This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Laura: Hello and welcome to another episode of Risen Motherhood. We are so glad you are tuning in today. I have my lovely sister-in-law, Emily Jensen, here, and Emily has a really special announcement today.
Emily: Much like Laura shared a few weeks back, I am also pregnant and expecting our fifth baby in August.
Laura: It’s going to be so fun because Emily and I are, how many weeks apart, are we like six?
Emily: Four, five, six, I don’t know. [laughter]
Laura: Neither of us could even probably count where we are today and how many weeks along, but we are going to be very pregnant this summer.
Emily: There’s going to be two Risen Motherhood babies this summer, which is really exciting.
Laura: And that ties into our show a little bit. Today, we are talking about sickness. We both are experiencing lots of morning sickness but that’s not the exact kind of sickness we’re talking about. We are going to be talking a little bit about the colds, the flus. What else?
Emily: All the winter sickies.
Laura: The runny noses, the bugs, the snots, coughs.
Emily: Which I feel like in a season of young children, can feel like it’s going on nearly all the time in the winter. In fact, funny that we should record this show this morning because I was up with a sick baby last night for about an hour and a half—the cough, the runny nose, the whole, “Just come to our bed. We’ll try it out for a little while,” everything. Our family is actually coming off of a couple of weeks of passing it around to every person and I’ve had it. I’m pretty sure we got it because a couple of weeks ago, we were at a Legoland. I looked down and I saw an empty bottle of cold and flu medicine on the ground. I was like, “Well, hope everybody is having fun because we’re trading two hours of Legoland for two weeks of sickness.”
Laura: This will be the last time we’re having fun for a couple of weeks.
Emily: Actually, I feel like it’s gotten a lot better. Overall, I remember when everybody was three and under. I think there was a couple of winters there where they were literally sick the entire winter.
Laura: I feel like my son, especially with his first year of life, we were in the ER six times. It was insane because of course, kids love to get sick in the middle of the night with the high, high fevers or on the weekends and things like that. Probably as a new mom, I was like, “Doctor, right away.” I feel like kids go every other year for some reason. Maybe that’s not true but mine do. We have a bad year, we have a good year, we have a bad year, and then a good year.
Emily: The other thing that I feel moms always get worried about in the winter is transferring the illness to people, and all of the things surrounding that. Like I mentioned, our kids were sick and I think it was last week or whenever that they first came down with it. I dropped them off at grandma’s house and I had to take my youngest son to an appointment. They barely had runny noses so I was like, “Whatever, kids have runny noses all the time in the winter. That in itself is nothing. They were acting normal. I come back later in the day to pick them up. They’d been with their cousins all day and literally two of them look like they’ve got severe pink eye. Grandma is going, “I think one of them has a fever,” and I’m like, “Urgh.” I feel horrible because they’ve been playing with their cousins all day long. Anyways, we’ve all been in that situation where you’re out somewhere and you think your kid is fine and then they throw up.
Laura: I thought it was always so funny in our church nursery. A bout of sickness would go around, and so all the moms would be talking about it. Somebody came down with hand-foot-mouth or RSV or something. It would be like a murder mystery to figure out which mom brought their kid who was sick. Where did this originate? We need to find patient zero. It was so funny because that’s something, and we’ll get into this later, but often times, you’re not going to find the exact source. Even though we always want someone to blame, it seems like we want to figure out, “Who did this?” it’s like, okay, everybody gets sick. As you and I can attest with however many kids we have between us, kids just get sick and often times, you don’t know that you are the cause and maybe your child was patient zero and you feel horrendous about it. [laughter]
Emily: Today we mostly want to talk about this common frustration we have maybe in the winter or feelings of frustration we have maybe in the winter or feelings of exhaustion surrounding the constant sickness and colds and flus of little kids. We wanted to caveat real quick. When I had my newborn twins and they just left the NICU, the doctors, as we were heading out were like, “Do not pass these babies around to anyone. You need to live a hermit lifestyle because if they get a cold or flu or fever, they are back here in the hospital immediately.”
We know that there are some more extreme cases out there where children, during this season, may be at a higher risk if they were to get a cold and flu. We know that those situations sometimes have different considerations. Today, we are talking about your general, “I’m so tired of having to take them to the doctor but they’re generally going to recover okay,” and more is our heart surrounding those common winter illnesses.
Laura: That’s a good caveat Em. We’re going to look into where do we find sickness in scripture, what is some of the biblical basis surrounding that. Obviously, sickness occurs due to the fall. It entered as soon as Eve took that bite. We started getting sickness, death, all of that physical suffering that we all experience, that’s when it entered. There are tons of examples of this in the Old Testament.
