I’m not a mom who runs to the doctor every time my children have fevers. I don’t know if that’s good or bad…it just is. Usually, the trouble it takes to get sick kids to the doctor, wait inside the germ-infested waiting room for the nurse . Then wait inside the germ-infested examination room for the germ-infested doctor, thus, exposing my kids to ten more viruses they didn’t have prior to the visit, only to be told my children indeed also have a virus (go home and let them rest) …well, it’s just not worth it.
And quite honestly, after you’ve held your dying child in your arms, every other illness seems relatively minor and manageable.
But this day was inching toward different. This day was going from bad to worse. The 103.5 temperature Rebekah had the day prior had now spread to Elijah. And it wasn’t one of those fevers that responded quickly to Motrin or sponge bathing. And it wasn’t one of those fevers where the children were content to lie on the couch and watch Veggie Tales and eat popsicles. Nope, I had a feverish 3-year-old and a feverish 1-year-old who wanted to do absolutely nothing except whimper and wail in the arms of their very exhausted mother. My only problem was that, despite my best efforts, I could not adequately comfort them both at the same time. So while one hot, glassy-eyed child whimpered in my arms, the other wailed on the bed next to me.
Switch. Whimper/wail. Switch. Whimper/wail. Switch.
I couldn’t break to go to the restroom, let alone get out of my pajamas and pack a diaper bag. How in the world was I going to get these two to the doctor?
Living a thousand miles away from my family, I was used to doing these types of things on my own. I had some very good friends while we lived in Florida, but I had very few women with whom I felt comfortable enough to call and ask for help with things like going to the pediatrician. And those I did feel comfortable calling had small children of their own. What mom in her right mind would take her healthy kids to the germ-infested waiting room just to help me juggle two very sick kids?
C’mon, Sandy, get it together!
There haven’t been many times in my life where I sincerely felt like I couldn’t endure something without help. It’s probably just pride (OK, it’s definitely pride), but I tend to exhaust all options before I bother someone with a request to assist me. And I make it a rule to never ask Jon to come home from work unless it’s an emergency.
I wasn’t sure if this qualified as an emergency or not. But knowing my kids were very sick and knowing I needed help, I finally sucked it up and called him. I blinked back tears of disbelief as he apologetically explained he was in an important meeting and couldn’t leave.
Yep. No way. No how.
I was on my own.
Now, I realize in the big scheme of things, this moment was not the end of the world. But the combination of circumstances overwhelmed me completely. I was left feeling vulnerable, incapable and alone. With my two precious children on my lap, I finally cried out to God for help:
“Please Jesus, either heal them or bring me someone who can help me get them to the doctor…I’m exhausted. I’m afraid and I can’t do this by myself.”
I wish I could tell you God immediately healed my kids. He didn’t. Neither did He send someone miraculously to my doorstep to hold my sickies while I got dressed. That would have been really cool, wouldn’t it?
Instead, God, Himself, showed up.
“I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4)
At that moment in my bedroom, I felt the power and the peace of the Holy Spirit like I had never felt it before or since. It was as if He literally linked arms with me. Literally breathed strength into me. At that moment, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was not alone. I knew God was real, He heard me and He was holding me. He alone would be my portion and my provider. I didn’t know how, but I knew He would help me get myself and the children ready, into the car and to the doctor. I knew He would help me hold them and comfort them through the long wait in the office. I knew He would help me get them to the pharmacy, get whatever medicine they needed and then get them back home to rest.
And He did.
Sometimes I get frustrated with people when they fail to meet my expectations. Sometimes I get frustrated with God when I know it’s just as easy for Him to take away the fever as it is for Him to strengthen me to endure it. I don’t know how things would have turned out if He would have met my need some other way.
But I do know that one moment—the moment where God linked His arm to mine and carried the three of us to the pediatrician—forever altered my perception of Him.
Since that time, I have never hesitated to cry out to God, not only after I’ve exhausted all other options and reached the end of my rope, but as my first option. I have never hesitated to trust Him to sustain me, not only during times of major life storms, but also during minor ones and medium ones. In fact, every time I start to feel the pressures of life sweep over me and I fear I won’t be able to handle it, God reminds me of that day in my bedroom, and I know I will be OK.