What a week under par has taught me

This has been a very strange week for me. It all started with my daughter coming down with a very violent sickness bug that has been going round her school. She was up a lot one night being sick, spent the next day very listless but then bounced back. Then my husband and I both went down with it the same night – all night. The next day we were laid out completely, having to call on friends to do our two different school runs. But then he bounced back…and I didn’t. It’s taken me all week to be able to eat a full meal – and I’m still not eating plenty of items as the thought of them makes me feel super sick. I still feel slightly nauseous constantly.

I’ve had to force myself to eat to ensure I’m well enough to look after my kids – and earlier in the week we had the struggle of both kids playing up because our routine was disrupted due to our sickness. Just when we asked them if they could be extra helpful and good they did precisely the opposite – and we both felt too ill to deal with it. To be honest, I’ve been pretty short-fused with them all week. It’s just plain hard work to get on and do all the normal things a parent has to while I feel like this.

But I can also see that this week has done me a lot of good. Just slowing down so I only do the bare necessities has actually made me realise what a lot of rushing about I do – and made me wonder whether I need to do absolutely all of it. I’ve been really challenged recently about the fact that I feel I have my finger in so many pies, how many of them am I actually doing to the best of my ability? And what room is there in my life for those people that really need me to down tools and help them at a moment’s notice?

It has also given me a renewed admiration for people who cope with illness long-term. That is a subject on my heart at the moment, and I’m hoping to write about it soon. How do people who suffer with something day in day out keep their head above water, keep believing and trusting in God’s promises? People like my mum, who struggles with some horrible illnesses and has been suffering from terrible nausea for months and months that no expert seems to be able to get to the bottom of despite countless tests. I was talking on the phone to her after she had been away for a few days with my dad. I was saying how I’d been feeling and what a struggle it had been, and then she told me how she had had to come face to face with her limitations yet again while away. How hard that must be when you are on holiday, as you can’t ever take a holiday from your sickness…

This week has also made me grateful at times. When I first started feeling well enough to eat again I was grateful; when I first felt able to drive again too. When I felt well enough to tidy up a bit I was glad – as the state of the house was getting me down. And the sense of achievement of getting the bits of work done I needed to this week was much more intense than usual – because I’d had to battle through more than normal too. While I did struggle with resentment at times about some of the things I had to carry on and do even though I didn’t feel up to them, it has actually been really nice to hide away and spend most evenings at home on my own or with my husband just doing very little. I think we all need regular periods of time like that – perhaps my next one was so long overdue that God allowed this sickness to really knock me out so that I actually did slow down for a change!

I wonder whether your week has been ‘the same as usual’ or if you can look back and see something you’ve learned afresh. Do you regularly take the time to take stock and think about what your days have been filled with, and what God may have been trying to teach you through your everyday circumstances? I think I look for such things more regularly now that I am writing, but it is certainly a beneficial habit for us all to cultivate…