REAL Back to School Preparation for the Compromised: A New World

Those first week of school pictures were adorable. Each of your precious kiddos stood with their outfits, backpacks or sat at their home-school tables ready to go. Parents kept social media and stores busy with shopping lists, large purchases and offers of school clothing swaps. Oh, the preparation represented!

Whew. Now that the first week or so is over, it’s time for the a new school preparation. I’m talking about stocking up on vitamins, immune boosters and cleaners. Let me show you how I prepared for school. I turned into the ‘OCD-cleaning-frenzy mommy’.

cleaning supplies 1

Now we must prepare for the REAL back-to-school onslaught. Prepare for the Crud. The Plague. The Pink-Eyed Monster. The germs are here. After only TWO DAYS Jonathan’s teacher has called in sick with pink-eye. William’s Physical Therapist cancelled on account of illness. Playdates are being cancelled right and left. The sound of sniffling is breaking the silence. Our kids are going DOWN, y’all. They will be snotty. They will cough. They will use us as human tissues and towels. This is the joy that will ensue and continue until Christmas, when we all visit other states and spread our strains of viruses to others and bring it home, infect others and then suffer until Spring Break.

Sick kids were a problem before, but now I’m in a new world that I only vaguely knew existed.

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This is a very crucial problem for us this year because William the Conqueror’s immune system is very low and compromised. It’s making me into a New Mom- that Germaphobe Mom. With my firstborn I was careful, but didn’t sanitize the pacifier when it dropped. I thought eating a handful of dirt was an ‘immune system builder’. I was once told that I was ‘a first time mom that acts like a third time mom’. I took it as a compliment. Then cancer happened and I am now turning into a super-germ-destroyer because I’ve seen what happens to William when the usual illnesses hit his defenseless body. His suffering is drastically disproportionate to ours.

Will ER

The 24 tummy bug that was passed around was a serious issue when William caught it. 7 days caused a 4 pound weight loss and ultimately sent him to the ER. With a brother in school bringing home the Elementary-Influenza, this house is on lock down.

All toys get washed every two days. I also wash the toys at church. Everything is on the ground and touching mouths.

clean toys

At the door we have a shoe station. Shoes are shed at the door to avoid tracking outdoor germs where Will crawls. We have hand sanitizer and wipes to clean the doorknob. We even have face masks for people to ‘just have allergies’ or ‘have a little tickle that is probably nothing’ for when flu season hits.

cleaning supplies

Overkill? Yep. Am I terrified that he will get sick? Nope. It’s going to happen. He is in the Lord’s hands…and mine, which are clean.

We have changed circumstances and changed lifestyles. We seem like masters of overkill, unusual and even trapped in a bubble. It’s what we do to protect our children. There are a lot of things out there in the world to protect our kids from and to face head on. We can pretend like they don’t exist, or we can confront them. More importantly, we can’t let fear control us or over-influence our actions. If the Lord saw fit to bring my boys through serious illnesses and challenges, there is purpose. Nothing is wasted.

What is threatening your home and or your children? Physical threat? Spiritual attack? Emotional issues? Anxiety? Starting over? The unknown? 

When someone we love is susceptible, it is our job to rally the troops and protect. It may seem counter-intuitive to some, but this is where love shows. This is how we are truly strengthened.

Wash your hands and say your prayers. Jesus and germs are everywhere.

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Give Me A Break

This was an “exciting” week. It was the kind of exciting week when a husband is away for work and disaster strikes in the form of illness and injury. We had three urgent/emergency doctor’s appointments this week. Jon broke his elbow on the slide pictured behind us. William’s g tube is infected and has been bleeding for days.

broken armcrying broken arm pic

There has been quite a battle to get William proper care, but we finally have a plan for Friday. God provided friends who offered meals and encouragement just when I needed it.This uphill battle should be par for the course but my friends, I am so weary. My sons’ pain has worn me down physically and emotionally. Worse, I am tired AT God. Yes, I am exhausted in his general direction because this is the point where temptation to despair is most evident.

This is when the Devil taunts me, challenging that I am not content in all circumstances.

This is when the weight of my children’s health feels like my responsibility because God seems to be taking too long.

This is when a healthy family that isn’t in crisis mode seems like a hope that isn’t intended for our family. These are guilt-causing lies, my friends. LIES.

will bleedingWill doc

This is the breaking point when faith is beyond feeling. Otherwise resentment, bitterness and doubt set in. This is when it feels like my faith isn’t strong enough, because of course my God is strong enough.

At church on Sunday, a woman who is pregnant asked us to pray for her unborn child. A recent scan showed a potential issue with in the brain and she is scared. As we came to pray, a woman insisted that before we pray for healing, her faith had to be strong enough to dismiss Satan’s power. Healing would come related to the mother’s faith. Um, WHAT?! No. This is a lie from the pit of Hell, and I told them so.

Of COURSE, we should pray for supernatural healing from the one who designed this child. We know that God can heal the child and use the testimony. YES, God has performed amazing miracles and healing through prayer.  HOWEVER, God often uses what devastates us to make us more like himself. If God doesn’t do an immediate healing, the conclusion is that the problem is the faith of the afflicted. They are no longer in the faithful-elite-class. (Amusing, Paul’s thorn in his flesh wasn’t removed. Was it a faith problem? Hm.) We must be careful what we preach to the deeply wounded.

God’s healing is NOT always proportionate to prayer. Prayer is powerful and can bring healing. God has used answers to prayer to stop the sun, stop the rain, to raise the dead to life. Prayer is essential– so don’t misunderstand me. I just want to encourage those dealing with illness, cancer, disability, or even a child who isn’t sleeping that it isn’t caused by a lack of faith. God isn’t refusing to heal because of a lack of your belief that he can and will.

I reassured the mother that we would be here for them in any outcome and that she is not alone, because that is what you NEED to say to that mother. I WAS and AM that mother.

People suggested my faithful prayers would keep William from having Down Syndrome. They recounted stories of incorrect tests and assurances that doctors don’t know anything, even after I told them it was 100% sure, and that the third chromosome was seen in the blood. They were sure he would be born perfect. William was born complete and healthy… and with Down Syndrome.

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God used this blessing despite the prayers. I prayed for leukemia to be absent from his body and for infections to heal. Instead, they were treated. I watched families treat and pray diligently for their children…and those precious ones still died while well-meaning people sent suggestions for chemical-free remedies, proper prayer guides, and even suggested chemotherapy was the wrong course of action. I know, because all of these were given to me.

last chemo

I can think of another person of great faith who prayed for God to remove something but yielded to a greater plan… Jesus. In the garden the night he was betrayed he prayed for the cup to pass, but “even so Lord, not my will but yours be done.”

Faith brings you through the trial; faith isn’t intended to be an escape hatch.

 

Honestly, it does hurt when the answer is a no. It will feel like God isn’t faithful. It feels like God doesn’t love you, even when you know it isn’t true. Don’t cling to that lie. If you’re fighting that, you aren’t alone. I am struggling to cling to God during suffering too. I believe this process is called sanctification.

If you have a struggling friend, just love them. Be the hands and feet before you quote scripture and leave, thinking you’ve done a favor. The ones I adore are those who message me prayers, brought me meals, brought gifts for my boys and took care of Jonathan, the child who is always on the back burner while speaking God’s truth because they LIVED it. They helped me feel God’s love and fell in love with my William. We saw God do amazing things, even when he didn’t do what I asked him to do, with faith.

God’s ways are not our ways. That can be really hard to live with. It is also the greatest blessing.