Monday, June 13, 2011
I'm Not Strong
A lot of times I think I'm strong. I'm young. I can be fast. My mind processes things quickly. And my health is currently in order.
It's easy to get lost in this mindset and forget that my youth is fading, my strength is dwindling and my memory is quickly flying out the window.
I'm not strong.
The older I get, the more I realize this truth.
This last weekend, I was reminded yet again, how weak I really am. We've been a regular infirmary around here. At the end of our wonderful camping trip last week with friends, Isaac came down with a fever. And then pretty quickly everyone else trickled in with their own ailments.
Miss Elliana has had some sort of bug that has given her the runs for eight days now. No matter of rice, bananas, bread or cheese will plug her up. She's happy as a clam with no other symptoms but she's a literal mess. Today's "present" on the floor has only been one of many over the last week. So I've been worried about her. She's so small. Is she okay? How do I know when enough is enough? How am I to care for her? A quick call to the nurse only yielded a "wait and see" approach. Okay...how long do you let a little baby go like that? As I pondered my daughter's condition, I tried to be reasonable but fear of the unknown, of my lack of knowledge, would seep in. I want her to just be better. I don't want to wait for it. I want her to be okay. I don't want to watch her be sick. I'm not strong.
Then there is Isaac. He had a fever. It came down promptly. But then he had the worst sort of stomach cramping we've ever seen in any of our kids. He was screaming and writhing in pain over a period of hours. He's our oldest. He can talk expressively. He can describe his symptoms. Yet I was so scared and had no idea how to help him. When you child tells you that it hurts to breathe, and you don't know why, it's scary. Especially when you know that child isn't your King of Drama. That's when it is helpful for Dad to take over and head off to Urgent Care since it is nighttime. I don't cry often. But as I set to the task Steve had given me when he left (he gave me a job to try and keep my mind occupied), tears streamed down my face. And I realized again. I'm not strong. I don't know how to care for Isaac. What is the wisest course of action? How long does one wait? When does a parent act and when does a parent just watch?
Of course Joshua and Caleb were not to be outdone. They both registered decent fevers on Saturday. No biggie. I had the same ailment as all of them so I was walking around achy and feverish but, not too bad. Tylenol helped. But Sunday, just as I was catching my breath from Isaac's little scare (which they had no idea what was wrong with him by the way-just some weird virus) Joshy decided to ramp his fever up to 105. It was too soon to give him medicine again and so we were dunking him in the bath, trying to calm him down and then we finally decided to give him more ibuprofen. The process repeated itself on into the early morning as we battled this very high fever. By morning his fever had broken. And I thought to myself, as I rocked him in the twilight, "I'm not strong. I'm achy, tired and mentally fried. I am not strong."
All moms experience times like this. I have many times before and will many times after. It's nothing new. But, I forget my own frailty so easily. I get caught up in all the things I can juggle, how well I can generally get things running that I forget, in the end, I can't do it all. The weight gets to be too great. I have such a responsibility to care for all of these little souls yet I can hardly remember who got what medicine at what time!! Yet with that responsibility also comes a realization that I must trust in One who is greater than me. And so, in response, I open my hands and give up.
He made each little body. He knows the intricacies of their precious souls. And He loves them even more than me. As much as I love them, it is like nothing compared to His love.
As the hours ticked by last night with little Joshua by my side, I worried, I prayed and I talked with God reminding Him that I'm not strong. That I'm at the end of myself. That I have no wisdom left.
Then He reminded me that He is strong. That He will bear this very little, tiny burden (for it really is a small one) and that all of this chaos is His work in me. And I am not to go through the years raising my children without my job totally and radically turning me inside out.
"These are children, they are eternal souls. They are not supposed to be easy. They are not supposed to pass through our homes like quiet guests. They are supposed to be the unmaking and the making of us. They are supposed to challenge us and change us." Rachel Jankovic, The Strength of the Ox.
I'm not strong. I'm not wise. I'm not loving. I'm not good.
So it is Christ and His strength, His wisdom, His love and His goodness in me that will shine through. Without it, it's simply impossible...totally and completely impossible.