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.
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
One of the issues with having a chronically ill child is dealing with discouragement, theirs and ours. As parents, it is our responsibility and privilege to continuously encourage our children no matter how exhausted we are. We are not allowed to speak negatively as that helps no one. Certainly, we all have bad days, but we must focus on who God is, how God is, His promises and on “whatsoever is good” as instructed in Philippians 4:8. For me personally, I definitely have discouraging days; those where Sophia has had a few really good days and then, bam, she can’t get out of bed because of some infection that hit her from nowhere. With confidence, I know that, if you are a parent or guardian of a chronically ill child, you get discouraged. It is our reasonable responsibility to God, ourselves and our child to locate in our lives whatsoever is good, true, honorable, etc. Believe me, it’s present, we must simply try with a bit more effort than others to find it. We must get our eyes off our circumstances and place them where they belong – on Christ and His Kingdom and what God has to say about the matter.
If your child is still breathing, it’s a good day. If they can get out of bed, it’s a good day. If they can actually attend school, spend some time with a friend or someone with whom they can share some laughter, it’s a good day. We must each find our place in Christ where we are so confident He is sovereign, kind, loving and attending to our needs according to His riches in glory that we do not allow ourselves to be swallowed by the spirit of depression, anxiety, or some form of disillusionment. As for me, I can honestly say, it takes a lot, a whole lot, to discourage me. This is only because I keep my focus on Christ, His Kingdom promises, as well as recalling all I’ve ever experienced with Him in times past. I remind myself of things He has spoken to me, directly or indirectly. I recite the Word in my inner man so that all the negativity of the current day does not overwhelm me. I deal with today today because tomorrow has enough troubles of its own. I choose this because it is healthy (spiritually and physically), I choose it because it is good, I choose it because it is right, and I choose it because I must be an example of faith to my kid as well as onlookers.
Over the years, I have had a few people play the blame, guilt, shame and condemnation game, to which I refuse to participate. It’s from those uber-spiritual folks who are certain they could do better than I and that her illness is all my fault; they love to stir discouragement. I have heard, “You must not be praying right”, “you must have hidden sin”, “you must be speaking the wrong things”, “you must be entertaining demons”, “you must be a hypocrite since you’re a minster and believe in supernatural healing yet your kid is still sick” and much more of the like. These are those who believe that, if healing doesn’t come when or how they believe it should, it must be the parents’ fault.
Those words, if I allowed, would discourage and crush me to my core. But, because I am grounded firmly in my identity in Christ knowing I’ve done everything spiritually of which I am biblically aware, those words wash over me like water off a duck’s back. Believe me, I have questioned myself every which way – all these things crossed my mind at some point.
Parents, if you know who you are in Christ, if you know who Christ is in you, if you walk in accordance to His Word, and have surrendered yourself and your situation to Him, know that God will take everything Satan means against you for evil and turn it, one day, for your good, the good of your child, and the good of the Kingdom of God. Do not allow discouragement to overtake you because it benefits no one. Encourage yourself in God’s Word and His promises. In this, you won’t have to force positivity when around your child; it’ll flow freely from a genuine heart of love, faith and hope.
Philippians 4:8: Finally, brethren (parents), whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
My name is Alexys V. Wolf. I am first and foremost a wife and mother of two beautiful teenage daughters, as well as a minister, author and artist. I founded The Fiery Sword Ministries in 2007 and have multiple published books dealing with a garden variety of spiritual issues. The purpose of this blog and group, Encouragement for Parents with Chronically Ill Children, is to aid fellow parents in their journey with sick children.
By way of introduction, my eldest daughter, Sophia, started getting sick at six months old with double ear infections, yet they were nothing spectacular; nothing that would send red flags of future chronic illness. She was otherwise a well child until the age of five when she developed chronic stomach aches and UTI’s. We dealt with those nearly a year. When the gastroenterologist performed at endoscopy, he said he found no acid reflux but she had severe unexplained constipation. Unfortunately, the acid reflux went undiagnosed many years because she would only experience it with antibiotics.
By the age of 8, around 3rd grade, the stomach aches worsened and her pediatrician said, “It’s psychosomatic.” Knowing my daughter, watching her day in and day out, I was positive the doctor was incorrect in her sloppy assessment. By 9, I began taking her to our G.P. who was much more responsive to Sophia’s needs. Her neck had been growing oddly several years yet, when I would inquire, multiple doctors blew it off as “that’s just how she’s growing. Nothing to worry about.” Lo and behold, by the age of 10, our G.P. said, “Don’t freak out, Alexys, but Sophia has a goiter.” I rejoiced!! I knew something was remiss and she was the first person to acknowledge it. As one would expect, the ultrasound revealed Hoshimoto’s thyroiditis.
That sent us on a crazy ride for which we are still sojourning. We went to several specialists locally, but we found better care out of town at MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina), a 2-3 hour drive depending on traffic. It so happens that they discovered additional autoimmune issues, hormonal issues, as well as stomach problems.
