Motherhood and Illness (Part 1)




Gardening requires toiling, digging deep, sowing, water, sun, air, purposeful planning and of course constant upkeep to rid of weeds and overgrowth. Motherhood is a lot like gardening.  I am still in the midst of digging deep and all the labor involved. Some day I will see the fruit of my labor. Some day I will see the blossoms fully sprung and the buds bloomed in all their glory. I am expectant for that day. So today, how do I do it with this illness? How do I remain strong when I feel like I have nothing left to give?

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I start each day warm from sleeping like a wrapped up burrito. This warmth makes me feel heavy and makes it hard to move. Some mornings, most mornings, I do not want to move. I do not want to get out of bed. I want to stay and sleep. for. just. a. little. bit. longer and just maybe all day. I lay there and talk to God, “Thank you for today. I do not know how I am going to do today or what I am going to face but please strengthen me and help me through. Please give me patience and grace for all that is set before me……”

I recognize my need for the living God to fill me and empower me. I always knew I needed God’s strength to mother well and even more grace and strength to educate my children at home. I knew I was desperate for Him to work miracles and now I am even more aware. My diagnosis came when I had four children ages seven and younger.  It seems so long ago but really it was only five years ago. I could barely walk and it hurt to stand for just a few minutes. I did not drive for nine months during that season. Our homeschooling was a lot of sitting and working on the couch or at the table. We rarely went anywhere. I was in recovery mode. I was building my strength back up and we took our time soaking in life at home.

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Today, I am able to drive and we are able to attend music lessons and physical fitness classes but each day looks different. Some days I am hobbling up to the door for lessons and other days I stride up without realizing I am walking descent that day. I give myself grace.  If my brain is a mess or my emotions unstable we have a lot of cuddle and read time. We are always reading at least one great book and so we brew hot tea (or cold depending on how I am feeling and weather) and throw together a- not-so-elegant snack and nibble away while enjoying adventures of old. Right now we are reading through C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, studying Bach by reading about his life and listening to his masterpieces,  walking through life stories of not-so-often-learned-about heroes in “Heroes Among Us” by Jim Runyan.

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I have learned that controlling every minute of the day does not produce peace in our home. We have loads of time for creativity and play time. We play music and worship when we have the urge and we sit and read when we need that. We have structured learning of many lessons but the key is letting the Holy Spirit lead my day. Some times I just need to walk away. I need to take a  break and rest. Sometimes, many times I need to send the kids out to play for a break.

I do as the Father leads and as I humble myself and allow Him to dance with me through the day I find that he multiplies my “fishes and loaves” and blesses the work of my hands.

What “gardens” has God called you to tend today? What labor do you feel unfit for?

God will “equip you with everything  you need for doing His will. ” Heb. 13:21

PS. This is the beginning of a series on Motherhood and Illness. Make sure you subscribe on my blog so you don’t miss any one of  them. 🙂

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