Caring for a chronically ill child is marital stress. Ladies and gentlemen, this is no joke for the strongest of marriages! Trying to find alone-time to spend with one another is like searching for a needle in a haystack. If found, attempting to have the energy to enjoy one another’s company without falling asleep tout de suite is virtually impossible! People, such as in our situation, who are caring for a sick child nearly 24/7/365 scarcely have a moment alone for themselves, much less for their spouse. It is sad, but all too true. It could easily crumble the most virile of marriages. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way:
- Purpose to steal a moment here and there with a touch, a wink, a conversation, a text; find whatever is intimate between you and your spouse. These little nuances are where your marriage will be sustained until you have actual quality time to spend with one another.
- Always say “I love you” regardless of how exhausting our day has been. Never neglect one another even if you’re bone tired. The little things matter.
- Stay attractive even when you want to slob out every moment of every day. Seriously, this is a thing! For me, I put on make-up, do my hair and put on clothes (not a bathrobe!) regularly (though I miss a day here and there), even when I know I won’t be leaving the house that day. It is important that I maintain who I am even though it feels like I’m completely swallowed in care-giving.
- Find something to watch you both can enjoy in between the stopping to attend your kid’s needs. Togetherness, even sporadically, is more important than you may think.
- Remind yourself you are not a “team” as that would depict two separate entities. You are, rather, “one” as Christ has brought you together as such. Do not function separately together, but together as in “there is no divide” – you are a united front.
- Share the responsibility even if one has a larger role than the other. Don’t be afraid to allow your spouse to help – this is vital to your sanity as well as your marriage.
It is of the utmost importance to remind yourself you are in this together and you must face life’s challenges together united as one. Otherwise, it is all too easy to internally go your separate ways without even realizing. The busyness of life is hard enough but, with a chronically ill child in the mix, the busyness can become an insurmountable barrier like the Great Wall of China. Find the time to say “I love you” and, better yet, to show “I love you.” Don’t allow anything to come between you and your spouse. Pray, laugh, cry, aid you child, as one. Above all, put on hope, faith and love in Christ as a united front; this is where you will find your peace and encouragement.
Ecclesiastes 4:9: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
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.
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
Yes and Amen!
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (II Corinthians 1:20, NKJV).”
“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:17-18, NAS).”
Though we are pressed on every side, though we experience sorrows and disappointments of various kinds, we will not be distressed because we know we are one with a God who will not be mocked. God’s wisdom as stated in James 3 allows us to remain at peace in the innermost part of our being. I heard such peace likened unto a deep well. The various storms such as hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, and blizzards will cause ripples, even waves, at the top of the well’s water, but in it’s deepest part, its core, it knows nothing of the storm.
The heart of the well is the same as our peace that passes all understanding. Though the storms of life cause topical tossing and turning, turbulence and wounds, our spirit, our inner man, remains undisturbed. Knowing the nature of our amazing God and walking in His wisdom allows such untouchable peace.
From the beginning, God strategically planned every move He made from materializing the physical from the spiritual, creating Lucifer knowing he would defect, creating Adam and Eve knowing they would fall prey to temptation, all the way to your present situation and beyond. He knows who will die young, who will faithfully remain in the Vine, who will fall away like an exposed seed in the hot sun, and who will flourish in the Earth expanding the Kingdom of God through faith and obedience.
God’s strategy is for you to know His plans through knowing His heart for (the opposite of against) you. You may not always know specifically what He’s doing, but you can trust that, whatever it is, no matter how difficult the situation, He is for you, always and forever. Operating in God’s wisdom will always conquer fiery black hole experiences no matter the external damage they may inflict. Stand in the promises in the evil day and, having done all, stand (Ephesians 6:13). This is core (Spirit to spirit) instruction. God’s heavenly wisdom is a crucial element in the armor of God. His promises are YES and AMEN!
Navigating the Fiery Black Holes of Life, chp 2, part 3
to be released fall of 2016
Alexys V. Wolf, author
“…exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-6 (NAS)
“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12, NAS).”
Definition of Exult: to rejoice greatly; be jubilant or triumphant
Definition of Black hole: a region of space having a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape
There is no one exempt from having what I loving call black hole experiences. Black holes of life can be in conjunction with money, family, friends, enemies, death, illness, addictions; international, national, state, county, city and neighborhood governmental issues and countless others. All too often these black hole experiences cause one to miss God, deny God, turn away from God, or on the contrary, cause someone to dive right into the very heart of God. The latter, which is God’s intention, are people who have sought and experienced the hand of God in the worst of the worst times of life. Because the world’s system is under Satan’s corrupt management, these black holes come in different forms in different stages throughout life.
