In the last few months I’ve had a fractured elbow, a gum tissue graft, and a massive infected cyst removed from my neck. For the love! It’s been so many weird and painful things in a row. With my kids doing distance learning for over a year and most of our activities on hold or on Zoom, we haven’t had as much as a cold in our household and then bam! — all the weird health things. No, nothing life-threatening or too scary, certainly not in comparison to situations others are facing, and because they’re not as bad as what others are indeed going through, it’s been easy to downplay these health issues I’ve been experiencing. But they aren’t nothing. They have been a big deal. My daily life has been impacted, and I’ve sure been miserable, in pain, and rendered pretty helpless at some points along the way.
It feels like I should be used to attending medical procedures alone. After all, I had a pandemic pregnancy and baby — who, by the way, is already seven months old. You’d think that with him being my fourth child, I’d be used to the swift passing of time especially during this first year of his life, but it turns out, I’m not used to it. Turns out it’s still bittersweet to see babies grow so quickly, and it’s still hard for me to walk into appointments alone, even ones that should be simple.
Really, I’m not used to anything, including asking for help, accepting care, and taking a break, and these past few months, I’ve had to do all of the above. My husband has faithfully bandaged, unpacked, cleaned, and re-bandaged the surgical site on my neck, which I could not see or reach. My daughter brushed my hair while my arm was wrapped in a sling. My sister dropped off headbands that would keep my postpartum baby hairs out of the medical tape on my neck, and my friend sent coffee money when the baby stopped sleeping and my mouth, swollen and stitched, could only handle icy liquids.
On the home front, we have extensively supported our local economy with our takeout orders. Grocery pickup has been a lifeline. I have given thanks that my husband and I still work from home. All of those things have made life easier, which in turn helped make the pain bearable.
While I am not great at accepting it all, I am learning that in a way, being dependent is a good thing. My friend Amanda calls it being “strong enough to lean.” How smart is that? And so, lean I will, right into the arms that hold the strongest. I’m learning to lean in, depend on, and accept the care God is offering us all the time. And that care reminds me of a mom.
Think about the best mom you know. Maybe it’s your own mother or a friend. Maybe it’s a lady at church. If you went to her in a frazzled and overwhelmed state, what would she tell you to do to take care of yourself?
Most likely, she would make sure you’re comfortable on the couch, perhaps with a fuzzy blanket. She’d get you a glass of water. Then she might advise you to take a shower. Go to sleep. Turn off the TV. Stop scrolling. Close the laptop. Call a friend. Wear clean clothes. Laugh. Read a book. Eat food that helps your body and have dessert. Forgive yourself. Forgive the other person.
The care that this amazing mom offers? That is what God offers to us.
God wants to care for us like the best mother there ever was — ready to help put our minds at ease, invite us to practices that help our whole selves, and/or give us a kick in the pants to shake it off and get moving. Maybe a combination of it all because that might be what we really need.
Just as a mother constantly thinks about and cares for her children, God does the same for us. Psalm 139:17-18 says:
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
God thinks of us more often than there are grains of sand. He cares for us, and He’d like us to care for ourselves too. That care might look like a doctor’s appointment to check on that weird thing, or it might look like drinking that glass of water, or going to bed early, or praying when you worry. It might also look like accepting help and care, admitting when things are a big deal and when we need to be taken care of.
Let’s be strong enough to lean in — to God and others — and let’s do what we need to do to take care of ourselves well.Leave a Comment