“Marie” 12×24, oil on canvas, framed. $325.oo Buy Now

“Great courage is never unattended by love. Isn’t that incredible to consider?” A friend wrote this to me in an E-mail recently. And then I received the following story (which demonstrates that concept so completely) from another friend just a few moments later. Today’s painting is inspired by that story. I don’t think I need to say anything else about it except that I hope it speaks to you the way it did to me:

My daughter Marie is one of the strongest people I know. When she was just a week old in PICU, dehydrated and in danger of seizing, I couldn’t believe how much pain her little body was capable of holding. Her veins were too small for IVs and blood draws, so the doctors wanted to take her to an OR to do a procedure to rectify both problems. I asked to go with her, and they told me no, that the procedures would be painful and mothers generally became hysterical. I have never been more sure in my life that I had to stand my holy ground and stay by her side. And what’s worse, I couldn’t cry or show emotion, or the doctor wouldn’t hesitate to kick me out. I was terrified, but all I could think was “God gave me this little baby. I’m not leaving her.” I planted my feet and looked him in the eye. “I’m coming,” I told the doctor.  And he didn’t argue.

They let me hold her while they did her blood draws and placed her IV. They wanted to put it in her head; I told them to find a different solution. They could put it in her foot, but she would kick it out, and we’d be back to square one. “She won’t,” I said. I had never been brave enough in my life to stand up to an authority like that, but I felt the Holy Spirit with every fiber of my being telling me to fight for her.

I held her while they placed the IV (she didn’t kick it out) and did a blood draw from her artery, a procedure that required a surgeon. I didn’t move an inch, and she never cried. She just looked right at my face, and I smiled at her the whole time. The nurses commented that they had never seen a one week old baby that was so alert. But I knew I was looking at the strongest woman I would ever know in my life, my daughter, and she was looking back at me. I felt the full weight and full joy of motherhood well done.

In a world that will–in a thousand small ways–whittle away my daughter’s strength, it’s my job (and her father’s) to protect it, to teach her to use it . . . to show her what it means to stand her holy ground, even when she shakes while doing it. It is the biggest responsibility of my life and the most beautiful blessing.