The only genuine resolve anyone can have during these times is surrendering to the Creator of Heaven and Earth. In such surrender, God is readily able and willing to turn what Satan meant for evil into good. The only requirement for God to turn evil to good is to love Him. Of course, to truly love Him, you will believe, submit, repent, be baptized in the Spirit and obey the Spirit of God. Simple enough, eh? Yet, in this simply stated command of God to love Him, we miss it time and time and time again; hence, many are decimated or nearly so under the weight of earthly conundrums.
God instructs His bride to “exult in tribulation” as stated in Romans but this does not mean that we are to conjure tribulations for the sake of tribulations, extend trials to appear humble or godly, revel in them as though we are godlier because of them, milk them for sympathy or attention, or reject times of solitude and calm. The way to rejoice greatly in suffering is to trust with absolute faith that, as we walk in accordance to the will of God, the Lord will be honored and glorified when He shows Himself mightier than the situation. With His glory manifesting, you will also benefit; it’s a guarantee. Yeshua (restorer) promises to turn everything Satan means against you for evil into good if you love Him.
The “love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” section that is reiterated throughout the whole of the Bible is not optional; such love for God causes obedience through love instead of law. In order for His promises to be perpetually active in your life, you must purpose to love Him; this is not the same as living according to staunch law as your motivation to do what is right. Both Romans and James above notate this fact: reciprocating God’s love is key. The entirety of the Word of God and this book center around love: God first loving us and, in return, through reciprocated love toward God, we are to surrender ourselves as dead so as to receive His life of eternal love. In such submission, Jesus becomes our life and He will always be obedient to the Father and at peace just as He was in the boat during the terrible storm.
We are to rejoice in trials (not enjoy) by fully trusting God and, in that unwavering faith, God will be glorified and your trial will turn into something far greater than what you knew prior. Trials are to build endurance, perseverance and hope in the King and His kingdom, yet most just want God to get us out ASAP never considering the Kingdom ramifications of getting out too quickly as the lesson is not yet or not fully learned. The Lord will allow some “thorns in your side” to remain throughout your lifetime and others but for a brief period. Either way, all trials are supposed to be teaching tools so as to lead you into deeper levels of humility and refine you so that Holy Spirit becomes your only resource versus any self-reliance. I know people on both ends of the proverbial spectrum:
- Those in Christ who think that all life is to be filled with tragedy and trials because they think it makes them “closer to God.”
- Those who reject all suffering; they won’t even speak the Scriptures pertaining to suffering because everything should be “fixed” the moment they bind it away in the name of Jesus.
From everything I’ve read in the Word, seen and experienced, neither is correct. There must be balance in everything as there is a season for everything. Seek God’s heart, wisdom, revelation, and understanding of how to properly apply His Word and you’ll find balance. Most assuredly, it takes the entirety of this brief life to come into perfect balance.
As for the former, it leaves one missing the blessing of true peace because, in the calm, they’re panicked that they must be in sin since no trial is present, therefore they seek one. True peace is not about circumstances, but trusting God no matter the circumstances.
With the latter, it leaves one missing deeper levels of humility because trials do indeed humble a person. When these folks have one, they always look only for the “why me” or “what have I done wrong?” They tend to drive themselves to madness when things don’t “fix” promptly. It perpetuates either pride in assuming, “it must be Satan attacking me because I’m in the right,” or condemnation because, “I must be doing something wrong.”
Both groups lead people to fall away from the Lord or to stay constantly frustrated since no one wants perpetual trials and no one in this fallen world can live up to never having a trial. Rejoice, ladies and gentlemen of God, rejoice in the Lord, our Sovereign! In your black hole experiences, it is definitely prudent to seek God’s face to reveal the “why” of it. If you are in sin, stop, repent, and go and sin no more. If it’s demonic, take authority over the demon(s) in the name of Jesus. If it’s a thorn in your side that God will not remove, come to terms with it, allow God to utilize it for the good of the Kingdom of Heaven, and be at peace instead of angry at God. He always has a better plan. No matter the root of your testing, until God reveals it, rest and trust Him knowing that the grace of God is upon the obedient and those who love Him. God is faithful always.
