My kids have been sick for the past week. It started with Jonas and has made its way through. Currently, Semaiah, Truman, Katria, Elyse and Haven are all sick. Semaiah and I spent yesterday in the ER. She has been running a temperature of 105.5! Even with meds and lukewarm baths, we were not able to break her fever. She has a double ear infection. Turns out so do Truman and Haven! The most difficult thing about having sick kiddos, in my opinion, is keeping the little ones hydrated! Semaiah needed IV fluids yesterday and we are praying Truman doesn't end up needing this as well. He is now refusing his bottle because his nose is so stuffy. I am using a straw to trickle water into his mouth. The older children are comfortable resting, watching videos, and drinking lots of fluids. It is much easier to explain to Katria why she needs to drink than Semaiah. She has been the crankiest little thing, and while I don't blame her it is difficult to see my sweet little girl so out of character.
I really do think God uses illnesses in our littles ones to sanctify us. It is not only humbling, but it has taught me patience (as I get up for the 20th time in the middle of the night to attend to a child) and joy in the midst of a trial. It is also a teaching time for all of our children as we point out the way they can kindly think of others, serving them before themselves--particularly those who are not sick for those who are.
It also forces us to depend on God. Now, I know this sounds cliche, but it's true. When you are in the midst of a trial, praying, asking God for help, you may have thought, "Where is God in this?" You may also wonder if He is helping, or why He can't he just take away the trial. Or, why can't you feel or sense His presence in the trial. But, here's what I have learned: God is in the circumstances, the details, ordering each step. He IS there. We must not base our belief in His presence on our feelings. Who can trust their feelings in the midst of a trial: wild, untameable, uncontrollable--our emotions dip and soar with the circumstances. When we are in the depths of despair, at the lowest point of the valley in our trial, we FEEL the lack of God's presence. In contrast, during times of blessing, we FEEL God's favor, His presence. But, God is with us in BOTH and our emotions belie the truth. The truth is that we CAN trust that God is ordaining our circumstances, the very trial we are in and that knowledge can bring PEACE in the trial, even joy. We can have hope. God will not abandon. Nor we he allow us to sink and drown, even though it FEELS like it. We should NOT be tempted to complain, about sick kids, sleepless nights or surmounting obstacles. Rejoice. Yes, even then. When you are tempted to tears, when I am tempted to despair as I trickle water into Truman's mouth at 2 am, and he fights me, knowing this is the only way to keep him from dehydration and an ER visit, I sing a praise song and keep going. When I lay down to sleep finally, and Semaiah wakes up needing a breathing treatment, I could look at the clock and anxiously wonder how I am going to make it the next day again on so little sleep or I could just "do the next thing" and obey what God has called me to do at that moment, trusting that HE will supply what I need for the next day: strength, peace, joy--just when I need it.
As moms, we like to complain, to compare battle wounds, to share our "war stories". Raising children IS often like being in the midst of a battle. But, remember: The battle belongs to the Lord.
In Christ, Laura