Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Grace for the Chronically Sick Mama

"'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

This has been a challenging month for our family. I had a flare of a chronic disease coupled with a serious infection, pain, vomiting, diarrhea, drug interactions, side effects, the works. It was miserable.
I have successfully managed this disease fairly effective for several years. This was my first major flare as a mother with two little kids. This was the first flare when my kids started to notice how sick I was. I watched my two beautiful little humans run around, asking me to join their games. My son would quietly watch me not eating during mealtime and say, "I don't think Mommy is eating enough."

I could not tell my kids a definitive date that I'd be better. This is the struggle with chronic illnesses. There is no finality of "Yay! I kicked that flu! Onward march!" There is a lot of sitting in pain that doesn't end, finding acceptance in the questions, living in the now of what you can and cannot do. 

When you have nothing left to give, that moment of disease feels like it can last forever. And that's when you have to rest in that vulnerable place and trust the healing process.

My husband was able to work flexible hours from home so we didn't even have financial worries and the kids had lots of Daddy time. He has been working non-stop either providing for our family or working to keep the household going. Our family is such a blessing, bringing us food, grocery shopping, cleaning, folding laundry, taking care of kiddos. Friends checked in frequently, bringing activities for my kids, encouragement for me.

My kids were so flexible with what mommy could and could not do. When I said, "I don't feel up to doing right now," they would nod, give me a hug, and ask what we could do together.

They rephrased the question. They rephrased my view of my illness.

I had to cancel their combined birthday with friends, replaced instead with a small family gathering that I fell asleep half way through. My son said it was wonderful.

I canceled our long awaited family trip to the city, cancelled field trips, homeschool group outings, and play dates. Sometimes, I wasn't always able to talk from exhaustion or nausea or pain. I still feel distracted by fatigue, from not enough spoons.

Honestly, there have been more than a few rough spots as the kids ride out an unpredictable time in our family and a mommy who sits. A lot. I remind myself that through this process they are learning new levels of compassion, empathy, flexibility, and thoughtfulness.

It is their acceptance of our life as it is that is simply beautiful. I love the way my kids live in the moment. I'm their mommy whether I'm productive or mobile or simply... not.

My worth as a mommy is providing mama-love as only I can in whatever ways I can. I'm leaning into grace right now, reaching for that strength that comes when I give over my weakness.