One of many issues with having a chronically ill child is dealing with the emotional and psychological toll. As a parent, when your child is sick for an extended period of time, for many people, there’s no escape because you are with them 24/7. You’re administering medications, taking them to the next doctor’s appointment or simply holding and comforting him or her hours at a time. To say it is “draining” and “overwhelming” is a gross understatement.
I can only speak from my perspective as I have not journeyed with any other parent and their sick child. I’m certain it is different in each situation but, at the root, we’re all exhausted which makes us the same. Since I don’t have a mountain cabin, a beach house or even a separate office at my disposal to which I can get away and I don’t have the means to hire a nursing staff to care for Sophia, I have to go in my room, shut the door and simply sit in quietude, just me and God. There I am able to regain my sanity once more as I talk to mine and Sophia’s Creator.
Being a caregiver of anyone is difficult in its own right, but caring for your baby of any age is quite another thing. Life can become so overwhelming you don’t know which way to turn. Graham Cooke said this and they are life-changing words by which I choose to live: “We are not here to be overwhelmed by life, by circumstances, by the wickedness of people, or by what the enemy is trying to accomplish. We are here to be overwhelmed by who God is for us.”
As I continue on this path with my God-created daughter, daily I remind myself that God is in love with her and with me. In this remembrance, I rest is who God is in every situation. I am at peace knowing Christ carried this specific burden at the Cross of Calvary. His Kingdom has equipped me with everything I need in each and every moment. When I begin to feel overwhelmed by the circumstances before us, I breath; I commune with the sovereign, holy God, and I choose rest instead of allowing chaos to ensue.
The tactic of Satan is to get us to panic because, when we do, we lose sight of God and His purpose. I am sustained even when I do not know what to do in a given moment. God is faithful, He is just, He is loving and He has a plan; I have walked with Him long enough to experience this fact. According to Romans 8:28, all things (good, bad, uncomfortable, painful, etc.) work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. I bank on this promise every single day. He will not let us down despite how bleak things can appear. I rest in His greatness.
Psalm 27:13-14: I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.
One of many issues with having a chronically ill child is dealing with quilt, shame and condemnation as though it’s all your fault. I am not one prone to any of the aforementioned because I have learned through the Word of God that none of those, or any of their counterparts, are of the Kingdom of God. They are, in fact, of the kingdom of darkness and I refuse participation. Nevertheless, there are moments during this arduous journey with Sophia when I have encountered people who ridiculed me. They cited numerous reasons why Sophia being ill was all my fault, be it for physical or spiritual reasons.
From a physical aspect, I’ve heard I didn’t feed her enough fruits and vegetables; I let her eat too much junk and/or processed foods. On the spiritual front (as previously mentioned in other blogs), I must be entertaining demons, have hidden sin, or I’m simply not walking according to faith. I am the first to call myself to accountability and to check myself with God as well as how I feed my family. I have definitely been faulty in the food arena as it is, by far, my worst weakness. I barely eat, Sophia barely eats and, because of this, we generally choose poorly when we do. We’re working to resolve these issues. As for the spiritual, I stand before Almighty God daily with the heart, “Show me every wicked way in me that I may confess, repent and be made whole.”
Because of this, I do not allow other people to project onto me their condemnation. In this, I do not take on the weight of guilt or shame. In like fashion, I do not allow guilt, shame or condemnation to come from my own psyche. We humans tend to beat ourselves to a pulp blaming ourselves for other people’s ailments, namely our offspring. I’ve had moments, definitely, where I felt guilty in that, because I’ve had autoimmune issues since I was 20, it’s my fault she’s like this. Then there’s the, “If I had done something differently or better when I was pregnant, she would be healthier.”
We must understand that, regardless of what we could have done better or differently in the past, it is the past – there’s no going back. Condemning ourselves from what others say or what we have internalized as our fault is a waste of time and energy that would be better spent finding the best resolution of the situation. Kids are sick for many reasons. For us personally, it so happens we had several molds in our home and it was literally killing Sophia and, for that matter, me. I was severely ill several years having dominant lupus symptoms. The mold techs rid 1/3 of our home from mold Fall 2015. Unfortunately, my office (now Sophia’s bedroom) still contained heavy mold to which she is severely allergic. When I moved out of that room in 2015, I gradually recovered. She moved in and became seriously worse. Just last month, we had mold removed once more. Already we’re seeing improvement in Sophia’s overall health.
Moral of the story: Get to the root of the problem and take appropriate action. If it’s spiritual, deal with it before God and get your spiritual life in order. Yeshua is not a God of guilt, shame or condemnation, but of renewal, transformation, forgiveness and regeneration. If it’s physical, make the proper renovations to your home, your lifestyle, diet, or wherever necessary. Whatever you do, do not allow guilt, shame or condemnation to play a part of your process. It is of Satan. It will destroy you faster than the actual health problems.
Take a breath. Seek God. Stay encouraged. Have faith in God’s plan and purpose. Love your child. Take each day one at a time. Be proactive. Speak healing not the illness. Pray for God to open your eyes to that which you do not see, your ears to hear that which has been silent, and open your mind to understand the inconceivable. He will respond. He is faithful.
