The September Serenade For Every Mama’s Heart
In the dark of night, I hear him. Jumping thuds of a one-legged boy hopping across the hall to the bathroom.
Just three days in from my 12 year old breaking his foot, this is all still new to us. A Wednesday night game of Capture the Flag across a golden twilight-splashed church yard, and a poorly-landed leap had left Daniel breathless with pain on the grass.
“Mom!” he had motioned me over to where he had crab-walked to the side of the field. “Mom, I think I’m going to faint.”
“Lay back… I’m sorry, bud,” I had said, rubbing his shoulder and gingerly examining his foot. “Can you move your toes…?”
Thursday morning’s doctor appointments culminated with a boot and crutches, and a discouraged 6th grader.
Now, in midnight’s greyness, I meet him as he returns to his make-shift bed on the floor, at the foot of his laddered loft bed.
“It hurts. It’s so tight!” Daniel exclaims, tugging at the bulky grey boot and wrenching velcro straps. “It’s either too tight and it hurts, or my heel moves!” My fastidious honest boy is striving to keep his fractured third metatarsal bones in line for best healing, and yet the line between “snug” for best-alignment and “too tight” that brings muscle spasms and pain is a vague fine line.
“I’m sorry, bud. Let’s try again.” Sounds of tearing velcro and rustling cloth pads rip up repeatedly as Daniel and I try to make his foot more comfortable.
Sighing, discouraged, and resigned to discomfort, he flops back on his pillow. In daylight hours, Daniel’s cheerful optimism surges in. Hopping nimbly around then, he weaves through Lego boxes and states that at least he didn’t break his leg “at the beginning of summer!” But late at night when the pain rises higher and the boot feels tight and clumsy in blankets, he sighs and looks small under his mound of beloved blankets.
I pour out several children’s pain chewable pills, and sit cross-legged beside him in the dark. I pray aloud, brushing his hair back from his forehead, and leaning in to kiss his soft face.
“Can I sing for you?” I ask, the fan a distant accompaniment.
“His strength is perfect when our strength is gone,” my voice cracks and I grin at the deep note.
“He’ll carry us when we can’t carry on.
Raised in his power, the weak become strong;
His strength is perfect, his strength is perfect.”
I start the song again, this old chorus that has become a go-to for me in times of trouble or weakness or help. I sing of God’s protective strength that slips in to hold and encircle us when we need him and we feel powerless.
On dark nights, or scary afternoons, or when the pressure feels too tight, this is where I turn, this is the song that creeps almost unbidden to my lips because I know to Whom I’m speaking. “Your strength is perfect when our strength is gone. You’ll carry us when we can’t carry on. Raised in your power, the weak become strong; your strength is perfect, your strength is perfect.”
I see you, my friend who is preparing kids to go to school, masks in hand. I see you, my friend, as you work hard to do your job with all of the added precautions in place to protect and guard our community. I see you, my friend, as the socially-distanced situations and multiple cancelled events make the loneliness creep in higher and the feelings rise higher in the dark of night.
I know it, how the fine line between a snug pressure that can help us grow stronger is so vaguely close to the too-tight-pressure that brings pain and discouragement.
May I sing to you, my friend? May I scoot in beside you? We can stretch and unwrap together, taking off whatever is too tight and not needed for growth and healing, and we can learn together the perfect snug pressure that is best to grow through. And don’t mind me as I sing and when my voice cracks, because I need to hear it for myself that “His strength is perfect,” that “He’ll carry us” and that “raised in his power the weak become strong.”
(Is there a go-to song or encouraging thought that you reach for? Comment below.)
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Jennifer speaks often at MOPS/MomsNext groups, at the Set Apart conference, at churches, retreats, camps, home school co-ops and more. She would be honored to have you join the 1100+ people who have been getting to know each other over the last 13 years or so here and doing life together.