This last week was one of the hardest ones we have faced as a family, and as you know we have been through some real doozies. After last week’s updates Jake continued to slide in a negative direction with his battle with Covid. We reached a point where his needs surpassed my abilities but after speaking with several doctors we were told he would not be admitted to the hospital based on his oxygen saturations being above 90. We were able to start him on Ivermectin and by the middle of the week he finally started to get a bit of relief in his chest and breathing. Every night he went to bed scared and worried, which obviously alarmed me as well. We kept him hooked to the pulse ox and on a baby monitor so I could hear him if he started passing out again.
In addition to his escalating care, the rest of us all became very stagnant in our improvements. Malachi’s fevers came back and you could tell he felt terrible and weak. I was so worried that his liver would start to fail again with the amounts of Tylenol I was having to run through him to keep his high fevers/seizures at bay. He still is very weak with large, dark circles under his eyes but his demeanor and spirit is so much better.
Levi continued to vomit all week and we worried about dehydration so he ate popsicles for a week straight. Vomiting for him is just so dangerous as he is not able to close his airway to protect it. Because of his frequent vomiting he did not rest well at night, waking up many times to vomit.
I developed head to toe hives as a reaction from the monoclonal antibody injections. Literally all over my scalp, down my entire body, and even on the tops of my toes. It was incredibly miserable and the only relief I could get was from Benadryl. But unfortunately Benadryl clouded my thinking and I wasn’t able to care for the kids, so I had to just deal with the discomfort to make sure their needs were met. It grew so bad that my face and mouth started to swell and fevers started. One of our doctor friends let me do a driveway visit and was able to call in a steroid for me which finally brought some relief. The rash is still there but is no longer painful.
The virus took away my smell, my taste, and the majority of my hearing. I was down to two senses and absolutely miserable but had no one to help take over responsibilities. I had so many moments of desperation and the feeling of being completely overwhelmed. Every night I went to bed hoping the next day would be better but somehow each day was worse than the one before.
There were so many physical, mental, and emotional battles to fight. I am going to speak really honestly here even though it is ugly. I felt a seed of bitterness growing deep within me towards Jake that I knew was planted there by the devil. I was frustrated that he wasn’t able to help me with the boys. I was frustrated he didn’t prioritize the vaccine. I was frustrated he was asking so much of me. I kept repeating this verse over and over in my head, although admittedly sometimes it was through grinding teeth…
”Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
This verse was such an encouraging fuel for me in caring for Malachi and Levi. And at times it worked for caring for Jake, but then the devil did his “thing” and started to try to pollute those words and use them for destruction. I kept flashing back to the many moments in my lifetime I have had to sacrifice my health, peace, or energy for others. The innumerable times that someone else’s needs came before my own. I started thinking “when will it be my turn to be on the other end of this verse God???”
But this verse isn’t simply about actions. It is about our heart’s condition. We don’t do these things to “earn”, we do these things because they come from a heart that is like His. Humility of mind is clearly something I am still lacking, and this week made that glaringly obvious.
God calls us to serve- even when it is asking more than what we are capable of. He wants our hearts, not just our actions. And sometimes we will be called to give our everything and trust God to refill.
The devil will try to get you to believe in scorecards and tally marks. He pointed out all the times that others took advantage of my kindness and my sacrifice. He pointed out all the times that people who should have been caring for me didn’t. He brought up past hurts and disappointments. He turned my vision away from God and directed it at myself. And you simply cannot do the work of the God if you are focusing on yourself.
The devil started to convince me that I was invisible. And there was so much sadness in this week for me. I was giving 100% of myself, sacrificing my own healing for others and it still wasn’t enough. Every night I ended up sobbing in the living room, sleep deprived but needing to watch my husband on one baby monitor and my medically fragile children on the other. The desperation I felt this week was unmatched by any other.
As the health and life came back into our family my heart also started to heal and I was able to start taking every thought captive again. Jake and I laughed (in a cringey way) about how much this felt like a Job story. Even down to his boils/my hives. I have never related more to Job sitting silently around a campfire, not even able to formulate words in his sadness and pain.
Job has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible. As a teenager it taught me what a relationship with God looks like. It opened my eyes to the nature of God as our Father, bragging about us to the devil. It helped me understand free will. It helped me understand the strategies of the devil. The lessons God showed me as a young teenager from Job were a staggering part of my faith.
I remember reading Job one evening when I was maybe 16 years old and praying that God would help me build a strong enough faith to catch the eye of the devil. I wanted God to be so proud of my faith that He would elbow the devil and say “Have you seen my servant Leah?”
I can’t tell you what God thinks of my faith- especially after a week of weak moments like the one I just had- but I can tell you that the devil has been after our family recently. He has been after our children, after our health, and after our marriage as our children’s needs trump spousal ones. He has been looking for spots of weakness in the armor to attack and it has highlighted some major areas that need some strengthening.
The night Malachi was born they were racing me down the halls into the operating room and the ceiling tiles whizzed by over my head. I knew I needed to pray, but I couldn’t even think of how to start. The Spirit pressed the words from Job in my heart and I recited them over and over again until the anesthesia took me away: “The Lord give the and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” That night as I processed this prayer rolling off my lips I convinced myself this was God’s way of preparing me for losing Malachi.
But Malachi lived! And that verse became a part of my song of thankfulness to God.
This week as I reflected on Job’s story again in light of our current struggles I decided to read it again. When I got to Job 2 I read a verse that struck my heart in such a good way: “ Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold firm your integrity? Curse God and die!’ But he said to her, ‘You are speaking as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we only accept good from God but not accept adversity?’ Despite all this, Job did not sin with his lips.”
Ugh, conviction. That one struck a deep cord within me and I could feel my face burning from embarrassment.
The verb choice there is so important: accept. It implies that it is a decision you make to open your arms to it. To open your arms to the hard things, the ugly things, the detestable things.
You don’t accept simply because you are a glutton for punishment, but rather you accept because you see that God is a refiner. Just as this week did for me, adversity highlights the idols we hold to over God. Adversity pinpoints our weaknesses and our egos and helps us see the ways we still rely on ourselves instead of Him.
Oh how shallow the roots of our faith will stay if we only accept the good from God and never the adversity.
As we travel back towards normal in our household we ask that you continue our prayers for health. We are all very weak and most tasks are much harder than they used to be. We spent the entire weekend sanitizing, doing laundry, and cleaning every surface in our home, eager to open it back up for Bible studies!
Here are some fun and happy photos to end the post this week. We got to enjoy some serious family time, filled with games and popsicles.
Thank you to everyone who sent sweet messages, prayers, and cards. We were so blessed by meals and kindness this week and I truly couldn’t have done it without your help. Thank you for carrying us when we were too weak to do so.
I have so many other things I really want to share with you all, but I am still needing to prioritize time a bit while we struggle to find our normal again (does that exist haha?). I am sure this blog was a jumbled mess like last week, but God can still work through the messy- I trust if He wanted you to hear something specific this week from this entry then He will make it abundantly clear to you. And if you need a devotion this week that challenges your faith in a beautiful way start reading through Job!