Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Mothers are a peculiar bunch. They love and adore their children one minute, and then scream and holler at them the next. They gush about the joys of motherhood, but have a growing list of woes since giving birth. They give so much sacrificially, but hope for some kind of recognition in return … especially on Mother’s Day.
There was a time in my life, though, when I thought I would not live to see another Mother’s Day. My son, Gabriel, was almost two years old, and my daughter, Tamara, was 5 months. It was like any other day. Towards the evening, I felt feverish, but like most moms, a little fever wasn’t enough to halt all household activities. But as the evening drew to a close, the slight fever turned into nausea. It must be the flu, I thought. But instead of spending the rest of the night in bed, I was hunched over the toilet, vomiting.
The next morning, I thought I would feel better, but I didn’t even have the strength to pick up my daughter. My husband took the day off from work and promptly brought me to the doctor. What I thought would be a quick visit became a day of being wheeled from one hospital department to the next. My last stop was the ICU, where the doctors inserted an IV line in my neck, and shortly after, I was alone in that dimly lit hospital room. Everything happened so quickly. What just happened? This was only the flu. A nurse came in to check on me. I could barely speak, but I mustered up the strength to whisper, “Can I go home now?” The reply was not at all what I expected. “I’m afraid you will be here for a while.”
The doctors discovered that I had a serious staph infection, which entered my blood stream and sent my body into septic shock, a condition in which my blood pressure became dangerously low. My body was pumped with fluids and all sorts of antibiotics. During my hospital stay, I wondered if I would see my family again. My husband brought pictures of my precious babies, but it was not enough to kiss and hug those pictures. I longed to hold them again. My daughter had never been bottle-fed before, but when my husband brought pictures of her holding her own bottle, it was bittersweet. Gabriel’s 2nd birthday was in a week, and I had no idea if I would be home in time to celebrate with him. All my typical complaints about sleep deprivation and endless chores seemed insignificant while I laid down in that cold hospital room.
By God’s mercy and grace, one of the antibiotics worked, and the symptoms of the infection eventually subsided. However, I came home weak and thinner than when I was first admitted to the hospital. Not exactly the weight loss plan I was hoping for. Family and friends generously brought food, a cake, and some gifts, and we were able to have that birthday party for Gabriel that I thought I would not live to see.
That experience seems like such a tiny speck in my life, but as I recall those events from six years ago, it’s as if it just happened yesterday. Life, of course, went back to normal. And this mother, who once thought she would never see her children again, has settled back into her frequent frustrations with parenting. But, God mercifully brings me back to that hospital room time and time again and reminds me of the precious lessons He taught me there. I will always remember …
- That our next breath is not guaranteed to us.
“… you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
- That celebrations, like birthdays and Mother’s Day, are reminders that all our days ought to be spent in continual rejoicing.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)
- And, that my children truly are precious gifts from my Lord.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)
(Photo credit 2: Rachel Cobcroft)