I Am Not Enough . . . But God Is!
by Jenni Godby
I’ve always found it interesting, having a doctor for a husband, that people sometimes ask me for medical advice. Do they know I never went to medical school, and I have no idea what you should do about that rash? (Umm, go to the doctor?) In most situations, their guess is as good as mine, so if I give out medical advice, please don’t take it too seriously!
During this COVID-19 pandemic, not only has my husband’s world changed, but our whole family’s routine has truly changed as well.
Oh the Challenges!
My husband and I have two children, a daughter (age nine), and a son (age eleven). Both are entering week eight of eLearning, and I am ready to wave the white flag! We have just one week left of Digital Breakouts, Flipgrid assignments, and all things Google, and I have never been more excited to see summer break coming. My son is on the autism spectrum, is minimally verbal, and struggles with sensory issues that make it difficult for him to regulate and control his body. To say this sudden change of routine has been hard for him is an understatement!
Meltdowns and sensory dysregulation are frequent occurrences. Some days it’s a challenge just to get him to sit in the chair to start a session. My heart breaks for what he must be dealing with inside, and my mind races with thoughts of how to help him and how to stay calm as he rages. Throw in an occasional technical difficulty or assignment question from my nine-year-old, and this mama is completely frazzled. By lunchtime I am completely spent emotionally, questioning my own adequacy in raising my son.
Choosing Fear or Faith
Meanwhile my husband heads into the hospital every day and faces potential exposure to COVID-19, and I think, What will we do if he gets sick? We’ve made a routine for him to sanitize when he comes home every day—shoes are removed in the garage, hands washed immediately, then straight to a change of clothes. We’ve also made a plan for him to quarantine himself in the basement should he become infected. Furthermore, he has adjusted most of his outpatient visits to TeleMed video calls on his laptop. He is still required to go to the hospital daily, though, as he is a medical director of a unit in the hospital. He must wear a mask and have his temperature taken every time he enters the hospital. Is this enough? Will this keep us safe? My worry for him and for our family can overwhelm me at times.
In the midst of these uncertain times, God is revealing some things to me about myself. The first thing he’s revealed is my need for control. Control in this life is an illusion anyway, so why do we strive so hard for it? Proverbs 19:21 tells us, “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail” (NLT). So I don’t need to fear my lack of control, instead I can trust my good God with his purposes, and that they will prevail!
Secondly, God is revealing my desire for safety. A desire for safety in itself isn’t bad, right? After all, don’t we pray for it all the time? Yet doesn’t it also reveal a lack of trust on my part? I fear my husband will get sick. I fear it could be deadly and he could infect the rest of us. God’s Word says in Romans 8:35, 37, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? . . . No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (NLT). Is there any safer place to be than resting in God’s love?
Finally, God is revealing my worry that I am not enough. I fear my autistic son won’t be able to keep up with school, and it will be all my fault. Why can’t I help him regulate his body the way his special education teacher and OT can at school? I am his mother! I fear they understand him and know how to help him more than I do. The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:6, 7, “For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves” (NLT).
Strength in Weakness
So I am not enough, but the good news is—God is! Doesn’t this require me to lean into him even more? Yes! I gain my strength from him. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (NLT). So I press on in my fragile clay jar so that the glory of God can shine through me as his power is revealed in my life. And I realize this is such a gift. His goodness to me never ceases, and is especially great during my times of inadequacy. This seems so contrary to how our human minds work. Strength in weakness? Oh, how we don’t understand his ways!
I would like to encourage you, no matter where you are during this pandemic, no matter what fears you are facing, or however you are coping, with the rest of 2 Corinthians chapter 4 (verses 8-10, and 16-18):
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. . . . That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (NLT).
Jenni Godby is a wife to Nick, and a mother of two kids. She is a facilitator of Mom’s Group at Christ’s Church, loves rooting for the underdog, taking naps, and drinking hot tea “The British Way.”