At 1:45 on Saturday morning, she threw up in my hair.
And as my husband and I quietly ministered to our 4-year old daughter in the middle of the night, the entire world seemingly asleep around us, I discovered once more that some of the sweetest moments take place during the most unlikely and difficult circumstances.
Even though your stomach turned at the sight and the smell, who knew that wiping the vomit off of a loved one’s face could bring Matthew 25:40 to life, loving the least of these by meeting their most vulnerable needs?
Even though it woke you up through and through, who knew that a 2:00 a.m. shower where you wrapped her in your embrace and rocked her under the warm stream would make you feel like you were holding the world’s greatest treasure in your arms and doing the most important job on the planet?
Even though he justifiably could have stayed in bed, who knew that a husband working alongside you, stripping and washing sheets, rinsing out nightgowns, emptying stinky receptacles and making up the bed would cause you to see with wonder-filled eyes how faithfully and humbly Christ loves the church?
Even though you were dead on your feet and aching to lay back down and call it a night, who knew that seeing your work through to completion as you sat up in bed and gently brushed the tangles out of her wet hair would make you deeply cherish and understand the Christian fruit of perseverance?
And even though you are naturally the most selfish person in the world, who knew that God would use motherhood and vomit to conform you into His image in the middle of the night as 1 Corinthians 13 sealed itself in your heart for the ones He has entrusted to your care?…
As my husband and I laid quietly in bed and slowly fell back to sleep, our clean and detangled and much-loved daughter securely hemmed in by our hearts and our bodies, I prayed and prayed that the way we tended to her that night would aid her in discovering the Way, the Truth and the Life. We tell her about it all the time…
I was blown away by how satisfying it was to put our words into action.
We love you, Rebekah Sunday, and it brings us unspeakable joy to take care of you. I never thought I would say this, but…thank you for throwing up in my hair.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13