Dr. Mom, mortality, and simply being a Child

 

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When we had our first baby, I was like, “I can handle this little ol’ thing.” Breastfeeding was easy for me (THANK YOU, LORD!). Diaper changes and sleeplessness nights were hard, but seemed manageable with copious amounts of coffee. Granted, at this point there was only one of them and two of us, but you get the idea.

Then it happened. She got sick. And babies don’t get normal sick. They get weird sick. There was all this snot that wouldn’t come out. She couldn’t breath when I fed her. Her little chest found it challenging to rise and fall. I took her to the doctor, found out these symptoms evidently stemmed from an ear infection (WHAT?!!) and filled about 14 prescriptions at the pharmacy.

I hit a breaking point one day, picked up my phone, and called my pastor’s wife, Linda. Crying as soon as she picked up, I lamented, “I don’t think I can do this. I’m not cut out for parenting. I might need to turn her back in.”

She got in her car, came to visit me, hugged all my tears out of me, and gave me comfort in the form of this phrase: “I hate the Dr. Mom part of parenting too. Don’t worry, It’s God’s job to keep them alive. It’s your job to just love them.”

Relief rushed over me. For weeks I had felt just so responsible. A tiny human dependent completely on me for survival was more than daunting, it seemed impossible. Of course it seemed impossible, because it was impossible…for me. That was God’s job.

In Isaiah 38 we find a section of narrative, a break from the poetic style most of Isaiah is in, for a story. A true and real adventure in which King Hezekiah finds out very quickly that life is in God’s hands and not His own. It’s a useful lesson for all of us. Each of our lives, held tightly in the hands of God and God alone.

Open your Bibles to Isaiah 38:1-22. I’ll highlight verses 1-3 and 12-20 below.

In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. AndIsaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.”Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, and said, “Please, O Lord, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:

12 My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me
    like a shepherd’s tent;
like a weaver I have rolled up my life;
    he cuts me off from the loom;
from day to night you bring me to an end;
13     I calmed myself until morning;
like a lion he breaks all my bones;
    from day to night you bring me to an end.

14 Like a swallow or a crane I chirp;
    I moan like a dove.
My eyes are weary with looking upward.
    O Lord, I am oppressed; be my pledge of safety!
15 What shall I say? For he has spoken to me,
    and he himself has done it.
I walk slowly all my years
    because of the bitterness of my soul.

16 O Lord, by these things men live,
    and in all these is the life of my spirit.
    Oh restore me to health and make me live!
17 Behold, it was for my welfare
    that I had great bitterness;
but in love you have delivered my life
    from the pit of destruction,
for you have cast all my sins
    behind your back.
18 For Sheol does not thank you;
    death does not praise you;
those who go down to the pit do not hope
    for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living, he thanks you,
    as I do this day;
the father makes known to the children
    your faithfulness.

20 The Lord will save me,
    and we will play my music on stringed instruments
all the days of our lives,
    at the house of the Lord.

21 Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.” 

“The father makes known to the children your faithfulness…”

Hezekiah’s prayer to our Father in heaven is so very real. So often we go about our lives in that relative security and then in comes the hard stuff. When we face death as human’s, this is when we can’t help but turn to God. Almost any human being in those last moments, looking death smack dab in the middle of the eye, prays at the very least. Sometimes it’s as simple as

“Why, God?”

“Have mercy.”

“Save me.”

We all have our opinions about God, until mortality shows up on our doorstep, as it did for Isaiah. Suddenly, we need God like we have never needed Him before.

Isaiah’s prayer goes through phases- anguish and uncertainty- to the embrace of mercy and absolute certainty. Isaiah may be one place in the Bible where the stages of grief was laid out for us long before any psychological theory existed.

“I am consigned…”

“…like a weaver I have rolled up my life…”

“…like a lion he breaks all my bones…”

“I moan like a dove…”

“My eyes are weary with looking upward.”

“Be my pledge of safety!”

Can you hear the physical and emotional struggle? Can you hear the doubt? The wrestling? Isaiah says it out loud before the Lord of Hosts. Why?

Because he knew he was invited.

This is part of God’s make up. He is Father to His dear children. He is not just King, although He reigns on the highest throne. He is not just Lord, although He is certainly Master over our lives. He is Father to His much loved children.

