What Chamomile and Honey Can’t Do

I’m pretty sure I’ve had a cold/sinus infection since December 1.  It has backed off a little here and there as some kind of bacterial mercy move, but for the last two weeks (or something like that), it’s been no nonsense, in your face (and nose, and eyes, and ears, and chest), Die Hard with a Vengeance.  It even persisted beyond the power of the almighty z-pak, which I finished off two days ago.

So tonight, after going back to work for the first time in two and a half weeks, I wasn’t really up for much of anything with the kids.  Unfortunately, they can’t bathe, feed, or put themselves to bed yet, so I couldn’t just burrow into bed with an electric blanket and call it a night.  I at least had the foresight to pull a big pan of macaroni and cheese out of the freezer and ask my awesome Henry-sitter to pop it in the oven this afternoon so that we could eat before 6:30.  And there’s the Blessed DVR to entertain two of the three little people. 

The usual bickering and silliness ensued throughout the night.  Nothing new, really.  And the dog, that ridiculous dog that I liked so much a month ago, kept getting into the trash and eating Elvis’s Legos and whining to be let out and then barking incessantly at the front door to be let back in and THEN trying to eat diapers and tissues and all other sorts of disgusting.  And then bathtime with all three kids, water everywhere, Beans trying to drink the bathwater and lick Henry’s face and drink out of the toilet and chew on the towels.

“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 — Yeah, trouble. T-R-O-U-B-L-E. It ain’t just a Travis Tritt song. Or a Ray LaMontagne song.   I’ve had more serious seasons of trouble and worry, for sure.  These little things, like sinus infections and being alone a few days and needing to take care of the business of life on my own, they are nothing really, but sometimes the little things catch me and I get downhearted. The world hands me a little trouble.  But, thank God, he’s overcome the world.   And you want to know how he did that for me tonight?

I was ready for bedtime tonight.  Normally, each kid prays and then I pray, and then each kid picks a song.  I thought I’d speed things up a bit and skip the whole kid-praying thing and just wrap it up with a quick “God, thanks for everything.  Please help me feel better.  Give us sweet dreams.  Amen.”, but after I finished, Lydia asked if she could pray for a couple of people really quick.

How do you say no to the request of a five year old to pray?  Okay, so I thought about it.  I mean, come on, the space between my ears is hollow and I can’t close my mouth without whistling through my nose.  Let’s get the show on the road, here!  I got trash to take out and a couch to get to.  I let her pray, of course – a kid who wants to talk to God should not be stopped from talking to God. 

“Dear God, please help **** walk.  She’s already starting to walk some.  And thank you for…” (There’s a girl in her class who has a disability.)  Lydia prayed for all her family and friends, and then Elvis asked to pray, too, singing a song they learned at preschool: “Thank you God, for our food, and our many blessings, thank you God, Amen.”

The prayers of my children shore me up against weariness and bitterness. They help lubricate the gears that need to keep moving until the trash is taken out, the dishes are in the dishwasher, the laundry is folded, and the kitchen is tidied up, until I can sink into the couch cushions with a blanket and a few Bible verses and ruminate away about faith and the power of praise.

So the other verse that has me doing my own praising tonight, even with my runny nose, is this one: “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Psalm 8:2  That’s right.  Through the praise of my little ones, the enemy and all his trouble and worry is kept at bay.  There’s power in those prayers.  I’m reinforced. Encouraged. Blessed.

Aaaand, ready for Nyquil.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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