I need to say something first. I feel the need to acknowledge that I’m talking here about asthma. Not leukemia, not AIDS, not violence or other horrible things. And PRAISE THE LORD for that.
It’s been a rough few days here…the same kind of rough days everyone has in every house these days of the year, when kids get sick and no one sleeps and snot and aches and needing-mommy (no matter how old you are) is par for the course.
My rough days are nothing. Nothing.
I found a blog the other day….(darn those blogs of sick kids…why do I keep finding them? I forget about one, and stumble on another! I get hooked on these things!)
But this particular one was an adorable little five-year-old fighting leukemia. It jolted me out of my reality to see a picture of her, hairless, sitting “normally” on a hospital bed, reading books.
So I’m not braving leukemia here. I know that.
But still, is it wrong to ask “why?” of your struggles (no matter how little) and to brainstorm the good they bring? I don’t think it is.
Here’s what our struggles look like.
We have a child with asthma. It’s not even *bad* asthma, I don’t think. When Sam gets a cold, he’ll cough more than normal. Sometimes he will be short of breath and wheeze as he plays. We have to give him breathing treatments every four hours or so during these times.
The tricky part, the part that wears on us – is trying to troubleshoot when the medicine’s helping and when it’s not, and to make these decisions off of the breathing patterns and feedback of a three-year-old. It’s a really exhausting mental battle. I feel a lot of pressure to make “the right decision.” To avoid overreacting and give him too much medicine. To ensure he has medicine when he needs it.
We find ourselves having these repetitive conversations (mostly at some absurd hour in the morning): “How is he breathing?” Fine, I think. “Did you give him his medicine?” Yes…do you think he needs to be seen tomorrow? Etc. etc.
It’s really a blip on the radar of life, and I wouldn’t trade the struggle (or the child) for anything. But like any difficulty, at times you feel frustrated and (wrongly, I know) wonder what good it’s doing.
I asked that question last night. What is the point of this?
And wouldn’t you know. I came up with a whole host of reasons. Beautiful, gracious ones.
- For one, quality time. (Which I wouldn’t trade for the world.) Oftentimes we’ll give Sam breathing treatments during the night. Sometimes he doesn’t wake up. For twelve uninterrupted minutes of silence and dark, I get to concentrate on the beautiful little boy that I am amazed is mine. His little cheeks. How he holds Samule’s tail to sleep. His perfect blonde curls. I always leave so grateful, and I know I’ll treasure these moments.
Sometimes, though, he does wake up. These times are precious, too. One time he told me, “Mom, thank you for giving me my medicine! I was wanting that!” Sometimes I’ll tell him stories, about things we’ll do and places we’ll go, or things Little Bear and all his friends do. You can just tell on his face that he knows we’re taking good care of him.
I was thinking the other day (and now kicking myself for thinking this) but it had been a while since my boys had been sick. And the thought did cross my mind: I almost miss seeing Sam and Ty at night, rocking them, and caring for them when they need it. That is not to say that anyone enjoys leaving their amazing best-gift-ever electric blanket from the dead of sleep to wipe off snot. But nearly.
- And also, a mission. This is going to sound weird. But taking care of sick kids makes me feel needed. I once told my mom, “You know, if this motherhood thing weren’t so terrifying sometimes, I would absolutely love it. I was made to do this job.”
It’s almost fun to navigate the world of allergies, and colds, and asthma and neediness. God knew that I loved figuring things out, and caring for people, and he gave me the perfect job.
- For another, answered prayer. We were leaving the Super Bowl party and my sweet sister-in-law said, “Aww, Sam I hope you start feeling better tonight.” Sam said, “Yes, can you pray for me that I feel better?” It wasn’t whining, or cliche. He knows that we pray to God for him, and he knows that God listens. This asthma is a tangible, unfettering reminder in our lives that we are weak and need the Lord.
Today Sam told me that he knows God can make people feel better. Here is the transcript of that amusing conversation.
Sam: Mom, do you know how God heals people? (how?) Because he’s the one that made them!!
me: wow, Sam, that’s right…How did you know that?
Sam: I knowed it because God telled me it! God tells me things and then I knowed them!
me: aww, Sam, that’s great! What else did God tell you?
Sam: well, I know that God and Jesus are mixed all up, because they’re the same person! I know that! And…I know that God is stronger than the others!
me: yeah…what others?
Sam: like all the other dads! (with amazement, as if there were nothing else stronger 🙂 )
That last part didn’t really relate to asthma, but I kept it in there because it was cute. But anyway, you get the point. Without those prayers for our children (some painful and frustrated), they won’t know God listens and answers.
- Finally, and this might sound hokey. (Not Hokie, like the mascot. I mean “weird.” VERY different.) Anyway, Sam is very interested in medicine. Sometimes I get this crazy thought that Sam will grow up to be an awesome doctor who saves lives, all because he learned so much about medicine when he was little. just a crazy thought.
Here’s the principle to the whole thing, though.
You may not have an asthmatic child. You may not even have a child.
But you have problems. I love that we serve a God who uses them all: “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (romans 8:28). Or, to say it in music, listen to this song, called “Nothing is Wasted.” Love it!