You are a child of God.

Just as Hezekiah proclaims his own place before the Lord, so this is your place to claim.

Read Isaiah 38:19 again –

The living, the living, he thanks you,
    as I do this day;
the father makes known to the children
    your faithfulness.

In Isaiah’s psalms, God reassures me and whispers hope in my ear. The father does indeed make known to the children God’s faithfulness, to each one of us, as His precious child. We can share the Good News of God’s salvation as Isaiah does in verse 20, because God the Father has left it open in His Word for all of us to see and hear and be a part of.

Hezekiah is desperate to worship the Lord in response to His faithfulness (v.23), but dear one, the worship began long before recovery. The worship began with the eyes of a child raised up to the Father that longs to embrace us and tend to every wound. Before Isaiah was at peace with what God was working in His life, He turned His face to Him in prayer.

Raise your arms up today and let God hold you. In my opinion the best part of the promise for Hezekiah is found early in the chapter. Look again at the first part of Isaiah 38:5 –

“Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears…”

The strong arms of our Father sent Jesus Christ, His Son, to dry our tears with His death and resurrection. One day those tears will be no more in heaven. This promise is for you and for your children, for you and every child of God around you. Each of you a dear child to His Father’s heart.

 

Exploration:

What has been the hardest part of being a mom for you personally or what is your least favorite part of being ill? (Emotional, practical, or gross) 😉

What promise or truth, whether pretty or hard, sticks out to you in Hezekiah’s prayer in Isaiah 38?

Peek ahead to Isaiah 40:1. How does this verse remind us of God’s Fatherly affection for us?

Child Scripture Engagement Tool

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9 thoughts on “Dr. Mom, mortality, and simply being a Child”

  1. I have crohns disease. When I first got sick, I was in and out of the hospital. I was in the hospital 6 times in 7 months. There were 3 things that I felt were very hard to deal with. The first was the physical and mental strain it took on my body. I am a girl who loves food. For the first time in my life I was scared to eat. I remember walking through the grocery store trying to find food to feed my husband and children, and literally crying my way through the store because I was terrified to choose something. My family ate a lot of frozen pizzas and pb&js simply because I could not stand to be in the kitchen. Being a wife and mom were the 2 other difficulties. I can remember being in the hospital the week before Holy Week and begging my doctor to let me go home. I knew my husband needed my support and help with the kids during Holy Week. Being a pastor on a normal week is hard enough, Holy Week is really hard. He needed his wife and co-parent. She wanted to transfer me to a larger hospital 4 hours away. Thankfully, God worked a miracle and the 24 hours she gave me to improve before transferring me, I was so much better and instead of being sent farther away, I was sent home! Just doing the normal mom and wife things were so hard. I didn’t want to eat, and I didn’t have the energy to do much besides sleep. I was so thankful for children who like to snuggle and just be held (and hold me!).
    Now, 6 years later, I haven’t been hospitalized for over 5 years. I still have many symptoms of my disease, but none so acute to send me to the hospital. Meds and diet monitoring keep me fairly healthy. I am so thankful! God has blessed me in spite of my disease, and through my disease!

  2. It’s funny, when I read the first paragraph of today’s devotion I thought, “Oh my goodness, I was exactly the opposite.” In fact, we have a picture of me holding Tim (our oldest) when we first got home from the clinic and I know exactly what I was thinking…..he was laying on my knees looking up at me and I was looking at his nostrils and thinking, “It’s my job to keep those open. What if they get clogged? What will I do? The fact that we were living in Lome, West Africa didn’t help that fear. But, the Lord had mercy upon both of us and he survived, with no nasal blockages. 🙂

    However, my scariest time as a parent was once when our youngest, Ariana, was sick with malaria and Gary was gone on a trip. I did all of the usual stuff we did for malaria but it wasn’t helping. I took her to the local pediatric clinic and did what they told me to do and it wasn’t helping. Finally, one night when she was running another very high fever I stretched my body out over hers just like I remembered Elijah doing. I just prayed and prayed and prayed. The fever broke – but it does that with malaria – and came back the next night. Again, I did the same thing. Finally, the second night, the fever broke and didn’t come back. I think it was several days before my heart rate returned to normal however. 😉

    Verse 17: Behold, it was for my welfare
    that I had great bitterness;
    but in love you have delivered my life
    from the pit of destruction,
    for you have cast all my sins
    behind your back.

