Striving for Good Measure

Dear Lindsey,

“She is inconsolably crying,” was my husband’s text to me while I was at the grocery store

English: Digital fever thermometer Deutsch: Di...

last Saturday. When I got home to the thermometer, it was 103.  Christine (9) has had a cold for more than two weeks, so I assumed it had escalated to an ear or sinus infection. She and I headed for Urgent Care. That was when the stomach flu symptoms began, so we cancelled the trip; no Urgent Care needed. Mom diagnosis: flu.

“To bed you go,” I led her up the stairs to her room.

“But can’t I eat?” she asked so innocently.

“No, ‘Starve a fever, feed a cold,’” I softly quoted the old saying, remembering how hunger fools us into eating during stomach sickness.

“How does starving a beaver help?” she whined.

“Fever, honey.  Starve a fever. You will feel better after some rest,” I chuckled at her misunderstanding as I gave her some Oscillococcum, and she drifted off to much needed sleep.

Sunday morning, although symptoms were gone, I decided to keep the flu to ourselves and stay home from church. Since she and her younger brother are inseparable, I guessed he was next…and probably in that incubating, contagious stage, so I kept him home too.

We listened to church online at 9:30am, and then JR (7) said he didn’t feel well.

Sick children are endearing. His cheeks were flush as if painted on a porcelain doll; he snuggled close as only ill children do. Like an electric blanket, the heat radiated from his body to mine. My prediction was right. Here comes #2 family member falling down with the domino flu. I was glad we weren’t at church.

“102.5” was my guess.  It’s a little game I play – as if running for “mom of the year” (always! 🙂 ). I like to guess what the fever is, and then continually be shocked at how close I am when I get out the thermometer. It’s like somewhere in the birth canal, the baby flips a switch in a woman.  Sudden abilities come to her:

  • to be able to distinguish her baby’s cry 2 miles away in a room full of other crying babies
  • to be able to see out of the back of her head
  • to suddenly think, “because I said so,” is a logical enough reason to bring an end to any argument and…
  • to be able to tell if a child has a fever, within one degree, only by the touch of her hand.

I got the ear thermometer poised (and smiled remembering when one of my toddlers had brought it to me from the closet and said, “Will you measure my ear?”).

97.8 was the reading.

Experience has taught me that, although easy to use, these devices have a lot of inaccuracy. I checked the other ear, my standard operating procedure.

98.3 the other ear said.

I felt again. Was I losing my touch? I really believe it’s 102.5, maybe just 102, but definitely fever. Flushed cheeks…sick sister…I couldn’t be wrong.

I reached for the old thermometer: the one which actually had to be kept under the tongue for minutes that felt like hours. It had been so long since its use, I had forgotten that it spoke! “One hundred and two point five,” said the male computerized voice from the thermometer.

I was right: 102.5.

Mom: -> 1       Ear thermometer: -> 0

“To bed you go,” I said as I carried him there.


“Properly defining the problem is the first step to any solution,” Chris often says. But as in the thermometer story, the measuring device has a huge part to play in problem definition.

The world is a measuring device. It often measures success through the amount of money in one’s bank account, the vacation time allotted, the title of a job or the recognition one receives.

God’s “success” measuring device is different: He sees our love, joy, peace, patience…(Gal 5:22); He looks into our thoughts – are they pure, true, noble…? (Phil 4:8); I suppose He assesses the true treasures of our hearts. God’s measuring device needs no numbers. He simply uses the touch of His hand.

The world’s measurements are inaccurate:

  • “They” say we are not good enough;
      • God, through His Son Jesus Christ, says we are forgiven and perfect. (1 John 1:9)
  • “They” say there is no security without money.
      • God says we can consider the lilies of the field. Don’t they have food to eat and water to drink? How much more does our Father in heaven love us – won’t He take care of us?! (Matthew 6:28-34)
  • “They” say I try too hard and should relax.

Although I know it is wrong, I sometimes still have a worldly flinch in a crowd when everyone is talking about what they “do” for a living. It seems as though it will be a let down when it gets to my turn. “They” are doctors, secretaries, engineers, ICU nurses, HR managers, etc, and then it gets to me: a stay-at-home mom.  Yep, most of my tasks could be done by any teen for about $6/hour.  No training necessary.

Yet, my heart knows that the “world’s thermometer” is inaccurate.

What “pay” can be measured by the crushed dandelions that were handed to me as a Mother’s Day Bouquet with the worm still attached?

What “title” can top the spontaneous post-it note that said, “You’re a good cooker!” or as shown in my heading above,“YOR MI FAVRIT MOM” (as if he has more than one mom).

What “vacation” could surpass a picnic in the woods behind my house where they catch the baby frogs and scoop the salamander eggs in anticipation for spring?

What “recognition” would transcend adult children replicating our efforts in Godliness, marriage and parenthood in their own home?

What “award” could top hearing “well done, my good and faithful servant”?

Sometimes the world’s measurements are wrong, and we can stick to what we know is right.

God bless,


1 Timothy 4:7-87Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.