As I get older my life becomes more and more about responsibility. I have a job where a number of people depend on me. I have 5 children and sometimes the perfect storm can happen when life can just feel downright overwhelming.
That’s where I find myself this morning. My 4th child, Joy has pneumonia and she’s been in the hospital for 6 days. If you’ve ever stayed the night in the hospital it’s a super expensive hotel room that provides the most awful nights sleep. My wife has been there 4 nights in a row.
When one child is sick that doesn’t mean the other 4 cease to have needs. Here’s a little rundown of the frustrating week we’ve had.
It all started with Joy getting a virus. Joy passed the stomach virus on to Charyl. A few days later Joy’s cold worked its way into her lungs and Joy was hospitalized with pneumonia and low O2. This led to Charyl and I missing our 14thwedding anniversary date because we were in the hospital with Joy. Next, we missed our baby, Mary Charlotte’s, second birthday party because Joy was in the hospital. The next morning Mary Charlotte woke up with the stomach bug and threw up all over big brother Ty. Because of Mary Charlotte now being sick both Charyl and I would miss Ty’s (Our oldest child) 5th grade graduation and end of the year festivities. From here things went from bad to worse for Joy. Her O2 numbers were not going up quickly enough so she was transferred to ICU at Scottish Rite by ambulance. Around this time I picked up some of Joy’s bacteria and decided to develop bronchitis. To the doctor I went to get a Z-pack. The drama continues as Ty then received the blessing of the all night stomach bug from Mary Charlotte. It gets better! Grandma (my mom) who came to help with all this chaos now received the gift of the stomach bug.
Joy is still in the hospital. If the dog died this week then we would complete our country music song of a life. Good luck Duke.
Sometimes these kinds of weeks happen when you have a lot of children. Sometimes life is just hard. Life is suffering. I know there are so many people out there whose daily reality is worse than my overwhelming times.
God gives Grace.
When these things happen I always feel like God is making me sit still.
I hate sitting still.
I like to do things.
I need to move.
When life is overwhelming sometimes you have no option but to sit in a hospital room and wait.
Wait and think. Wait and Pray. Wait and trust.
It’s hard to see far into the future when you have an immediate issue in front of you. But when life puts you in time out you need to think. You need to pray.
Think about your blessings.
In the midst of trials to get your mind out of the gutter you need to think about the blessings of God.
Thank you Lord that I have children to love and take care of.
Thank you Lord that I have an amazing wife who takes such good care of all of us. Thank you Lord for your church that reaches out to help.
Thank you Lord for sending Charyl’s mom and sister to help her at the hospital and provide the support and encouragement that Joy and Charyl have needed.
So many people have checked on Joy, helped with children, brought us dinner and prayed for us.
What do people do who do not have a church family?
Thank you Lord that we live in a place where our children can get good health care. Many children in the world don’t have hospitals like we do.
Thank you Lord for nurses and doctors that care about helping my child get well.
Thank you Lord that my mom is here from Florida to help with the other 4 children. There is always so much to be grateful for.
If we keep our eyes on our circumstances we will be overwhelmed and consumed. But if we keep our eyes on Jesus we have hope. We have hope that there’s a better tomorrow, even if today stinks.
If you take the time to be grateful in the midst of feeling overwhelmed it brings a calm to your soul. It’s God reminding you that He is good.
A pastor friend in Florida has been praying for my family and for Joy. He sent me this text: “Hold to His promise to you in Lamentations 3:21-23 ‘This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness”
Think about the faithfulness of God.
Remembering what I have to be thankful for and dwelling on the faithfulness of God helps me when going through overwhelming times as a parent. Knowing deep in my heart and soul that He doesn’t leave me and He doesn’t forsake me. If I will lean into Him, I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. I can be content and even joyful in every situation.
When you have a sick kid and you can’t help them, the beast of fear starts rising up in your heart. You are keenly aware of your lack of ability to help your child. The only answer to fear is faith. Fear yells at you with all the things that could go wrong. Fear brings up the worst-case scenario first.
Faith reminds you that you have been here before and God’s brought you through.
Faith reminds you that God is in control of every breath.
Faith reminds you that God loves your child more than you do.
Faith reminds you that no matter what happens God’s in control of it all and His word is true, “He works all things to the good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
Faith and hope working together are powerful forces.
Who knows when this season of sickness will end? We may be in for another difficult week.
I pray we will honor God in the storm. I am also praying that He will stand up and calm the storm. He knows best.