3 a.m. on Monday morning my son walked into my bedroom and through his tears said, “Mom, I’m going to throw up.” And he did, all over my bed. My husband and I mid-sleep jumped out of bed, scurried him to the bathroom, and began to change our sheets. Two words: stomach flu.
Over the next three days, I felt like we were living the 1980 Queen song, “Another One Bites the Dust“. First my four year old son, followed by my one year old Cadence and finally her twin sister Addilynn. I began praying, “please Lord not me, not me, not me”. But, viral attacks and sleep deprived moms don’t mix, and I found myself laying in my bed sicker than a dog, thinking,” I’d rather eat razor blades. Moms should never get sick, ever.”
You know what was the most interesting about this experience? Four of us had the same illness and we all treated it differently. Oren was worried constantly. He’d say, “my tummy hurts” over and over and over and over(you get the idea) again and then would fall asleep through his wimpering. I was extremely cranky and wanted to be left alone in my bed. Addie was quietly watching her siblings play from her perch on the couch-would start to wimper and then throw up. Cadie was my favorite child dealing with sickness. Other than her actually throwing up, you would never know she felt different than any other day. She was extremely pleasant and happy-silly even.
I’ve noticed my spiritual life is not much different. When there is illness, I just want to be left alone. I withdraw from spiritual things like reading my Bible and being open to others and find myself alone with my thoughts.
And, I’ve also noticed that others deal with their spiritual illnesses similarly. Some worry themselves sick, some withdraw, but watch social interactions from the backdrop wishing they could be a part of the group, but their illness keeps them away. Some, like me prefer to be alone. And others, you would never know they felt any sort of strife or life wasn’t all perfect-they pretend its fine, but their occasional vomit reveals their real heart.
I cannot ignore my spiritual illness because I know this truth: God did something fiercely astounding with his Son. He sent His Son to die for my sins, but he also sent His Son to heal the broken parts that allow me to become ill with the spiritual flu time and time again.
1 John 4:17-18 “God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.”
Matthew 4: 17 “That evening a lot of demon-afflicted people were brought to him. He relieved the inwardly tormented. He cured the bodily ill. He fulfilled Isaiah’s well-known sermon:
He took our illnesses,
He carried our diseases.”
In Isaiah 61, it says that Jesus came to heal the broken hearted, to free the captives, to give comfort to those who mourn, and to replaces ashes with beauty. Isn’t that awesome?
God’s love and act of sending Christ propels me to move out of my response to my illness. I cannot stay alone, others cannot stay worried or withdrawn, or live a life of pretending. Loving Jesus requires change, real heart change.
My heart this week is burdened with physical healing, but is desperately seeking relief from spiritual illness. So, I’m starting it off with vitamin C and rest to combat my physical needs. Then I move to prayer, submitting my soul to scripture. And once I’m physically feeling better, I’ll be pouring out my soul to my husband and those I need relationship with.