    That’s what I like about this prayer today. 🙂 I’m thankful that all of my sins have been cast behind God’s back. Very thankful!

    Isaiah 40:1: doesn’t that sound like a Mom or Dad? Comfort, comfort, just repeated over and over. I imagine those words being said while being held and patted.

    1. That last image, Steph gives me tears in my eye. “Comfort, comfort” pat, pat “Comfort, comfort” pat pat. 😍 One day we’ll have to sit down and I’ll tell you our malaria and typhoid stories. So thankful for His place as the Great Physician because I felt useless! Thank you, Lord, for Your Faithfulness!

  3. The hardest part of being Mom was potty training. I like things to be as predictable as possible; with potty training, I lose the appearance of my control of things. I did get better at it as I trained each of our 4 children, but it still left me feeling unsettled, frazzled, & frustrated like no other part of mothering. Doing all that I could do was no guarantee that I wouldn’t have messes to clean up on my carpet (or, my favorite antique couch!). The experience showed me how much I valued my self-imposed order on things, & how easily I didn’t trust God with things I can’t control.
    Isaiah 38:17 sticks out to me: Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness;
    but in love you have delivered my life from the put of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back.
    God does this over and over in my life to bring me to repentance that I can know His forgiveness and fatherly care for me ( that I may “fear, love, & trust in him above all things”).
    Isaiah 40:1 says that God ultimately wants to comfort us. He says it three times in this short verse!

  4. The hardest part of being a Mom for me has come, since my daughters are grown and have families of their own. My husband and I faithfully raised our girls in the church. We worshiped every Sunday and attended Sunday School and both were active in youth group. Since they have both gotten married (we were old fashioned in the fact they both lived at home until their marriages) neither one of them attend church, not even on Christmas or Easter (maybe on Easter, the oldest one will come).
    We have one grandchild whom I had the privilege of having everyday for his first 14 months, then the kids decided it was too much having to “fight” traffic for 20 minutes on the highway to pick him up each evening so he was put in daycare. Sadly, not a Christian daycare. Grandma prayed with him before every bottle and every nap. I bought VBS and S.S cd’s and played them everyday and sang to him and even tried doing the motions with 4 month old chubby arms. Thank God our grandson was baptized and every time we have time with him we talk about Jesus and how he lives in his heart and watches over him!
    And, our youngest daughter separated from her husband, 1 year ago, at the end of this month. Our current Pastor married them and her husband went to him to seek advice, but my daughter refuses to get any type of counseling.
    Isaiah 38:1 speaks to me every single day:”put your house in order, because you are going to die…”
    I completely understand every single moment on this earth, could be my last. So I rest in the FACT God is in control and He knows what He has in store for my girls and their families and continue to lift them up in prayer, over and over again!

    1. Adult children’s spiritual lives is such a struggle for so many parents. You are not alone, my friend! This is hard. First, I will join you in prayer. Lord, please send people and Your Word into this family and their life. We know they need You, Lord, please lift their eyes to see You clearly once again. We rest in Your faithfulness, Your Spirit working. You tell us You will never leave us nor forsake us, Jesus. We trust in You, and You alone. Father, wrap these children and grandchildren in Your arms, cuddle them close to You, Lord. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
      “Comfort, comfort, ye my people…” Jesus does just that. I pray He comforts Your heart, Darlene! Hugs! Keep praying. That is such a gift to your children. You are their prayer warrior!

  5. One of the hardest parts of being a mom is the struggle of the right thing to do to take care of my kids, whether that be for physical, emotional, or spirit needs. I always want to do the right thing and not mess up. It is also hard to see your children hurting or struggling. And it is definitely scary when they are sick.

    I find it interesting that Hezekiah asks God to remember his faithfulness and goodness when no one is totally faithful. Is he actually relying on God’s faithfulness in his place?

    I have always loved the beginning verses of Isaiah 40. God wants us to know comfort. He wants us to tenderly hear the good news of our redemption. We need too hear that in our house today. We are all stressed.

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