I reached for the steaming hot ducky felt rice bag for the umpteenth time. “Thank you, son” I weakly whimper to my fourteen year old.
Lying helpless in bed is not the Mom-image I dream of being for my boys. In spite of the storybook family image I try to write for them over the years, I finally resolve, “I can’t write their story.”
While my youngest boy perfected the ability to stitch straight seams in his 8th grade class, I am certain he never imagined his Mom would be getting so much use from the ducky bag he made.
Up and down the stairs he runs as he takes care of me, commenting how the bag stinks now. Zapped so many times,the rice burns beneath the soft flannel duckies. I place the bag on my gut where bright red burns have created a design the doctor thinks may never go away.
It’s the middle of summer and I have spent weeks in painful misery and long hours in the E.R. I’ve experienced too many blood tests, cat scans and increased doses of ox-codeine than I care to count.
This is not the plan I envisioned for myself or family this summer. The boys and I were going to cook from Alton Brown’s cookbook together. I hoped they would teach me how to lift weights in the garage. I took for granted sitting in my lawn chair cheering on the soccer team, taking videos of their swim meets and watching them improve their stroke.
Instead, I am an absent mom and my husband has taken on the role of Mr. Mom in their summer frolics.
I certainly never planned to listen to the family laughing and splashing in the backyard or conversing around the kitchen table from the misery of my darkened bedroom. I roll over saddened, maybe even ashamed, as I watch my boys walk quietly past my door.
“Please take him out of the room” I whisper to my husband as he shuffles our boy with special needs away from his mom. I can’t bear the thought of him being confused or anxious as I groan and weep in pain.
“Feel… better…. Mommy” he carefully tells me.
This is not the perfect family story I wrote for my children. I don’t want them to have a helpless mom. They shouldn’t have to take care of me at their age. They shouldn’t have to completely care for themselves throughout the day.
I should be vibrant, energetic, interacting with them. I should.
I should be cooking for them and driving them for milkshakes.
Wrestling with pain…Wrestling with “should’s”… Wrestling with God…
He stills my heart.
He reminds me this is what I prayed for over the years. I ask the Lord to grow character in my boys, to make of them godly men. I ask Him to orchestrate opportunities for them to rely on Him in a deep and personal way.
This is their opportunity to experience disappointment, even fear and worry — then learn to lean on and listen to their Heavenly Father. They need to witness the hand of God, to experience their own answers to prayer.
It’s what makes faith real.
On my sick-bed I relinquish to God my rights as Mom. I confess my delusions to control the fine details of my children’s lives.
Jesus, You be their Master Teacher.
Step into my children’s lives when I cannot and should not.
A sickly Momma is not the image I create in their story. But, God is working with them to create His own story in their lives.
He weaves their joys, disappointments and life experiences for His own good pleasure.
I don’t want to get in Your way, so Lord I am letting go–again–today.
“Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him and expect help from Him, He will never fail you”-George Mueller
Friends, it is almost a year since my surgery and diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease. I have taken time to get my life back in order and enjoy a pain-free summer with the family. Now it’s time to share with you what God keeps trying to teach me at my bedside.