Noelle Kirchner, M.Div., is a Presbyterian minister and mother of two boys. As they wrestle on the floor, she enjoys wrestling with her manuscripts. She writes for Huff Post Parents, the TODAY Show Parenting Team, and has been a repeat guest author at in(courage). You can find her on her blog, where she writes about faith and parenting, and on Twitter and Facebook.
Out here, the weather has been very, very snowy and the bugs have been very, very nasty this winter. Have your children been sick recently?
Here are a couple of things that I've observed when walking with my children through sickness:
1. Despite having been absolutely covered in bodily fluids, I usually do not get sick when my children are fighting something. It's like I am surrounded by some sort of warrior shield so that I can fight the good fight -- which often includes sleepless nights and lots and lots of wash.
2. Once they are on the mend and I am sufficiently worn down, that's when it can hit me. And it's definitely an all or nothing kind of thing. Either I get a very mild version of the sickness that I can shrug off, or I get a version that can scare my children! Amen?
The latter is what happened to me recently. Colds and pink eye went through the house. Perhaps you have had pink eye before. Maybe your mascara was a little old and your eye was a touch pink the next day. You applied a warm compress or two and were fine. That had been my experience before I got pink eye and could not even open my eye for 24 hours. My older son would continually observe that fact with a quizzical brow.
My recovery brought two important truths into sharp relief:
1. Do you have someone in your life who is caring for you, moms? As we expend our daily energy caring for our children, it's important that we have someone who can be there to help us too. My Aunt had previously booked a flight to visit. I thought she would want to reschedule when she heard the news about our sickness. Instead, she told me that she wished she was coming earlier, and that she would unquestionably still be coming to help. I was awestruck. She showed me grace -- something that each of us needs at some point. If you find yourself consumed with child-rearing, be sure you are still making time to nurture valuable lifelines. You never know when they might be helpful.
2. Are you taking the time to care for yourself too? When you are sick enough, you have to rest. You have no choice in the matter. I remember after I gave birth to my first son, I often heard the recommendation: "When the baby sleeps, you should sleep. Resist the urge to clean or return phone calls." I tried to follow that valuable advice, but it was hard then, and it is hard now. Taking time to care for ourselves and get a full night's rest is a discipline. But the reality is that we can be much better moms when we do it - or at least work toward that goal!
Wishing you all good health and Christ's love.
"Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise" (Jeremiah 17:14).