I'm Weak. Here's Why I'm OK With That.
My son, William, has been sick for the last couple of weeks. Very sick.
We spent three days in the hospital getting breathing treatments for the flu, made it home for a couple of days and then ended up here in the children’s hospital on a ventilator. William started to seize and had to be given meds that would stop the seizures but would also make it impossible for his already weak lungs to work on their own. We helplessly watched doctors give the meds, held our breath as William’s breathing stopped and then watched the machine start to support his little body.
We asked anyone who would listen to please pray for the life of our son and were overwhelmed by the number of people who supported our family.
Will is doing much better already, although it will be a slow process getting him to breathe on his own. Then we will start the task of seeing how much damage this last seizure did and start to come up with a game plan to prevent more in the future.
As William stabilizes and begins to slowly recover, I find myself in a strange position. He sleeps all day; meds keep him sedated. I sit and watch him breathe. Exciting, I know. But with four children aged 6 and under, quiet time is a surprising thing for my mind and body to accept and adjust to. With all this time, I reflect on how much life has changed since Will entered the picture.
I’m also able to lift my eyes from him to his door and view the juxtaposition of our silence and stillness to the flurry of activity coming from the doctors and nurses just outside. I can’t hear them, but I know what a flashing light and a group of people in scrubs running means. And it happens often here in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU).
We’re sitting in a room far away from home surrounded by life and death. Doctors and nurses make fighting death their life’s work. Parents pray unceasingly for their children to live, to be spared from whatever they’re individually going through. But the crazy thing about it all is that we will lose. Not now, maybe not next time or the time after that, but death is the only certainty in all of our lives.
Some day William will die, but I will continue to fight to make sure it doesn’t happen until I’m gone myself.
I hate when people tell me, “God only gives the biggest challenges to the strongest people” because every time we face death, strong is the last thing we are. We’re weak, so weak that we must make the conscious choice to cling to our savior or drown in the overwhelming inevitability facing us. We’re tired, we’re overwhelmed, we’re helpless on our own. We’re not strong.
But we’re brave. And we have a different understanding of what it means to live a life of intense faith. Not faith that things will get better or faith in our own ability to cope, but faith to trust in the one who we believe defeated death, hell and the grave. We’re brave because we stand alongside a God who we believe has conquered death. We’re on the front lines of a battle we will not win but we believe his strength is made perfect in our weakness and he has already won. We have faith that can move mountains.
So, to family and friends who love me and want to encourage me, know I’m not the strongest person you know. I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m worn. But also know that the combination of the amount of faith I have combined with my weakness is a force to be reckoned with, and my God is doing powerful things through what little I have to offer.
To all of the other families with special needs — keep your faith. I see the exhaustion in your eyes as we pass in the hospital corridor, and I hold my breath with you as the alarms go off on the machines keeping your kids alive. It hurts, and it makes us weak. But I also see your faith being lived out and the miracles that happen in your wake. We’re unstoppable warriors in our weakness.
To anyone who faces death often or to anyone facing the loss of a loved one, don’t try to be strong enough. We can’t win on our own. But we don’t have to. The hope we have is real. Life would be so unfair if death was the end of the story. But it’s not. I will fight until my dying breath for William and for all of my kids, and they will still die someday. But on the other side of death, I believe there’s a forever, and I have a feeling I won’t be tired, weak or worn there.
This post originally appeared on Bekah’s Adoption.