I have refrained from speaking publically because there are certain aspects one simply doesn’t want to share with the world. Of course, I do share some within the confines of my various books, but that isn’t a public forum like social media. Not everyone will read my books, but anyone anywhere can run across my blog. Notwithstanding, I knew it was time to speak so as to help those whom I am able with daily living with a sick child. It is definitely no picnic. Along with the physical sickness, a parent has to eventually deal with the mental, emotional and spiritual toll it takes on someone who should, by all accounts, be running, jumping and playing with their friends without a care in the world. They should be fretting over silly things such as completing homework, who likes who at school, discovering interest in the opposite sex, attending school and church and their respective functions; what clothes to wear to this or that social event.
But, to our chagrin, they concern themselves with getting in their daily meds and whether or not they’ll be able to feel well enough to get out of bed on any given day. As the parent, it’s so frustrating watching teen groups at church prepare to minister overseas or in another state and not one person in that group knows my kid’s name. The sick are most definitely the forgotten. As a parent, it is heartbreaking. Not only is your child sick, but you are blatantly aware of all they’re missing. The common joys of life elude them.
In the following months, I will be addressing many issues which waylay, not only the children, but the parents and how I deal with them on a spiritual, physical, mental and emotional level. My directive is not to have a support group, per se, but rather a group of people with common interests and goals so as to encourage and enlighten one another. Granted, my child is not dying of cancer or anything of the sort as she comes in and out of wellness; although, as of late, there’s more illness than wellness. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but we can certainly rally together with the intention of being comforted as well as grow in faith, strength and encouragement.
As a minister, I am an avid believer of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ as well as the power of supernatural healing; I have both witnessed it and experienced it for myself. In fact, Sophia, like my previous 7 pregnancies, was dead in my womb until, one day, two men of God were sent our way. They prayed powerfully in way I was yet to learn. In that prayer, God later revealed that, in fact, Sophia was dead but He sent these men to speak life into Sophia’s otherwise dead little body. That being said, I also know there are times where we don’t see what we think we ought to given the power of Christ within us. It’s in those times when an explanation fails us that we need to come together seeking the Word and will of the Father who is faithful.
As for our household, we have covered every known area spiritually and physically. We have laid on hands with elders, anointed with oil, bound away evil spirits, released Holy Spirit upon her and our home, broken generational curses and applied the blood of Jesus, repented, praised and so on. We’ve changed our diet, gone to specialists and taken the proper steps. In all this, we wait upon the Lord, trust in His sovereignty, and take things one day at a time. We place our trust in the Living Hope of Jesus.
Psalm 27:11-14: Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a level path because of my foes. Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence. 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.
In Peter’s day, when he was supernaturally released from prison and went to Mary’s house, the people were more certain of it being an angel at the door instead of Peter! That is the kind of faith every believer should have in the supernatural that God set up from the beginning. Imagine assuming an angel is at your door! The spirit realm is far more real than the earthly; it’s been around a lot longer.
The offering to God of dying to self is an act of choice and faith that leads one into His perfect will. It allows you to communicate freely with the Lord, to hear His voice, and to know the difference between His voice, your own thinking, and the enemy’s voice. When you are married, if someone else’s spouse calls out in a crowded room, “Hey, husband/wife,” would you turn and look unless it was the voice of your spouse?
Intimacy through your spirit with the Spirit brings the supernatural ability to distinguish the different voices. It’s the same with a friend. If a stranger calls out, “Hey (your name),” and that is your name but you don’t recognize the voice, are you going to pay attention to it like you would if the voice were familiar? You may even look out of curiosity, but you’ll quickly dismiss unfamiliar people.
There are two types of life and death: literal and spiritual. Likewise, there is the natural birth from our mother, and the spiritual birth through Christ. Most choose to try to save this life by, in the world’s eyes, living it to the fullest. They only end physically dead and condemned to hell. By making the conscious decision to let the nature of the flesh die (spiritually) while the body still remains alive on earth (natural), God is honored and we receive life.
Romans 8:5-8: For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Here is a question to test if you are led of flesh or of the spirit: What do you personally think about the most? Anything that people think about more than God is of the flesh. Like I said before, it is not that God does not want us to have anything; He just says that He must be first and foremost. God is to be honored at all times and in all things. The things you do acquire here on Earth need to honor Him. Watchman Nee says in his book, Love Not the World, that we must be willing at any moment to part with anything we possess. There should be no attachment to the things of this world lest we be lured into Satan’s trap.
This series of blogs is from the 2nd edition of my first book, What Was God Thinking? Why Adam Had To Die, released September 2014. If you’re interested in more information or reading any of my books, just go to my website at www.thefierysword.com. Next time we’ll continue with part III of, Life or Death.
Peace and blessings!
Alexys V. Wolf