This fall my daughter was sick – nothing major, just a persistent sore throat and fever that would not go away. I did everything in my Dr. Mom bag of tricks – took her to the doctor, antibiotics, vitamin C drops, spoonfuls of honey, Motrin. But although she could go an entire day without a temperature, or even any symptoms, each evening her temperature would spike, and with it, my level of frustration. I am the mom and I am supposed to be able to fix this. Only I couldn’t, and I felt like it was my fault she was sick and I had let her down.
After five days, my little monkey finally burned up her bug and was ready to resume her regular routine. But I still needed to deal with my feelings of frustration and failure. Usually I’m a “I can do everything through him who gives me strength”1 kind of girl. Strength is good. Weak is bad. Strength empowers me to push on through the situation. Sort of like the Lord is a spiritual energy drink that will give me a second wind.
Only my daughter’s illness was a situation in which strength played no part. I was helpless to do anything to affect the outcome. Since then we have had round after round of germs invade our home. And I continue to try. I clorox and scrub every handle, knob and surface. I isolate and launder, push fluids and probiotics. God’s answer to my frantic trying has been, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”2 In this situation (and many others), I can do…nothing. I need to rely on God to do the doing, trust Him to see things through.
Although I view my kids’ sickness as a failure on my part, God doesn’t see it that way. The apostle Paul also asked that the Lord would take something bad away from him and God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”3 I think that means that God’s power is more fully on display when there is nothing of us getting in the way. We bring Him the most glory when it is obvious that there is none of us in the good thing that has come, that it’s something only God could do. Weak isn’t bad. Weak is God’s glory.
It seems like probably it boils down to trust. Do I think I can find the right combination of vitamins and bleach that will heal my sick ones and keep the rest of us well? Or do I trust that God can use every situation, and that He is in every situation, good and bad? Do I believe that life in abundance includes my weakness being transformed by God’s strength?
So today, a little one is sick again. But today I am not scrubbing my hands raw. Today I am caring for her and proceeding with my day. I am trusting my weakness to God. I am trusting Him.
Belinda is a regular writer for Pruning Princesses. She had a pet monkey when she was 8. In a past life, she was an adviser to college students. Now she’s taking an extended sabbatical to focus on her mom job. She lives in Michigan with her husband, three daughters – ages 10, 8, and 5 – and her son, who is 2. She enjoys travel, cooking, hanging out with her family, and the occasional game of competitive badminton. Read her other posts here.