Friday, August 21, 2015

It Doesn't Take a Village: It Takes a Church

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
(Galatians 6:2)

Needing to stay in the hospital for days or even a week at a time while my baby girl is growing up is one of the the hardest things God asks me to do, I don't care how necessary it is. And I don't want to hear any, "You have to take care of yourself first..." no matter how well-meaning and true it might be because I'm a wife and a mom and you all know full-well that means I ought to take care of my family first. I feel like a big selfish blob of worthlessness lying in bed by myself while my body forces me to take time away from the one and only job I have left in the world. 

But nevermind what I'm feeling. When the inevitable happens, I need help raising my kid for a few days. My Mom (better known as "Nana") drives down to spend a few days and babysit when she can, and Josie's Godparents (Aunt Shannon and Uncle Paul) help out, too, when they're able and so does my husband, of course, but family can't always be there to watch Josie. Everybody has to work. So one day, God finally forced me to rely on the help of a friend who was happy to welcome one more into her brood. And my definition of "family" changed for the better, and so did Josie's.

If we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, then my daughter is your niece, so to speak. Intellectually, I knew that, and I knew that my friends knew that. I felt that way about their children even before I had my own, but I didn't actually see it put into practice until I desperately needed it. So, don't be afraid to ask for help, and don't be afraid to offer it if you have it to give. What you might be missing during that week away from your family doesn't compare to what your child is gaining in learning that they are part of a much bigger family, one that doesn't rely on last names and childhood memories and their own flesh and blood and marriage, but rather on the flesh and blood of Christ.

Babysitters are a big deal. Trusting that someone who loves you will be there for you even when Mom isn't there is a fundamental part of being a member of the Church, even for the littlest members. It's both a perk and an obligation because sometimes we're the one who is there, and sometimes we're the one who isn't. That's true of everybody except for Christ because nobody apart from Him is perfect. Here are some thank-you cards I've made for those who have made Josie a part of their family. (But how can I ever really say thank you for something as important as that?)

Suggested reading for this situation:
Psalm 73: I Have Made the Lord God My Refuge
2 Corinthians 12:1-10: God's Power Is Made Perfect in Weakness
Matthew 5:1-16: The Beatitudes
Suggested prayer:
Dear Father in Heaven, I'd much rather be at home taking care of my family than here. All things are in Your hands and all things work to the good. Help me to see the good in this, help me to heal in my heart and in my body and grant me peace of mind. Watch over my baby while she is loved by others in my absence and help me always to be grateful that Christ has made up for my shortcomings, and that my brothers and sisters in Christ are doing the same, as I hope to do for them. In Jesus' name I pray.
+ Amen +