Roused from my sleep, I rolled over in the darkness. Then I heard it. A whimper from my toddler.

I reached for the baby monitor. Yes, she was awake and rolling around.

I glanced at the clock and sighed. It was 1:34 am.

Pulling myself out of bed, I slipped through the hallway to her bedroom.

She moaned when I opened the door to her room.

“It’s just Mommy,” I murmured as I crouched beside the crib. “You’re having trouble sleeping. Are you too hot or too cold, or do you have an owey?”

“Ow,” she said.

I squinted through the dim light. “Where is your owey?”

She pointed at her mouth. “Right here.”

I nodded. “That makes sense. That’s because you are getting your new teeth. I’ll go get some medicine to make it feel better so you can sleep.”

She fussed a little as I left the room, but I didn’t hear any more complaints as I fetched the teething medicine.

Returning a minute or two later, I encouraged her to sit up. “Here’s the medicine for you to drink. It will make you feel better.”

Groggily she pulled herself upright and sipped the medicine.

When it was gone, she handed the cup back to me.

“Lay down now, and I’ll fix your blanket.”

She did as instructed, but began to cry when I rose to leave.

I dropped back to my knees beside the crib.

“Mommy needs to go back to bed soon, but I can stay and sing a couple of songs with you first. Would that help you feel better?”

We sang Jesus Loves Me, A Prayer for My Child, and Count Slow.

My daughter appeared calm, but was still awake. I suspected she would fall asleep faster if I left.

“It is still nighttime, so Mommy needs to go back to bed. I also have to wash the cup from the medicine, so Mommy needs to go now. I love you. Your mouth will feel better soon so you can sleep. I’ll see you in the morning.”

She cried a little as I left the room, closing the door behind me.

“Mama, stay.”

It was hard on my Mama heart to leave when she wanted me to be there.

By the time I finished washing the cup, she had quieted.

I glanced at the baby monitor. She would be asleep soon.

Gratefully, I crawled back into my own bed.

It wasn’t until later that I noticed the lesson in my daughter’s attitude towards me.

My daughter was having trouble. Her mouth hurt which was keeping her awake.

I gave her the practical help she needed – teething medicine.

Yet that wasn’t the only thing she wanted. Even more than the medicine, she wanted my presence.

Do I want God’s presence? Or do I merely want the practical help He can give me?

When I am having trouble, do I merely request practical help and then go about my day without another thought of God?

Not that it is wrong to ask God for practical help. Indeed, He encourages us to do so. Yet He wants our heart and our devotion.

The Psalmists knew how to yearn for God’s presence. Among other things, they say:

“As a deer longs for flowing streams,

so I long for You, God.

I thirst for God, the living God.” (Psalm 32:1-2 CSB)

Today, may I seek not only practical help from God, but may I seek His very presence. He is worth it.

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