Chapter 1, Navigating the Black Holes of Life
Alexys V. Wolf
I have you in my heart…how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus…I pray that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment…TO WRITE THE SAME THINGS AGAIN IS NO TROUBLE TO ME…(Philippians 1:7, 8, 9; 2:20, 26; 3:1; 4:1, 17, NAS)
May I plainly state that this is difficult – the whole “do not speak against one another”? However, when I really begin to understand how God operates in love at all times, you and I will be better equipped spiritually to administer the Word of God without a judgmental or impatient spirit. We must all begin seeing ourselves for just how lowly and forgiven we are personally. It is when we have an opinion of ourselves that is higher than it ought to be that we begin to judge others and grow weary and impatient. I heard a saying while ministering in prison: I’m no one’s judge since I haven’t a heaven or hell to place them. What a simple and brilliant thing to say and understand!
Jesus and His true followers who have gone on before us delivering the message of the Kingdom of God were simply called to walk in and reveal love and truth to the people. Their job was not to force people to get it. Some will receive and some will not. Our concern should not be the outcome, but rather we conduct ourselves in obedience in love. This way, our level of joy will not so easily fluctuate. Our joy will be grounded completely in the Instructor instead the instruction or the instructed and their reception or rejection of it.
What I mean is that, often times, when a person is obedient in speaking a word from the Lord with joy and zeal and a person receives, we rejoice as if we ourselves have accomplished something. Our zeal is through the roof! On the other hand, when a person is obedient to speak a word from God and a person rejects the word, the level of joy plummets to sub-zero. We seem to take it personally as though they have rejected us, when in fact they have rejected God. Our level of joy should not be moved either way. Happiness is emotional and it comes and goes due to circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, is based on faith in who God is and not what goes on around us. The outcome of how people respond for or against us not our concern – it is God’s alone.
Jesus and those who imitated Him walked in pure, joyous love, which kept them balanced; although this does not mean they were necessarily “happy” in every circumstance. Paul said he repeated the word as many times as necessary so that the people would be safeguarded; his concern was for the people and their walk with Yahweh. When we get angry when others don’t receive the word of God we’ve delivered, it is pride in us that brings the irritation. It is us having the poor attitude that they should do as we say, and if they don’t, they aren’t as good as we.
Maintain humility, and our only goal will be to deliver the Word whether people receive or not. We are to keep our eye on being obedient to glorifying Christ. True love does not puff itself. True love is always humble and courteous.
“Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins” (Lamentations 3:39, NAS).
“Do all things without grumbling and complaining” (Philippians 2:14, NAS).
Love, peace, blessings, and Merry Christmas!
Alexys V. Wolf
I have you in my heart…how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus…I pray that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment…who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare…longing for you all…TO WRITE THE SAME THINGS AGAIN IS NO TROUBLE TO ME…my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown…not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. (Philippians 1:7, 8, 9; 2:20, 26; 3:1; 4:1, 17, NAS)
Paul’s objective was always that God be glorified, and that the people were able to grow in Christ. When the people sent him a gift, he was glad simply because it would go to their spiritual account, not for his own selfish gain. He patiently delivered the Word of God repeating himself as necessary. Because Paul’s focus was that of the Kingdom of God, he was supernaturally equipped to be selflessness, hence maintaining joy as well as persuading others to rejoice in all things. It was this very joy that strengthened him in his endeavors. The whole book of Philippians reveals Paul’s continuous joy.
Paul did not allow adversity of life and ministry or the shortcomings of others to rob him of his joy. He understood the very nature and heart of God. As he was forgiven much, he was able to see through the eye of forgiveness and extend it perpetually toward others. God not only spared Paul’s life after he had tormented and killed God’s people, but God went further and anointed Paul to speak for Him! This confounded both the godly and the ungodly revealing that God not only forgives all, but that anyone can receive such forgiveness as well as become anything God desires of them without limitation! Simply astounding is the heart of God –how could any of us not rejoice always? Likewise, how could anyone forgiven so much ever turn and complain against someone else in their frailties and failures?
“Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor” (James 2:11-12, NAS).
May I plainly state that this is difficult – the whole “do not speak against one another”? I know for me that I can do really well with that until a person or group of people seriously push me repeatedly. However, when I remind myself of how God operates in love at all times, I am better equipped spiritually to administer the Word of God without a judgmental, critical, irritated or impatient spirit. We must all begin seeing ourselves for just how lowly and forgiven we are personally. It is when we have an opinion of ourselves that is higher than it ought to be that we begin to judge others and grow weary and impatient.
“Why should any living mortal, or any man, offer complaint in view of his sins” (Lamentations 3:39, NAS).
“Do all things without grumbling and complaining” (Philippians 2:14, NAS).
Hope you’ll stay tuned for the continuation of this topic of joy and gladness!
Love, peace, and blessings!
Alexys V. Wolf