Changing How You Feel:
In a nutshell, you cannot feel differently until you see differently. How you see God will determine how you view situations and people. How you evaluate circumstances and the people surrounding you will directly determine how you feel, good or bad. How you feel will determine how you act and react. This is how a new perspective will change your course.
For example, after my first divorce, I hated my ex-husband and I was angry with everyone around me who didn’t warn me against marrying him. Later, once I really began to see God for who He is and how I didn’t listen when He sent a million warnings, my perception of the situation changed. When my vantage point was altered, I was compelled to hold myself to accountability; my finger-pointing turned inward. My feelings of hatred and bitterness, sorrow and hopelessness transitioned into something else altogether. Love, compassion, forgiveness, and so on, replaced the negative.
We all have feelings and, nine times out of ten, they’re a lie and extremely unhealthy! My 13 year old daughter said to me the other day, “I’ve always felt this way” as if that justified her skewed and unpleasant behavior. I explained to her that her emotions about the situation were not of love, but of selfishness. I didn’t condemn her; rather, I shared with her another way of looking at her negative situation so as to help her grow out of her natural feelings and into a heavenly mindset. I had to lend her a broader view so that she would have the tools to see differently which led her to feel differently which led to responding better.
Too often, people spend countless days, weeks and years tirelessly attempting with futility to change the way they feel citing, “I know I shouldn’t feel this way, I just do.” I don’t know about you, but the harder I’d try to change my feelings, the more solidified I would become in them! Far too long I did not understand that, until I could perceive a matter with different eyes, my feelings would remain unaltered.
One who identifies with the King of kings cannot continue in hatred or anything of the natural, old Adamic nature. Hatred (and things of the like) rules when one cannot properly see Christ, His love, His compassion, mercy and grace. It’s easy to be embittered against an oppressor until you begin to look beyond the surface and see into their life; to recognize what caused them to be a certain way. More importantly, when we begin to identify with the power of the cross of Christ and the Kingdom He came preaching and teaching, it is impossible to remain in the feelings of standard human emotion.
When All My Strength Has Failed
Chapter 3, part II
Alexys V. Wolf
II Corinthians 10:4-7: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. Do you look at things according to the outward appearance?
A major issue with having a chronically ill child is dealing with depression, theirs and ours. For the child, depression is very common and to be expected. After all, they lack the maturity to process their emotions; therefore, in their continuous illness, it can easily become overwhelming to the point of depression. Our role is to keep our children uplifted, both in prayer and in spirit. We must readily encourage them, not with falsehoods but with the hope of Christ and His promises to His righteous seed.
We cannot buckle underneath the pressure of the illness or the possible consequences of said illness. We must not allow fear, anxiety and/or intimidation to set in; anyone with a sick child can relate to what I’m saying. Properly handling your child’s depression will heavily rely on how you deal with it in yourself. First, we must understand that, when we are depressed, it means we have lost sight of our hope in Christ. That applies to me as much as anyone. When I begin to feel it knocking at my door, I must first recognize it for what it is: an enemy of God. Depression is a manifestation of one taking their eyes off God and placing them on themselves, their ability or inability, the situation, helplessness, or what have you.
Secondly, if you, the parent, do not properly assess and confront your depression, there is no way you can aid your child in their depression. Thirdly, one must turn to the Scriptures if you plan to eradicate depression with efficacy. The Word specifically instructs God’s people to “pull down (away from self) imaginations, strongholds, and every high thing that exalts itself above the name of Jesus.” In other words, we must take hold of any and every thought not of God in our minds, hearts and spirits so as to allow the hope of Christ to reign. Because Yahweh, before the foundation of the world, understood the weaknesses of mankind and our feeble faith and mindset, He scribed instructions as to how to proceed when such faithless, self-centered thoughts entered our minds.
Depression, in a nutshell, stems from godlessness; godless thought patterns, godless strongholds, godless imaginations and/or godless occurrences sent from Satan to lure us into darkness. This does not mean the person is not redeemed from hell, but rather their mind has been altered due to circumstances that have caused trauma and disillusionment. In this, it is our responsibility and our right as heirs to the Kingdom of God to take captive anything not of God, bring it into the obedience of Christ, willing to punish all disobedience until our obedience is complete. It is our duty to keep our minds sharp, clean and clear of the debris of life. When we do, we will be fully equipped to, not only encourage ourselves in Christ pulling ourselves out of depression, but our children and family as well. Keep your mind, spirit and heart stayed on Christ, not on the circumstance, trauma, sadness, depression, lack of finances, or anything other than God, His Kingdom, His greatness and His everlasting love for you and your child.
I Peter 5:6-11: Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Facebook Group: Encouraging Parents with Chronically Ill Children
Chapter Three: Gaining a New Perspective, part I
“The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous (Psalm 146:8, NAS).”
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18, NAS).”
