I don’t know if it’s flu season or cold season or why there needs to be an entire season where it is normal to be sick – but I’m sick of it! Tony pinched a nerve in his back at the beginning of October that was so bad, the only way he could participate in our weekly staff meeting was to lie down flat in the middle of the floor. Then, both Tony and Claire had the nastiest stomach flu just a week later. Watching a baby projectile vomit has to be up there with the saddest and scariest things ever! Poor little thing was so confused and so weak, it was awful! Now there’s the constant coughing and runny noses between the two of them, thank God for the women that invented Boogie Wipes. It’s hard to remember a time when we all felt healthy.
One thing that has become clear in these past couple of months is that I am not a nurse! I can take a day, maybe two days, of constantly caring for the people I love the most in the world before I feel completely spent and exhausted myself. I can’t begin to understand how people do this as a profession, day in and day out, for near strangers. That takes more patience and more compassion than I think I will ever be capable of. It is a disappointing new discovery about myself, but if I’m honest, I know I do not have what it takes to be the mom Claire needs or the wife Tony needs when they need it most.
If it weren’t for the blessing of true and compassionate friends, I might have run away from home at some point in the last month. In fact, I can point to the exact moments where I felt refreshed enough to do another load of laundry and change the crib sheets for the third time in a day.
Prayer & Care
I am fortunate enough to have friends that I can be transparent with. When they ask me how I am, I have the freedom to say, “Exhausted! Everyone in my house is sick!” I can’t tell you what it’s meant to me to have people pray for me and encourage me by relating. The other overwhelming blessing is the tangible ways people have cared for me and my family during this time. One afternoon, my friend Holly came over just to be with Claire for a few hours while I escaped and finally took advantage of a gift certificate I’d received for a facial months earlier. I felt so cared for and so relieved, I might have cried… maybe. Then there was the morning my friend Brenda called to check on me and then offered to bring me a few essentials from the store so I wouldn’t have to pack up my sick baby and make the errand run myself. Or the afternoon that Tony encouraged me to lie down and take a nap and when I awoke the kitchen was clean and the baby was happily playing. It was in these moments and others like them that I was able to escape the loneliness that comes with being a care taker and remember that, in fact, I am not alone.
What they really did was remind me how much God cares for me. They reminded me that the Holy Spirit Himself is praying for me…
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will. – Romans 8:26 & 27
It has also reminded me that, if I didn’t have these times of weakness, I might become prideful and forget my true need for Him, that strength comes from Him…
"My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9
And, with God’s help, I hope to become the caring and compassionate mother and wife that Claire and Tony need. Because, I’m sure, this isn’t the last time we’ll experience the dreaded cold and flu season in our house.
P.S. If you know someone who needs a little TLC, this is a great website that can help make it easier on a community of friends who want to care for someone: http://www.takethemameal.com/