My university daughter is preparing for exams this week. It’s hard to watch. She stays up way too late studying and writing papers. She doesn’t eat well, she gets grumpy, snappy and pushes the limits of exhaustion. Inevitably she will end up physically sick. I was the same way in school. I got so anxious before an exam.
This weekend another one of our daughter’s attended the National Cheer competition. She acted the same way. Anxiety to the max which she exhibits by snapping on those she loves. She felt sick to her stomach, she was always in a panicked rush to make sure she was early for everything not late. Monday morning and she’s now physically sick. She could have picked up a bug but this is a common pattern. So much stress can wreak havoc on our systems.
Last week I was in a class on domestic violence and the trainers spoke about how infants in utero are affected by cortisol levels. A fetus that has constant elevated cortisol levels can be negatively impacted throughout his life with affects such as delayed development, low cognitive development, and increased behavioural problems as a young child. Unreal how stress can be such an overwhelming problem that it can affect a child’s life.
Today is another exam but this one is for my two kids with Cystic Fibrosis. The exam happens every three months to check on their health. Their height and weight are the first things to be checked and after that I can breathe again. Weight gain is so important for kids with CF and guess who that responsibility falls on? Momma! Our little guy hasn’t gained any weight in over 6 months so today I feel just as my daughters did this weekend. Sick. I couldn’t sleep well, I was worried and wondering if I could have done any more to help them to gain weight. My rational brain knows that they are healthy and haven’t been sick or in hospital which is quite a miracle during the winter months. My emotional side still worries. I fear the conversation of potential g-tubes if he doesn’t start to gain weight. G-tubes (a port in their stomach so they can be fed with extra liquid nutrients) are not the end of the world. Our six year old has had one since she was 10 months and most likely won’t be getting rid of it any time soon. But we really hope our son can live easier without one. It’s just one more medical thing for them but less is better.
We haven’t had too many fails or problems at clinic but it still makes me sweat and lose sleep the night before. I avoid putting them on the scale as I stress too much so I just do my best to try and get them to eat lots of high fat, proteins and carbs. It can be so stressful trying to get busy kids to eat. They need so many calories because they use so many just to breathe. So much stress. Our week has been so full of it. It doesn’t make for a very fun atmosphere.
When I think about how exams fluster us, make us sweat and worry, make us try our best, I wonder if there’s a better way. Until they come up with a way to test that is less stressful, I need to remember to cast my cares on the one who knows all the results. I do things like sing, read anything but especially my Bible, and organize stuff. I think that is why God wrote in the Bible ages ago so many verses about leaning on Him, not worrying, and the fact that He’s got us in the palm of His hand. Our marriage text we chose 20 years ago was Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Now, to continue to remember that verse whenever the stress is trying to take over the house or my mind. I think that is why God says in Deuteronomy to write the verses on your doorways and your gates and tie them to your wrists. Maybe I just found what my first tattoo should be? The point is just to work hard to remind yourself not to let stress overcome you. Remind yourself that you are not in the control room of the universe so don’t worry about trying to figure it all out. Don’t worry so much about things that you cannot change or control. Take deep breathes and smile. You never know what cool outcomes God has up His sleeve.
And for those of you who have asked what SDG means at the end of my posts; Wikipedia says that SDG – Soli Deo gloria is a Latin term for Glory to God alone. It has been used by artists like Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, and Christoph Graupner to signify that the work was produced for the sake of praising God.