Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Comfort My People

“Shark Girl” finally met her match.  Dr. Shiny Thomas, DDS. 

Are you sporting two rows of teeth?  Looking like a great white?  That is no problem for the tiny pediatric dentist with the funny name. 

Yesterday, Mary Claire courageously climbed up into Dr. Thomas’ big chair, slipped on cool sunglasses to block the bright light, donned headphones to drown out the strange noises, and strapped on nitrous oxide for good measure.  She was like a little fighter pilot ready for take-off. 

But, no amount of bravery could account for the offense of the procedure.  It was just plain uncomfortable.  And scary.  And, though she tried to breathe deeply and squeezed my hand continuously, she still succumbed to the tears.

This was a huge ordeal for my 8-year-old.  The eventual victor, she walked out of her own personal war zone with three miniature teeth in a little yellow treasure box.  But, that was no consolation.  She was shell-shocked. 

I tried to assure her of her impending wealth.  After all, the tooth fairy would have to pay BIG TIME for three teeth! 

I tried to lure her to a mommy/daughter lunch complete with all of the things a little girl could dream of: French fries and a chocolate shake. 

I held her.  I rocked her.  Still, she remained weepy and limp.  What was a mother to do? 

Finally, from the back seat of the van came a soft, whimpering voice: “I want to go home.”

So, home we went.  But, on the way, we stopped at the grocery store for macaroni and cheese.  In a box. 

Comfort.  In a box.

Over the years, I have tried many times to convince my children that homemade macaroni and cheese is better.  I can make it a bunch of ways.  And, it has always been one of my favorite foods.  I have even re-created my paternal grandmother’s special recipe—the one of my childhood memories.  But, alas—my children still prefer the box.

Whatever floats your boat.  If Kraft macaroni and cheese can restore the smile I love, then so be it.  It is a small price to pay for comforting my child.

That’s more like it, Mary Claire!

We all need a little comfort now and then.  Just a little something familiar to get us through the day.  A little push over that hump.  A little break from the discomfort.  A little reprieve from the pain. 

Today is Audrey’s 7th birthday.  The count stands at: 2 with, 5 without.

When it comes to the comfort of friends, family, and even total strangers, our cup runneth over.  Thank you to all of you who remember.  To those who still look for ways to encourage, celebrate, and affirm.

Thank you to my niece Ava who, unprompted, asked to include Audrey in the March family birthday celebration…asked to add her name into the Happy Birthday song.  Ava, we love the wind chime you made for Audrey’s garden!  We know you spent lots of time painting it.  What a pretty addition to our remembering place!

Ava, who was born the same year as Audrey, is a little girl with an enormously loving heart.  Her mommy and daddy are doing a great job teaching her to love and to give and to comfort others.  I cannot wait to see who she becomes.  She will do great things for God someday.  She already is!

Isn’t our God good to give us tangible things like macaroni and cheese, nieces, wind chimes, phone calls from friends, and personal notes to care for us—to comfort us?  These things help us push forward, keep us going.

Here is one of my new tangible comforts... 

While my mom and I were out browsing little shops for her birthday, this beautiful statue caught our eye.  Our immediate gut reaction was dissolution into tears.  My mom promptly picked it up and bought it for me for Audrey's birthday.  The artist named it "joyous reunion" and referenced Isaiah 51:10--"...the redeemed of the Lord shall return...And everlasting joy shall be upon their heads..."

Things like this do help.  They do.  Like a bandage for a boo-boo.  But, with the big wounds, scars remain.  Like Mary Claire, when I face uncertainty, discomfort, and pain, what I really long for is home.  Don’t we all? 

Maybe this innate longing is really a yearning for our Heavenly home?  God made us for a person: Himself.  But, He also made us for a place.

He gave us an amazing earthly example of our need for a home: His people and the nation of Israel.  From the beginning of time, He prepared a specific place for His people to live.  A land carved out to meet their needs.  He intended for them to take possession of that land and live there forever.  Isaiah prophesied that they would be driven away from that land and into exile by the Babylonians.  And, that happened.  But, Isaiah also prophesied their return.  The way God would restore them to the place they were made for.  That happened, too.  But, Isaiah went a step further.  He prophesied a day when God would redeem all of the suffering the Israelites had ever endured.  A Day that would bring the ultimate comfort and restore their home, once and for all.

1 Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for...
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.”

Isaiah 40:1-2, 4-5a, NIV 1984           

As believers in Jesus, we have that promise, too.  We can be sure that our rough places will become level ground.  We will go home.  What will it be like when the glory of the LORD is revealed?  When all mankind will see it together?  What amazing comfort that will be!

Until then, a box of mac and cheese (and a great promise) will have to do.

Happy birthday, Audrey.  I bet they have amazing birthday cake in Heaven.  Ask Nana to whip you up a good one.

Tell me: What comforts YOU?  How do you comfort others?  Comment.  Or, share stories and pictures via email at