Emily: I think there’s everything from God judges Egypt with the plagues, and sends sickness that way. We see Job experiences all kinds of different bouts of illness. God, when he sets up Israel, gives all kinds of laws about how they are to deal with illness, both for their own health and because there’s issues of cleanliness and uncleanliness. Then we see it in the New Testament too. Look at Paul or any of the apostles, they’re like the first missionaries. They talk about how they encountered illness and physical suffering due to things that are going on with their bodies, like ailments, while they were spreading the gspel, and so this is certainly not anything that is new to the modern mommy. [laughter]
Laura: God doesn’t promise us, a life that is free from sickness ever. If you look at his own son and his followers, as Emily was starting to say, they experienced so much physical suffering from both persecution and from sickness. If you think about living back then, they didn’t have all the modern medicines that we did, and so they probably experienced things to a much more extreme degree than we ever did. Emily and I get it. We do not like it when our kids are sick any more than any other mom does. It’s okay to hate the results of the fall, mourn those frustrating and painful aspects, but I am a firm believer that sickness sanctifies us. [laughter] I know Emily would agree but there is so much hope in sickness and grace that we can find.
Emily: There’s not much worse than feeling like you’re experiencing or your children are experiencing some type of suffering and you feel like, “What is this for? Is this for nothing? I can do this if there’s a purpose in this but if the purpose is everybody is hurting and miserable, that’s not cool.” What’s wonderful is that when we are in Christ, we know that nothing is meaningless. God doesn’t waste anything. He has a plan and a purpose for our lives, and he is working everything for our good and so we can trust him that even when everything feels miserable, even if we don’t know the specifics of what is going on, that it’s not for nothing. It is to work out holiness in our lives and honestly, a lot of times it’s a good reminder to me because I don’t realize how much I take for granted when our children are feeling really well. I take for granted the amazing way that God made the human body, and the amazing modern medicines that he’s brought out. Because if I were a mom, 100, 200 years ago or living in other parts of the world, it may be quite a bit more serious when my child got just a “common illness” that we would experience here in the United States.
Laura: We can find so many different graces when our children are sick. As Emily was saying, being amazed at the bodies that God created with our immune system to fight off most of these sicknesses, especially when we’re talking about, as we were saying, the common cold or the flu. It’s amazing how our bodies rest and take time to heal. Our children’s bodies are built to heal and that is a grace, because God does not need to allow that to happen. I think we can all attest to understanding how much more thankful we are for our health, for able bodies once we’ve gotten done with the sickness. We are so thankful to have a nose that does not run anymore, that that is not our permanent life. I think too, we can look at the image that it shows us. As God heals our outward bodies, as modern medicine, he uses those types of things to heal our outward bodies, we can be thankful that Christ heals our inward souls as well with his death and his resurrection on the cross. We can see that parallel and that’s where I think sickness can be a reminder of our flawed, feeble, weak bodies that are now healed in Christ and someday will be totally made new, and that someday we won’t experience these effects of the fall ever again.
Emily: Thankfully, you won’t have to take your kid to the doctor in heaven. [laughter] We are going to transition now into probably all of the stuff that you are really wondering about when it comes to sickness, and motherhood, and kids and how the gospel plays into that. Things like, “How do I respond if go into Chick-Fil-A and I see a mom has brought her super sick kids there to the play area?” or if like Laura was saying, you see a kiddo show up to the nursery and you’re like, “Why did they bring them here?” We wanted to talk through some of those principles of things like we get those momma bear feelings. How can we be gracious? How can we have our minds and our hearts centered on Christ and be ready to trust God? The first thing was loving our neighbor as ourselves. I think that that’s a really practical thing we can do when our kiddos are sick. I know, over the years, my husband and I have a little bit different judgment calls on this but I always ask myself, “How would I feel if someone brought their kids out in the same state that my kids are in?” I try to think, “How can I treat another mom or another family with the same courtesy I would want to be treated?” instead of, “They’re probably not feeling well but I don’t want to lay aside my stuff so we’re just going to go.”
Laura: We can take Philippians 2:3 of counting others as more significant than yourself, as Emily was saying, of looking at other people’s children and then also your own children, considering the needs of your own children. They need rest and fluids. They need time probably to snuggle with mom. Often times, we can begin to want to do our own things. We don’t want to lay down our plans and our schedule, but that is a great chance to serve your children by saying, “No, we’re going to stay home. We’re going to have a tougher day probably on mom, of being here but allowing your body time to heal.”
Emily: That is so challenging to do in practice sometimes but so good. Another one we wanted to talk through was that practically, you can extend the same grace to moms as you would want to be extended. I know we mentioned earlier in the show, some of those examples of times when we’ve brought our kids places and we really didn’t think they were that sick or we really didn’t know they were going to get sick and it happens. It feels awful and so sometimes, we want that grace. We don’t want moms to get really upset with us or judge us or all of that. I think we need to remember that. When another mom may bring her kid somewhere, you don’t know why she chose to do that. You don’t know all the factors that went into her morning. You don’t know all the things that are going on and so try to believe the best of her intentions. I think sometimes too, it may not have been fair that she made that decision or exposed your children to illness, but there are a lot of unfair things in the gospel. [laughs] God has been very gracious and merciful towards us when we don’t deserve it and so it’s one of those remembering to extend that same forgiveness and grace. Maybe if a kid throws up somewhere and mom is absolutely mortified, definitely shuttle your kids away first, but after that, what would it look like to extend, “Can I help you? This is awful. It feels so bad when your kids get sick,” and just extend that courtesy.
