I was really looking forward to a relaxing, stress-free birthday celebration with my boys when all of a sudden Timmy was hit with hand, foot, and mouth disease. It happened the day after my birthday. My husband Omar was planning something that weekend for us but the unforgiving virus stopped us from doing so. Worse, it forced us to stay in our house for 10 days! Well, as of this writing it’s already 14.
When Omar asked me what I wanted for my birthday I really didn’t know what to answer. Sure there are things that I want but none of them seemed to be urgent enough that I need to have them now. I’ve always looked at “wants” as things that can wait. So my birthday rolled without me giving anything concrete to my hubby but at the back of my head I just wanted to be surprised. I also wanted to see how much my husband really knows me with what he would come up with. 🙂
Same goes with my prayer request. I didn’t ask God for anything material for my birthday but I wrote specifically in my journal for Him to change me to be more Christlike and that He would help me prioritize. As much as it’s easy to say God first, family second, and the rest is third—it’s not that easy to follow through.
God answers our prayers in the most unexpected ways. He allowed Timmy to get sick with a disease that was difficult to weather on its first stages and was awful to look at on its latter stages. Nothing can give a parent lessons on Christlikeness than seeing your child sick. You will be stretched physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
It’s like every fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—are being squeezed out of you. I felt like a grape being squished to get the juice that will eventually be a tasteful wine. Only my husband and son could say if mommy turned out to be a great wine over the coming years. But yes, this illness demanded that I exhibit Christlikeness in every situation.
The first 3-4 days were hard because of Timmy’s high fever and mouth blisters. He couldn’t eat well. He would wail in pain. He would walk wobbly because he had blisters on his feet. It looked a lot like chicken pox. There were days when it would be itchy and he would be irritable. He also liked to be snuggled and carried a lot.
During those times, I’m so grateful that my husband is just as hands on as I am. Our different body clocks allowed us to give our son his round-the-clock meds and he would carry our son longer because he’s too heavy for me now. I saw Christ’s love in action in Omar as well. 🙂
Priority change, check!
I literally had to drop a lot of my writing work just to take care of Timmy. I asked for deadline extensions and told my boss that I really couldn’t write that time because my son needed me. I praise and thank God that she understood my situation. At the end of the day, work doesn’t really matter when there’s a crisis at home. It’s priority change that I wanted and that was exactly what I got. 🙂
Not only that, this sickness drew me closer to God. For weeks now, my personal time with the Lord had been bland. It felt like a routine or another checklist item. It wasn’t something I was excited about. It’s like God and I became an old boring couple with nothing but predictability to offer. The Lord used this time for me to earnestly seek Him, pray to Him, and just be in tune with Him.
I’ve been in this route before when I had bad Lupus relapses. I had the best times with God when I was bedridden. One thing’s for sure though, I don’t want trials to get my attention. But sometimes it’s the only way God gets me to listen. It’s my prayer that my relationship with God will be consistently intimate even without sicknesses and hardships. With God’s help, I know He will help me get there. 🙂
On the day of my birthday, Omar gave me a scrapbooking set as his way of encouraging me to go back to doing what I love. All my scrapbook projects have been pending so I haven’t had the chance to tap into my creative side in a long while. Couldn’t be more grateful for a husband who encourages his wife’s hobbies! 🙂
Later that day, we had a small celebration with our homeschool coop. My parents also prepared a special birthday dinner for me. 🙂 They’re the sweetest! My mom cooked all my favorites! 🙂
Another surprise came when we were midway through Timmy’s sickness and it was this website (yes, the one you’re looking at right now)! He reached out to a dear friend of mine, Xel, who’s an awesome web designer (isn’t it obvious? 🙂 ) and asked her to do my site! You can check out her services here. 🙂 I highly recommend her!
I’ve always wanted to have my own domain name and a really beautiful layout. Voila! Wish granted! It’s the coolest surprise ever! Thanks again, hon!!! 🙂
On the road to recovery
My son’s blisters are almost gone by God’s grace. He was able to go to the mall yesterday! 🙂 We may have holed up inside our house for two weeks but those 14 days have really placed a lot of things in perspective. I truly needed a reminder of who—not what—my priorities are.
You see, being a stay-at-home and work-from-home mom doesn’t automatically mean that I have my act together like cooking all the right meals, keeping a squeaky clean home or giving all the attention that my husband and son needs all the time. There are a lot of distractions and there are days when the busyness never stops.
I guess God’s real gift to me for my birthday is REST. Rest from work and other worries I have. My son may have gotten sick and I felt tired physically but my soul was at rest. All I really wanted was to be with my boys that birthday week and it’s what I got and more. 🙂 And you know what? Despite being sick, Timmy was extra hilarious over the past two weeks! I don’t know if it was the virus talking but he sure filled our home with laughter. 🙂
I am once again reminded that God is truly a personal God who meets my every need even if it comes in different packages. 🙂 I never thought I’ll find bliss in those blisters as I rediscovered the joy of just taking care of my boys. Nor did it occur to me that I’ll find real rest in house arrest where my heart is at peace knowing that my God had everything under control. 🙂
Isaiah 40:28- 31 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”