my husband with our 4-year old in the ER
The last 5 days have been filled with sickness here. The type of sickness that keeps you on your toes. When one child after another catches it and there is little rest for anyone. While I’m caring for the one or two children currently sick, I stay on edge waiting for the next child who will get it. It’s especially hard at night because I don’t sleep, and neither do the children who are up sick all night.
These are incredibly tough seasons. Short, but tough. There is little else you can do other than take care of sick children because their need for mom escalates. So the house is left undone and meals are simple or take out. We become confined to the house to keep our germs to ourselves and rest to get well. It’s certainly my least favorite thing about the winter/spring seasons.
But, to be the one my children reach their hands out to for a comforting touch, to be the one who rubs the back of my sick child to comfort them in a most uncomfortable state, that is a privilege. There is no one who can comfort quite like a mother (or father). This is an opportunity to build an incredible connection with our children.
It’s an opportunity to be OK with letting the house go, letting the stress go, and just be still with your children, at a time in their young childhood when they need you most. These are the things they will remember.
I admit, it wasn’t until this sick season I am learning to embrace these moments. I always found it dreadful. It disrupts our schedule, it disrupts our comfort. Who likes that?
This year, sickness lead to some interesting conversations about God answering prayer. My six year old son, through tears, said he kept praying to God to feel better, but God wasn’t answering his prayer. As a mother, how do you respond to that? My husband and I both had a short, simple talk with our son about this.
We told him that God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we expect that He will. That even if he does not feel better right now, God has not left him and He is there to comfort him.
Likewise, my ten year old brought up a very similar conversation with me about praying that she would not catch the germ because she has a fear of throwing up. I explained to her that God designed our bodies to function a certain way and that throwing up is not actually a bad thing, but a good one because our body is trying to rid itself of toxins. So, even if she got sick, it doesn’t mean that God didn’t hear her prayer or not answer her, but rather, that there is simply a different way then we would prefer.
How do we respond when we don’t get things the way we want them? Stop believing in God? Stop thinking Him good and the One who knows best? No. We respond with the opportunity to trust Him, and we pass this teaching down to our children. Enduring through a seasonal illness may not seem so big to us adults who understand there are worse things in life. But for a child who has yet to see and experience even some of what we have experienced, an illness can seem like a big deal.
These are one of the many moments that help build and shape our children’s faith. This is where we as mother’s have the ability to teach our children something important and true about God and His character. These are the moments that will later shape our children into who they will become based on their own identity in Christ.
This is how God uses mothers in such a crucial and unique way. We have the privilege of being a great comfort to our children, and a spiritual shaper of how they view God, according to His word. And it starts with small seasonal illnesses.
Don’t take the sick season for granted. Turn it into opportunity.
That’s what God is teaching me this week.
Have you ever considered turning a dreadful season into one of opportunity?