crept along curving, crackling dirt roads. Tracking him down, I found my tall, lanky seventeen year old son in a temporary sick bay, looking gaunt and weak. We loaded him up, hugged the summer staff good bye, and headed home, a three hour trip.

"Mom, I was a little bit angry at God," he admitted ten minutes onto the highway. "I didn't want to be sick anymore, so I decided to sing. I knew that praising and cursing couldn't come out of the same mouth-- not that I was cursing, Mom -- but I chose praise. I couldn't really sing; I didn't have much of a voice." He shared also of playing the guitar and dripping sweat.

"My voice was kind of squeaky," he laughed, trailing off weakly, and he stared slack-jawed out the front.
I smiled in silence for a few miles, until I turned on the radio. A worship song slid through the car. Suddenly I heard raspy whispering beside me. 

…Your grace has found me just as I am,
Empty handed but alive in your hands.
Singing Majesty, Majesty.
Forever I am changed by Your love,
In the presence of Your Majesty…

Humbled, I listened. In their fevers and illness, my sons had consistently chosen gentleness and worship. In raspy voices with shaky breaths, on their own in empty cars with me, they taught me lessons on choosing joy, choosing worship. 

I grinned, thankful for them, and so slow in learning this lesson that God had to show it to me multiple times, I joined in. 

 …‘Cuz what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?...

Mile after mile, we sang. 

Worship his holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worship your holy name…

It was fitting that this one should come on. Oh my soul, worship his holy name. 

Want joy? Need a jolt of energy and well-being? You are five seconds away from it. 

What have you been singing this week? What is your go-to worship song lately? 


LOLITA said...

Sorry that John and Daniel had to go down with fever at the same time, in the midst of wall painting.

I am humbled too and rebuked. We always have the choice, "to worship, be joyful," in anything we go through. Why is it that is easy for adults, like me (too), to grumble.... rather than automatically respond in praise and being joyful?

This echoes on me so much.

Thanks again, Jen... for sharing and for every morsel you share with us (cum panis).

I wish you will be done with refurbishing the new house soon.

How great that the sons are well into following their parent's heart and service to Him.

I love the song too.

GBU to the whole Dougan home.

Jennifer Dougan said...

Good morning, Lolita.

It's a beautiful morning here. Daniel and I woke up early, and ate juicy peach slices as we watched the pink and orange sunrise.

I'll head off to paint later this morning. Thanks for saying hi.


Houseofmills said...

Thanks for sharing. For some reason this blog brought tears to my eyes. Thinking about two young boys even while being sick praising their God. I would of been the exact same way Jen...crabby that my plans got pushed aside to have to pick up a sick kid. Neat how kids make us think and have a more "child" like faith. Been reading a lot about that lately...being thankful, content no matter what is going on.

Pauline said...

Popped over to you, after you stopped by mine! What an encouragement it was to read this post. We learn so much from our boys. Thanks for sharing. :)

Pam said...

I have tears in my eyes, Jen. What a beautiful thing for your sons to do in the midst of their illness...and what a beautiful tribute to how you are instilling His Love in their hearts that it would pour forth so naturally in their worship! I think we are all that way, when we finally have a moment planned to do something we want, and it is interrupted. I love how song lifts me too...often find myself singing as I wash dishes etc and seeing how it transforms the moment. Love this story.

Denise said...

This truly touched my heart, bless you.

Pamela said...

Precious. My husband and daughters sang "He's Still God" for Sunday worship. In light of the senseless shootings I'm thankful He is still God!

AmyAlves said...

Jennifer! This is awesome! I'm so thankful for sisters like you that respond to the move of God's love! What a triumph for you and your little ones! ... beautiful! ~ Love, Amy

Sylvia R said...

Beautiful, the lessons our kids can teach us. Thanks for sharing this one!

Jennifer Dougan said...


I'm glad this touched you too. It convicted and got me.

What book are you reading that helps you focus on being more thankful and content lately?

Have a great week.


Jennifer Dougan said...


Thank you. Yes, learning from our kids is such a fun thing -- and at times, a very humbling thing too. :)

Nice to start to get to know you. Glad to have you here!


Jennifer Dougan said...


Thank you. I liked how you brought up your example of singing while doing dishes and how it "transforms the moment" -- yes! To worship, joy, thankfulness. Me too!



Jennifer Dougan said...


Thank you, new friend. I appreciate you being here.


Jennifer Dougan said...


How wonderful that your daughter and husband can sing together!


Jennifer Dougan said...

Thank you, Amy.

Have a wonderful week.


Jennifer Dougan said...


How nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by.


Unknown said...

That was very well made and nice to hear and know that they are getting better/are better. Keep up the good work, God bless!

Jennifer Dougan said...


It makes me smile that you read this and stopped by to comment. Thanks. Stop by anytime. You can even get these to come to your email box automatically, if you want. Simply put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the main page.

See you soon, bud. :)