Have you ever had a day that you just couldn’t wait to end? I’m sure you have. Honestly, who hasn’t?
Well, this had been that kind of week for me. I just couldn’t wait for it to end. Surrounded by the remnants of a countertop covered with medication, Kleenex, and bleach wipes, I reminisce about the lessons from this past week. One thing I’ve learned about God is that He’s a great teacher, always teaching and growing me through the good and the not so good times. If I’m honest, there’s always more growth in the downright bad times. It’s in the times in my life when I am completely at a lack of control that God steps in and shows me how it’s done.
Today marks the 7th day that my family has had the flu. We’ve obviously caught the flu before, but it’s never quite hit like it did this week. This flu totally kicked our butt, keeping us either bed or couch-ridden for the last week. We just recovered from Covid a little over a month ago, so maybe our immune systems had yet to fully recoup.
I’m usually prepared for sickness. I like to keep frozen meals in my freezer. A lot of times when I’m sick, my husband will pick something up or he’ll cook if I’m unable. You know you always hear about how the man is the one who can’t get off the couch when he has the sniffles? Well, that’s not my husband. Nothing takes this man out. He’s so tough that he even worked through appendicitis. He would have worked through Covid if his boss would have let him. The only way I even got him to go to the hospital for appendicitis was to threaten him with an enema. Apparently, the mere threat was enough to make him go to the hospital. (I know too much information. I’ve often been told that I overshare, but oh well. That’s how God made me.) I say that to say, this man is the polar opposite of what you see represented as a typical sick man. He’s basically indestructible. However, somehow this mutated Covid/Flu baby we’ve had has managed to take not only me and the kids out, but also my indestructible husband. So, you get it? We were really sick.
During this time, I had friends message me and ask if they could do anything for us. I kept saying no, that we were good. The truth is that we weren’t good. I am the world’s worst at asking for and receiving help. Three days in, I finally agreed to allow a friend to bring us a meal, and when I did my daughter was overjoyed. She asked me, “Who is going to bring us food tomorrow?” I quickly told her no one, that I had been telling everyone no. That’s when God used my 10-year-old to teach me my first lesson from this week.
She said, “Mom, that is so rude that you are sick and telling people not to help you.” She then said, “I’m hungry. You need to let people help us.”
Now, mind you, we had pizza delivered, Spaghetti O’s, toast, and whatever else food that took little to no energy to make available to her. I did not let my daughter starve. However, I realized she was right. I was doing not only myself a disservice but also my family by refusing to allow anyone to help me. Not only was I refusing help, but I was also allowing the enemy to shame me for not properly taking care of my kids. It was a pride thing. My pride was getting in the way of God trying to bless both me and my family.
As the week progressed, I started to accept help. If anyone offered to cook a meal, I graciously accepted. Yesterday morning, I woke up and really wanted to cook my daughter blueberry muffins, but we didn’t have the muffin mix. That afternoon, the lady that was bringing us lunch asked if she could pick anything up from the grocery store. My immediate response was to text back “No thank you. We’re good.” How could I ask someone who was already cooking for us to pick up something as non-essential as muffin mix from the grocery store? As I went to type no, the Lord just wouldn’t let me do it. He reminded me that He was trying to bless me through this woman. So, I let Him bless me. I had just simply requested her to pick up a cheap box of Jiffy blueberry muffin mix with some imitation blueberries. However, that’s not how God works. This woman didn’t just bless me with a plain blueberry muffin mix. She blessed me with a mix that—can you believe—included fresh blueberries. I didn’t even know a mix so exquisite existed.
I made the best instant blueberry muffins this morning that I’d ever made. As I did, I was reminded that God was only able to bless me because I was willing to receive. It’s crazy the things we turn down from our pride that are actually God trying to bless us.
Today, after a week of being glued to the couch, I finally felt well enough to get up and start disinfecting my house. Another friend stopped by today to bring us food after church. I almost turned her down because I felt guilty. If I could get off the couch to start cleaning, I obviously didn’t need someone to cook for me. But God knew I did. I wasn’t as capable as I thought, because I spilled half of the ingredients on the floor when I cooked those glorious blueberry muffins.
I pushed through with every bit of energy that I had as I swept, mopped, and changed bedding. I wiped down or sprayed everything in sight with disinfectant spray. I was determined to get this stuff out of my house for good. While I was cleaning, my daughter asked for lunch, which fortunately God already had covered for me. As my son saw that I was feeling well enough to clean, he began asking me over and over to go outside and throw the football with him. It’s kind of our thing. We hadn’t been able to in a week, so I understood his enthusiasm. However, I barely had enough energy to clean my house, much less play football. I immediately started to feel guilty and the enemy seized the opportunity to try to shame me.
I am not sure if he does that with you, but he’s always shaming me. Nothing is ever good enough. You know how you can tell it’s him? It’s always accusations, never seasoned with grace.
At this point, I was running on empty. I’d already been short-tempered once with my family today. I truly didn’t want to do it again. I don’t know if I need to snap into a Slim Jim or eat a Snickers, but I know I was close to it happening again.
That’s where I was just an hour ago when I messaged my friend. God used her to teach me yet another lesson. She said, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” This whole week as I refused help, I was pouring from an empty cup. I had nothing to give, and I felt guilty because of it. As hard as mom life is, especially when dealing with “CoronaFlu” in your whole family, it’s so much sweeter with friends and Jesus. God wanted to fill my empty cup, and He sent community to do it. I don’t mind being part of the giving community, but I find it hard to be a part of the receiving community.
God used this week to teach me how to receive. He blessed me through friends I’ve known for years and new friends that I’ve only just started to get to know. He humbled me, and I’m glad for it. I’m thankful to God for the lessons in humility, community, and receiving that He taught me this week. I’m part of the Body of Christ. Every person has a part to play in the Body. This week, I was the part that needed to rest. This week, my friends were the hands and feet. The Body of Christ is a beautiful thing when we allow it to function the way God intended.