I have to admit when I look at my baby girl’s skin I am tempted to lose hope.
The cuts, the scarring, the scaly patches and redness that encompasses her skin makes my soul weep. I have done everything in my power to fix the eczema and to help calm the itch that sets her on fire from the inside out.
I have read everything I can get my hands on searching for answers. Everyone has an opinion on what is causing it or how to fix it. Some say she will outgrow it in no time, but that does not stop her suffering today.
Today her skin is really bad, worse than I have seen her look in over a year. As I give her a bath all of the research floods through my mind. I start to wonder if bathing her everyday is the right thing.
There are two schools of thought on eczema.
Some say to dry the skin out, others say moisturize.
My daughter is still too young she cannot state her preference.
My thoughts are interrupted as her sparkling brown eyes latch onto mine.
“My foot looks really good.” she tells me as I swish the water around in her bath; hoping that my decision to bathe daily and lock the moisture into her skin is the right one.
“Yes honey it does. You’re doing a good job of letting it heal.” I struggle not to shed a tear.
She is referring to a sore she has had on her foot for over a year. This is not just any sore, but a wound in such a delicate place on her foot it has kept her from running and playing as I see other children doing without giving it a second thought. She’s had to wear special shoes and socks, endure daily wet wrap treatments and have her foot covered in coban tape for the last six months to prevent her from ripping the sore open when her allergies flare and the itch becomes unbearable.
I stop looking at the wound for a moment and see the girl. The girl that the eczema is affecting. Sandy curls bounce around her sparkling eyes. When she looks back at me there are tears I can no longer control.
“What’s wrong Mama?”
Conviction takes hold of my heart and I realize all of the research, the doctor appointments, the several times a day skin treatments and letting the world sit on the back burner so I can watch her like a hawk to stop her from scratching has been all about me until now. I look down at this little girl who is learning how to cope with her world.
How am I showing her to rely on Christ for her strength and teach her to have hope for tomorrow?
I have been frustrated, broken, tired and even without hope. I need to stop looking at the skin and start looking at the girl. Her suffering is affecting me, but it is happening to her and it is my job to teach her to be a survivor and a fighter.
As a parent we all have situations where our children are suffering. It could be from food allergies, eczema, fears, the flu or bullies. Sometimes those seasons are long and it can really take its toll on the entire family, but these are not the moments to crumble and fall. These are the moments to stand strong.
It is okay to cry. It is okay to be frustrated, but I encourage you in your moment of weakness to pick yourself up and fight.
I gather my strength from the Lord. Learning His character, seeing His faithfulness gives me hope for tomorrow.
Something rises up within me as I take my daughter out of the tub and hold her tight. I allow the tears to fall as I look deeply into her eyes. “I’m so sorry your body is hurting. It must be hard to be so itchy, but I want you to know you are gonna get better. You are strong. You are an overcomer! You are a warrior and anything that comes against you in life we can fight it together because we have God on our side. He is our hope. He will give you joy for your sadness and He will strengthen you and give your heart peace. Everything is going to be okay.”
I realize I am also talking to myself. For over a year I have been drowning in my circumstances. In truth, it takes awhile to figure out how to live and survive when we experience a major life change, but at some point we have to make the decision to live or die, to fight or be defeated.
John 10:10 states, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I (Christ) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
She is only three and may not understand everything I am telling her, but I know these truths are like a seed that will grow and flourish in her heart and be there when her battle comes. My prayer is that those words would return to her mind and give her the strength to fight no matter what trials she might face.