Three weeks ago at his endocrine appointment, I had to sit and watch as two nurses spent an agonizing 7 minutes trying to insert a blood-draw needle into Turbo's vein. It was awful. They took turns twisting, pinching, poking, and prodding, and all I could do was wait until they finally were able to obtain the needed blood samples.
It wasn't that they were bad at their jobs; sometimes, pediatric veins just don't cooperate right away. I understand that. Even so, it was almost unbearable for me to watch. I can't even imagine what it would have been like to be him.
Watching your child go through a hallway of his own brings pain unparalleled by anything else (well, watching your spouse hurt is pretty gut-wrenching, too). You want nothing more than to ease his pain, to take his pain yourself, to do anything to help. And often, there's nothing that we as mothers can physically do.
What to do when your mama heart hurts
Even when we can't intervene physically when our children are going through a hardship, there's a lot spiritually that we can do.
Pray for and with your child
We can always pray, no matter what the situation. When your child is sick or hurting, pray for him. Pray with him. And ask other believers to join you in prayer.
When Turbo was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, we desperately needed prayer. I'm not the biggest fan of social media, but I do know it can be used for good. Even though I dislike making big announcements on Facebook without telling close family and friends something in person first, I knew I just needed people to start praying. So, I left a status update, briefly explaining his diagnosis, and asked for prayer.
Within seconds, people started flooding my page with support, Scripture references, and notes letting me know that they were praying. I felt a weight lifted.
Encourage your child with Scripture
Once Turbo was home from the hospital, I shared with him Psalm 39:14 - "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well."
I wanted Turbo to know that God makes no mistakes. He still made Turbo just as He wanted even though Turbo's pancreas no longer functions the way God originally designed it to.
Scripture is an excellent source of encouragement for believers. Even if your child is young, reading God's Word to him can be incredibly uplifting. Our little ones need to find hope in God, too. Scripture isn't just for adults.
Use the opportunity to share the Gospel
Can you use your child's hardship as an opportunity to either share the Gospel with him or remind him of the glories of Heaven? Not all trials will naturally lend themselves to this kind of discussion, but many of them will. Why not take the opportunity?
One of my little ones hasn't handled my grandpa's death very well. Honestly, I still struggle with missing him, too. It's opened up room for conversations about salvation, Heaven, and what the Bible teaches us about life after death. Losing a loved one is always difficult, but it can bring about good things, too, if we look for them.
Remember that God gives grace to your child, just as He gives grace to you
One of the awful side effects of diabetes is frequent nausea. I have an extreme phobia of all upset-stomach-related issues, so when I see my kiddo suffering from what is absolutely deplorable to me, it's really, really hard for me to watch him suffer through it.
Scripture isn't for adults only, and thankfully, neither is God's grace. Just as God gives me grace to endure through difficulties, He gives the same needed grace to my little ones. Turbo handles almost all of his medical issues like a champ. That's the Lord's grace at work, and God can do the same for your child, too.
Be thankful that mercies are new every morning
I'm beyond grateful that the Lord gives us new mercy each and every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). When we've had a bad day due to illness or hardship, it's such an encouragement to think that God is giving us new mercy. I've had to cling to that promise over and over again, and He has always come through with just what I've needed for the day.
We can remind our children that His mercy is new every morning, too. Together, we can have hope that the Lord will give us renewed hope, encouragement, and energy to face whatever the coming day will bring. We are never without the Lord's care and protection.
Watching one our children hurt is one of the hardest things we have to face as parents. When your mama heart hurts for your son or daughter, you may not be able to offer physical comfort. But you can pray for your child, encourage him with Scripture, share the Gospel, cling to God's grace, and thank the Lord for His daily mercies.
Your turn: What do you do when your mama heart hurts?