I have truly enjoyed reading each of the articles last month. There has been such wisdom and patience in parenting and plenty of lessons that I have gleaned from them. When your child or spouse is sick, you take care of them, but what do you do when you are the one who is sick? When you are the one dealing with chronic pain or other health issues? How do you care for your family under such circumstances?
For the first three months of this year I was suffering with chronic abdominal pain. We went to some of the best hospitals and doctors in India and they still couldn’t identify the cause for the pain. While that was quite frustrating in itself, I found it more frustrating that my family bore the brunt of all this. Yes, my husband pulled the extra load in terms of parenting and household chores but I do have three littles all under the age of ten who need mummy’s attention every now and then.
And so while I plodded through those months with terrible pain, nausea, general fatigue, and pretty much lay in bed for most of the day, I wondered how all this would affect my children. To my surprise I realised that they learnt some incredible life lessons through those three months of watching me suffer with pain. They learnt:
Empathy - They understood that I was in pain and they really wished that their mummy would be all better soon. I felt it in their hugs and and heard it in their prayers. They didn’t just sympathise and move on; they tried to empathise with me in my pain.
Responsibility - They knew that I was sick and that Daddy had to go out to work so they gladly pitched in with household chores. Apart from laundry and picking up stuff around the house and keeping it clean, they also took care of each other. Our youngest had just been potty trained so he still needed quite a few trips to the bathroom and help with his baths. They made sure that he was always clean and dry and even sang to him and put him to sleep! They made sure their uniforms and books were ready for school. For me, to watch them do all this was so amazing. I mean my kids are kids too, they have to be constantly reminded about books and uniforms and chores and being kind to each other. But somehow during that time of illness they learnt to become responsible children.
Prayer - They learnt to persevere in prayer. They learnt that God doesn’t always answer prayer immediately or the way they want Him to answer it. They learnt that God does hear their prayers most definitely.
Faith - They wrestled with their faith in God but in the end I realised that their faith increased. They continued to pray for me and continued to ask me everyday how I was doing. When they didn’t get a favourable answer they would go back and pray some more. Some days they were genuinely sad and asked, “Why isn’t God healing you mama?” Or “Why is it taking God so long to answer our prayers?” But towards the end of those three months when they saw me getting better, they knew for a fact that it was God who had healed me.
While I might never fully understand the need for my suffering or the effect it has on my family in the long run, the one thing I know is that God used this time and brought something beautiful out of it. If you are dealing with chronic pain or suffering with other health issues, then my prayer for you is that you continue to catch glimpses of His grace even through this period.