Definition of Perspective: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
Definition of Surrender: cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority. Synonyms: forsake, deny, stand down, resign, disclaim, relinquish, forgo, cede, abandon, concede, yield, submit, relent, renounce, abdicate, transfer
Graham Cooke said, “Obstacles are a part of life. There is often no way to avoid them. However, there is a way to change our perspective so they can be used to our advantage.” Everything we do hinges on our perspective of what’s happening to us, for us, against us and around us. It is common knowledge that, with every action, there is a reaction. How we respond to things around us is always based on what we perceive is happening, be it good or bad.
For example, when my first husband left me with a note on the coffee table, I perceived it as the worst thing that could possibly happen to me. I was raised that Christians do not divorce, no matter what. Even though he had cheated, lied, mocked, neglected, shunned, and altogether broke our covenant vows in every conceivable way, I deemed his departure as a negative. I cried, and cried and cried and cried some more. I begged him to come home and be the man he was supposed to be. I willingly forgave him and was willing to put it all behind us.
When he did not comply, I began tail-spinning into a dark, sad, lonely, angry, desperate place for the better part of seven years, to which I refer as my “seven years of rebellion”. I slept with men not my husband, cussed like a sailor, I spoke harsh words to a long-time friend, and couldn’t stop pretending I was fine. Because I couldn’t see the grace of God causing him to leave, I couldn’t properly respond. My eyes were blinded and I blamed everyone except the culprit: me.
Yes, he did horrible, despicable things but, had I initially sought the face of God, I wouldn’t have married him. Looking back, the signs were evident. I simply refused to acknowledge them. If I could have perceived God’s voice prior to marriage, the marriage would not have happened; hence I would not have experienced undue pain and suffering. It is only when we seek God’s vision in each situation of life that we are able to see as He sees so as to respond according to the Spirit instead of according to the flesh.
Once I returned to and resigned my whole life to Christ in 2000, I began a new, fresh journey with Christ as I had never known or experienced. I began to see that, even though I had made a huge mess of my life due to poor decisions, God’s promise to “turn all things for good for those who love Him” was for me personally. Instead of trying in my own strength to “pick up the pieces,” I was fully able to leave all the pieces behind me and allow Christ to make a whole new me. The old pieces were not required and certainly me having to “pick up” anything of the old was not necessary.
Understanding this, my decisions, little by little, began to morph into something new, something altogether other-worldly. My discernment sharpened and continues to do so today. Every time I need to make a decision and I don’t readily know what to do, I rest in Christ and wait. I allow Him to show me what to do when the time comes.
In the worst circumstances, in the weakest places of life, before you do anything, ask God to grant you His vision, His perspective, and His will so as to go forward in His strength. A changed perspective will change the course of your life because it will change how you respond to everything. When you surrender your fleshly, natural, limited vision to the Holy One, you’ll be amazed at how darkness will be turned to light!
When All My Strength Has Failed
Alexys V. Wolf
Hebrews 11:1, 6: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval…without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
Some of my all-time favorite Scriptures are found within the confines of Hebrews 11. When I first returned to the Lord nearly 18 years ago, I poured over these so as to learn how God views faith, what faith is at its core. All these years later, I am having my faith tested around every bend, one thing after another, after another. There are moments when it feels as though the roof above me is caving and the floor beneath me is sinking. But, I thank God I don’t function in feelings but in faith. Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, feelings are not in sync with the Kingdom of Heaven.
Michael’s job has had threats of termination for at least a year, but that didn’t bother me, not once. Wednesday, he was terminated; that didn’t move me to fear. We found stachybotris black mold in our home two years ago and had to find money, even after insurance, so as to make the necessary alterations to a 1/3 of our home. No fear. Now we discover we still have mold in our home causing Sophia’s illnesses and insurance will not pay. No fear. Numerous issues have transpired over the last 6 or so years and I have been unwavering in my faith in our Mighty God. But, as I live and breathe, nothing has tested my faith more than having our child’s life in peril. I would venture to say that, for any parent worth their salt, whether there is imminent danger such as cancer or heart disease, or chronic illness that never seems to end, faith is always on the line in an inexplicable form.
I would go strongly, unshakable in my faith long stretches without a wince of fear but, in a moment of absolute frustration and sorrow watching my child suffer day in and day out, believe me, I had flickers of doubt. They never lasted long as I would quickly realign my mind, heart and spirit with Holy Spirit, but they would appear nonetheless. I love II Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless, He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” Spectacular! My God is always faithful. When I look at my beautiful teenage daughter, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness. She’s alive, whether sick or well. There’s hope. We are here on Planet Earth another day, there’s hope. God is alive and stronger than any danger we may face, there’s Hope.
Fortunately, my hope is not on man’s version of limited hope which is utterly fickle and fluctuates according to how I feel in any given moment. No, my hope is living; it is alive through Jesus the Christ. My faith is not in medicine, doctors, nurses, or anything made by hands of man. Though God may well move for a time through the aforementioned, God is the only healer and comforter. In Him I always rejoice! My faith is anchored in Christ alone, the One who created Sophia. Through it all, both mine and Michael’s faith have soared to places I didn’t know existed until we began this journey with a chronically ill child. Do not lose faith. God is faithful. He has never forsaken us and He has not forsaken you.
I Peter 1:3-9: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.