Thursday, October 1, 2009
A Promise to Count On
By Judy Vandiver
Both the kids had been home sick with the flu. After seven days of playing nurse, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I was also spiritually underfed.
It started on a Thursday evening when my son spoke those words every mother shudders to hear, “Mom, I don’t feel good. I think I’m sick.”
Two days later, my daughter echoed the statement. The days following were filled with fixing special meals of soup for David and rice for Melissa, doctor visits, taking temperatures, giving medication, and trying to solve the age-old dilemma of “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do.”
I shared with a friend that if the kids didn’t get well soon and go back to school I’d be climbing the walls. She said that her son was sick, too, but he was 500 miles away at college. While I was tired of taking care of ill children, she wanted very much to be able to take care of her sick child herself. As I hung up the phone, I thanked the Lord that I, at least, didn’t have to wonder if my kids were getting their medicine and being properly taken care of. I felt ashamed that I had been resentful of having to take care of them. But I still felt tired.
I decided to go to the store and buy the kids a couple of children’s magazines. Since Valentine’s Day was a couple of weeks away, I also bought red and white heart shaped doilies, red and white construction paper, a red pen, white ink, glue, and valentine stickers. When I returned home, I spent 45 minutes showing them how to make homemade valentine cards. Finally, I left them on their own.
Ten minutes later, I heard, “Mom, he has the glue and I want it.”
“Well, she wouldn’t give me the red pen.”
“Okay, trade her the glue for the red pen.”
“Does he have to be in my room?”
“Okay, I’ll leave, but I get the white paper, red doilies, red pen, the glue, and the scissors.”
Ten more minutes passed and I heard, “Mom! There’s nothing to do.”
“Why, Lord?” I uttered. “Why are these kids bugging me?” Immediately I thought of my neighbor whose daughter had been killed a year earlier in a hit and run accident. I felt ashamed of resenting the sound of the word Mom.
“I should be grateful. I should be glad that I’m running from room to room and bed to bed,” I thought. “But I’m not. I’m tired and I want to rest and I want some time to myself.”
At last, the day came when David and Melissa were able to return to school. “A day to myself,” I thought. “The day I had been waiting for. This was the day that I had planned to feel exuberant. But I didn’t. I felt depressed.
I went to the Lord in prayer. “What’s wrong with me Lord?” I asked. “Why didn’t the exhaustion leave when the kids did?” I finally admitted to both the Lord and myself that I felt bitter and resented the interruption of my daily routine when the children had been ill. I knew my attitude was self-centered and I poured my heart out to the only one I knew could fix it.
I turned to my concordance and looked up the word sick. I flipped the pages back to Isaiah 33:24. I had to laugh aloud when I read the verse God had directed me to. It said, “No one living in Zion will say, ‘I am ill; and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven.’”
I began to praise the Lord, thinking about the day in the future when there will be no more sick children. There will be no running to and fro from child to child. And we will be rested. I knew then that God was telling me that my feelings were okay. I just had to give them to Him and His forgiveness would cleanse me. I gave Him the bitterness, the selfishness, and even the exhaustion. Then as I dwelled my thoughts on Him, the depression lifted.
I knew that in the days and years ahead, before we reach Zion, I would still have times of exhaustion, times of frustration, and times of resentment. But I also knew that God had given me a promise that I could count on. And with that thought, I went into the kitchen and began baking cookies for when the kids got home from school, all the time remembering, “No one living in Zion will say, ‘I am ill.’”