Laura: Reality is you’ve made somebody else’s kid sick. Even if you don’t think you have, remember that illnesses start getting contagious 24 hours beforehand and so every time that I feel like I would get maybe frustrated at a situation, I have to remind myself, I have been her and like Emily was saying, I would want that same grace extended to me. You are not perfect in your own actions and so keeping that in mind. I think too, along with that, is just trusting God with your kids. We obviously should take appropriate precautions and do the whole vitamins and washing hands and making sure that we try to keep our kids safe but we don’t want them to live in a bubble. Honestly, it’s just not trusting God when we are too paranoid about germs that are around. Em, didn’t you find some study about sick kids?
Emily: Yes, I couldn’t believe it. I found it on Wikipedia or something, so take it for what it’s worth, but the average young kiddo gets between six and ten colds a year. A kiddo who may be exposed to a lot of other little children a lot, maybe in a daycare setting can get up to 12 on average, which is crazy to me if that’s the average because that means there’s some poor kiddo out there getting like 16 colds a year.
Laura: There you have it. Especially because colds come mostly in the winter, that’s your entire winter. If you feel like your kid is sick all winter, well, they’re just on average so you can feel great about that. [laughter]
Emily: I know Laura and I have both battled that in the past of feeling like, “Am I doing something really wrong as a mom because my kids are getting colds?” Again, I want to emphasize that in all things in life, we should do the wise precautionary things and do the things we need to do to keep our kids healthy but I think that we sometimes underestimate, and now that some time has passed and I looked back, just how normal it is. Sometimes illness is a reminder of how much we are not in control as moms and that can be really hard to grasp.
Laura: That ties into our last point of what we want to make. We need to always check our heart in sickness. We’ve been talking a little bit about that throughout the show, but basically, as Emily was saying there, let’s check our heart and see is there something that you’re idolizing during that time your child was sick? Maybe it’s your schedule, something that you wanted to do that day, your own personal comfort and desire to have an ‘easier’ day with your kids. Reality is sickness is inconvenient with whatever you’re going to be doing. Maybe you’re a working mom and you have to stay home and you feel like, “I cannot take another day.” There are a lot of things that we can begin to idolize. Some are valid reasons like missing work. I can see that definitely being a difficult thing but we need to check our hearts and see, “Am I going to be more tired? This is going to cost me money to take my kid to the ER or take my kid to the doctor. I’m not going to be able to clean my house or keep it as perfect as I really like to keep it or I am going to feel like I don’t have it all together.” Even that idea of you don’t want somebody else thinking that you got their kid sick or you don’t take good care of your kids. If your kid’s sick all the time, maybe you feel a little bit of shame like Emily was saying of, “Hey, what did I do wrong? Is that my fault?” I think there’s a way to be lovingly concerned as a parent and to be genuine in feeling, “I don’t like to see my child hurt. I don’t like to see them not feeling well,” but at the same time, we always need to check our own motives with the anger or frustration that I think we can often experience that comes with sickness.
Emily: Examining my own heart here, and I think Laura would agree, that a lot of times when I get really frustrated about all these winter illnesses, it’s a little bit about not wanting to see my kids uncomfortable, but it’s more about me and me not wanting to be uncomfortable, so always good things to think about. Ultimately, we know that in all things, God calls us to rejoice and he calls us to give thanks in circumstances. That’s really difficult when we think about circumstances that are less comfortable or less fun but this is still true. Even when your kiddo has a really bad cold, even when they have the flu, those are still times when God calls us to trust him and to give thanks and to believe that again, He is doing a good work in your heart, and in your life, and in that child’s life, and he is doing things that we cannot see. That’s the hard commission for the end.
Laura: If you were hoping for some practical nitty-gritties of how to treat cold and flu, I’ve written a little bit about it so we’ll have a little bit in our show notes. One thing you definitely want to check out are these DIY homemade lollipops. They’re honey lollipops, excuse me, so they’re simply made from pure honey and they’re awesome. You’ve got to try them out. They’re super easy and my kids love them. They eat them even when they’re not sick. That link will be in the show notes because I’m a big fan of making them. So we’ll have some practical stuff, but of course, we will have lots of stuff in there around the heart issues around sickness. Head to the show notes, that’s risenmotherhood.com. Of course, there’s social media links, @RisenMotherhood for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, we’d love it if you found us over there. If you have time, please leave us a review on iTunes. We would so appreciate it to get the word out to all the other moms about gospel-centered motherhood. We hope you guys have a great day.