Part 1 of 3 - Three things I've Learned From My Daughters' Illness and the Prayers That Sustained Me
Having a healthy baby is what all parents desire. I remember telling everyone about the big news the moment we found out we were pregnant. My best friend even asked, "don't you want to wait at least after the third month, you know, just in case?" I immediately answered, "If God gave us a baby, then He is not going to take it away!" I was so sure of this.
Well, we didn't know it at the time, but we were carrying a baby the doctors called "incompatible with life." She was a blessing of a child and taught us more than we ever imagined in her short life (9 months in utero and 45 minutes after birth). God revealed himself amid this journey filled with fears of the unknown. So much so, that He gave us peace and joy in the midst of it. God didn't take my child away, as I initially thought. At the end of her short life, I understood that God allowed my husband and I to give back to Him the very same gift He had given us - our first fruits. In the end, we, as her parents, understood she was in the best hands she could ever be - in the hands of our Creator, Lord God.
God didn't take my child away, as I initially thought. At the end of her short life, I understood that God allowed my husband and I to give back to Him the very same gift He had given us - our first fruits.
After the loss of our first child, we were blessed with another beautiful baby girl - our rainbow baby. She is two months shy of her second birthdate as I write this, and we are about to embark on her third surgery this year, and we have lost count the times we've gone to the ER or have had to put her on antibiotics.
I wish I could tell you that my husband and I have it all together and have passed these tests of life without any bumps on the road. But in reality, life is messy, especially when emotions are involved. We have to hit the reset button several times and asked each other for forgiveness when exhaustion and/or fear runs high.
As I think about our journey with both our daughters, I wanted to share what I have learned being a parent of child warriors fighting the battle for health. This message is specifically for parents who may be going through the exhausting experience of caring for a little one battling illness. I address the needs of parents first because if you do not care for yourself, you will certainly not be able to provide for your child, especially when their illness is chronic (ongoing). Self-care is critical for parents to provide care and support to a child battling illness.
So, in this short 3-part series I'll share three things I've learned in my journey of caring for a sick child and prayers for your hurting heart: 1. How to deal with negative emotions, 2. The importance of trusting God, and 3. It's ok to ask for help.
Most parents I've talked to who are caring for their sick child comment on the hopelessness they feel when their child is ill, and there is a cloud of uncertainty that surrounds their child's diagnosis, possible treatments, and prognosis. Throughout my journey, the times I'm most stricken with anxiety is when I'm focused more on what I see (a sick child, unknown diagnosis, uncertain doctors, the possibility of death) rather than keeping my eyes fixed on God and what He could do about the problem. It's when I look up, away from the problem, that I could see that I'm not alone, and God has undoubtedly not abandoned the situation. God tells us many times in the Bible, "Fear not..." Well, I must confess - God, it's me, and I'm scared!
It's when I look up, away from the problem, that I could see that I'm not alone, and God has undoubtedly not abandoned the situation.
Think about what you do when your child is scared. You go after them, hold them and provide them with the most comforting hug and encouraging words to help them feel safe, secure, and that you could handle the "monster" your child is afraid of. In many ways, our Father in Heaven does the same with us, His children. Don't forget that we are children of our Lord God, and He could provide us with the comfort that will sustain us through the journey.
Father God, thank you for being bigger than my problem, my worries, my child's illness. Help me to continue to seek you amid my fears and worries. Help me walk in faith so that I could help my little one also walk in faith when he/she is fighting his/her battle. Thank you for making him/her a warrior in times of uncertainty. Please bring healing understanding and peace to this situation. Amen!
Disclaimer: The content shared in this page is intended as general advice only, and not to replace clinical counseling, medical treatment, legal counsel, or pastoral guidance.