She nursed at least twenty times in twenty-four hours...as a three-year-old, not a newborn. I once read that breastmilk is a natural pain reliever; I'm inclined to believe that. Her arthritis medicine is certainly not meeting her pain needs.
While she fared better the first half of the day, her afternoon crashed. Her long nap ended in pain and stiffness, leaving her unable to walk. We dealt with hysterics for nearly an hour, stopped only by me nursing her again and again. It quieted our frazzled nerves.
I pleaded with God. How do I handle this constant pouring out? How do I handle the despair of seeing a three-year-old live with chronic pain? So many other issues and duties here, too, besides arthritis. My OCD son goes to the dentist soon. He fights the notion that they're possibly evil and will do something deadly to him. The more stress the arthritis causes, the more his OCD acts up.
I'm helpless, other than my Momma milk. Thank you for that comfort, God. Where would our family be without it? The therapist explained that the pain of arthritis is like an on-going toothache. Daytime activities can distract from the pain, but at night, it screams louder.
Nursing quiets her pain in the middle of the night, so the other children can get sufficient sleep, and so she can go back to sleep
His answer to my pleas? At least a dozen names of people who need prayer. He has me walk in and out of prayer all day. When trouble piles here, that's His answer, along with everyday graces and blessings:
~ Sunshine turning new snow into glitter.
~ Bright red cardinals landing in the snow near our window.
~ The cutest things coming out of young mouths.
~ Bonding over baking and eating cookie dough.
~ Cuddles on couches.
~ Beautiful storybooks.
~ Children who love Him.
Intercessory prayer an answer to a despairing heart? How does it help those under my roof, when we need something from Him?
Why does He ask more of me, when I'm pleading for relief?
The Christian life, when lived well, is an upside down phenomena. When you need more love, love more. When you need more time, give more of yours. When you need comfort, give it away. When you need prayer, pray for others. When you need Him, be Him to others.
It's a profound mystery, but it works. My despair gives way to joy. My self-involved thoughts abruptly end, so I can love others. We can't love when we focus inward. Love is a pouring out.
Jesus poured out everything. He calls us to do likewise. The keywords? Outward focus, not inward. A heart that has received His love, can pour it out.
1 John 4:7-12
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.