Thursday, February 25, 2016

Oh Sickness.

The sickness I've endured this winter has outworn its welcome.

The first few years Mark and I were married I never got a cold. Not once! I would brag about my immune system anytime illness was brought up. To be fair, I did have my share of stomach illnesses, but colds, bronchitis, allergies, I was definitely too good for all that.

This year, that story has changed. Thankfully, I've had far fewer stomach bugs, but I am on cold number four since November. Nine days, going on ten, if I don't wake up miraculously well tomorrow.

My kids have been so sweet. Cole has written me several cards, saying things like "I'm sorry you're sick" and "I hope you feel better." Sometimes after a coughing bout, he'll look at me sadly, almost with tears in his eyes, and say "I'm sorry you aren't feeling well mom." What a sweetheart!

But honestly, I'm not sure what else to say. I'm sick. I'd love to sleep more than a couple hours in a row. I'd love to fall asleep without coughing for an hour first. I'd love for my head to stop hurting, my nose to stop running, and to generally feel excited to be alive. But we pretty much always have wishes about life, right?

If nothing else, this illness is a reminder of those suffering illness far more permanent - or fatal - than what I have been dealing with this week. I am reminded that God does not promise me good health, and this has helped me be a tad more patient with my kids. I don't have the energy to respond as quickly or fiercely to their fighting or whining, and I see how most of our situations still turn out completely fine at the end of the day. Through all this sickness, I am also reminded that one day, I will never have to feel this way again, to feel exhausted beyond all means.

I was telling my husband how I've almost forgotten what it feels like to feel good. Honestly, my brain can't even go there. But can you imagine forgetting pain? Being so gloriously happy, full of energy, fulfilled so deep in your soul that you literally enjoy every single second more than you've enjoyed even one second before? Me neither. But it is our promise, dear Christian. Isn't that wild? Totally unfathomable!

The closest I get to imagining this is a scene from the movie Prince Caspian. Near the beginning, the children are whisked away to Narnia again, but this time, they are on the ocean shores, on a gloriously sunny day. The music, the lighting, the freedom and fun the children experience, makes me long for that day. To be able to put off every awful thing, every dreadful feeling, every sad memory and bask eternally in the light of God is something I can only imagine. My human mind cannot comprehend the magnitude of that gift. The tiniest glimpse of that future leaves me sad I am not able to see it today. I'm sure if I could really grasp it, if I could truly understand how amazing of a gift it is, I would live differently.

I am trying to remember these truths and not to despair in this temporary sickness.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us."(Romans 8:17) and "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison" (2 Corinthians 4:17). Paul was the expert on suffering, and he did so willingly! My illness is far from suffering willingly, but his strength in the hope of God's promises enables me to endure my temporary affliction.

But please do pray for me! I still want to be well, to take care of my family and give them my best. I hope you can relate to the weight of what it feels like to be sick for longer than you thought was possible. But don't stop there. Let those feelings and thoughts make you pursue knowing God more deeply, to rely on His promises more. In the midst of it, let it remind you to reach out to others whose suffering exceeds your own. We've all been down the road of illness, some further than others, and we can all walk alongside one another to find hope in more than just feeling better tomorrow. I hope that's what I get, but thank goodness God has more for me than just that!

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