It all started on March 10, the day before Alliyah’s 7th birthday. Sickness circulated through our family, including, Alliyah being sick on her birthday, a puke on the way to school, being home-bound for 2 weeks straight, an ER visit, and we are not finished…
We thought the sickness had cycled through everyone until Joshua threw up in the car (a new sickness) two days before we were supposed to leave to visit my brother and family in South Carolina. By the time the day came to leave for our trip, everyone seemed healthy, so we set out. A couple days into our trip, Joshua threw up AGAIN. We were homebound for Easter. The next day, I started battling nausea and stomach pain. This continued for the remainder of our time there.
As we were making our travel plans for home, we decided to drive the whole way home in one day (13 hours), instead of breaking the trip into two days like we typically do. I am SO THANKFUL we did.
We got home just last night. Due to the fact that we had been dealing with sickness for 2 1/2 weeks prior to leaving, we did not have the time or energy to leave our house as thoroughly in tact as we typically do (turning down the heat, cleaning out the fridge, etc.). When we walked in the door last night, we were welcomed by a terrible odor. We quickly learned that the smell was coming from the fridge. At 11:00pm, with a clean fridge, two sleeping kids, and an episode of Parks and Recreation under our belt, we finally fell asleep, exhausted. At 11:30, we awoke to hear, “Daaaaddy…Daaaaaaaddy…I threw up in my bed.”
My body literally started going into shock when I stepped out of bed to help tend to Alliyah. You know that feeling when your body is shaking, like you are cold, only you are not cold? For some reason, when your body is trying to deal with trauma, you shake. I had this feeling after I gave birth. I had that feeling last night, too. I was at my end. I literally, did not think I could handle any more. I was spent emotionally and physically.
A huge part of being so run-down over the last month was due to the fact that I have an ungodly, irrational fear of throwing up. No one likes to throw up, but I literally freak myself out to the point of almost fainting if I think I might have to do the deed. I had been fighting my fear for a week with constant nausea, on the coattails of tending to sickness for several weeks prior. (No, I’m not pregnant) So when I pulled my nauseous self out of bed to tend to my little one who had just thrown up, my body responded as if I had been traumatized – because I had been, at least mentally.
Fighting a mental battle is ridiculously tough. Sometimes I think I would much rather fight a physical battle, because then I would at least be able to assess whether or not I was about to win the fight or not. When you are fighting mentally, you do not know when the next blow is going to come or where it will come from. This is why being well-armed, mentally, is so important.
This last month, I have been keenly aware of a greater battle ensuing. Sickness is not from God. The Bible tells us that there is activity (a battle) happening in a realm we can not see. There is no reason to be scared of this reality because the One who lives in the follower of Jesus (the Holy Spirit) is greater than the one (Satan) who lives in the world (1 John 4:4). However, BECAUSE of this reality, action is required.
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
We can easily see the effects of the battle (sickness (i.e. infertility), disunity, anger, abuse, addiction, etc.), but we do not always see the battle as it is playing out. However, due to the fact that we are constantly in the thick of it, we need to be prepared. We need to be armed or we will be an easy target for the enemy.
So how do we get armed? (Ephesians 6:10-20)
Honestly, it used to really bug me (and if I’m honest, it might still bug me a little) when people would say, “Make sure you put on your armor.” I was (am) bothered because I did not fully understand how to do that. I thought that putting on my “armor” meant that I had to wake up every morning and pray Ephesians 6, and if I didn’t, my day would be awful. I thought it meant I had to go through each item: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, my gospel of peace shoes, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, and almost imagine myself putting them on.
I really do not think it matters so much HOW you go about “arming” yourself as long as you are arming yourself for the correct side of the battle (putting on the King’s armor). What matters most is that you face each day ready and alert (1 Peter 5:8). It is easy to get distracted with life and forget the reality that we have an enemy constantly trying to take us out. Some people do a lot of talking about Satan. A lot of blame, though accurately placed, is thrown out, and as a result, we hear more about what Satan is doing than we hear about what God is doing.
So this is how I am committed to being armed each day:
- Begin the day on purpose, remembering the battle AND remembering my God who has already assured my victory. (helmet of salvation and shield of faith)
- Recognized that my power and strength are rooted in Jesus and what he accomplished on the cross. (breastplate of righteousness and gospel of peace shoes)
- Make time to read God’s Word – it is the words of truth, and my offensive weapon against the evil one. (Sword of the Spirit and belt of truth)
The power to overcome anything life throws our way is found in the name of Jesus: his love, his example, his strength, his power, and his authority.
Sometimes it’s darn tough, but even though we are pressed, we are not crushed. We may be perplexed (why is this sickness lasting this long?), but not in despair (choosing to trust God’s goodness) (2 Cor. 4:8-9).
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, since what is seen is TEMPORARY, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, emphasis added).
This sickness may have lasted for a month, but it IS temporary, dang it! What is your mental battle? Do not lose heart. Arm yourself with good fitting armor, the King’s armor.