Parenting a Child with Chronic Illness: Walking Step by Step with Jesus

Parenting a Child with Chronic Illness

A Blessing in Disguise!

Parenting a child with chronic illness requires more strength, resolve, perseverance and courage than we likely ever dreamed possible, yet it also blesses us with the gifts of compassion, perspective, presence, and profound love as we are daily drawn closer to Christ.

More than 1 in 5 people care for a loved one.
More than 1 in 5 people care for a loved one.

About Parenting

Parents want to protect their children and keep them safe. It can be challenging to learn that your child has chronic illness and/or mental illness. Often parents feel guilty, weary, anxious, depressed, lonely, and sad.

Almost 42% of children live with at least one chronic illness.

Worldwide 50%  of all mental illness begins by age 14 and most are undetected and untreated.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 KJV)

Prayer for Parents

Prayer Pond • Your Safe Harbor for Prayer.

Chronic illness is hard. Often finding and/or being a part of a community as a parent of a child with chronic illness can be even more challenging.

You’re invited to the Prayer Pond, your safe harbor, where you can share your prayer requests, updates, and shouts of praise. Whether a request, praise, lament, suffering, loss, hope, grief, or joy, each prayer ripples far beyond this day and the boundaries of our world.
 
How often we hear, “Prayer is the least I can do,” when in reality, prayer is the most we can do. 

Blog Posts

Featured Books

The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance

The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance

Gary Smalley, John Trent & Kari Trent Stageberg

Children of every age long for the gift of “the blessing” — the unconditional love and approval that come from a healthy relationship with their parents. This life-changing gift is essential for instilling a deep sense of self-worth and unshakable emotional well-being. Offering solid, practical advice and a fresh perspective on making this gift a bigger part of our families.

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Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Boundaries with Kids: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children

Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Discover help and guidance for raising your kids to take responsibility for their actions, attitudes, and emotions.

Learn how to instill the kind of character in your children that will help them lead balanced, productive, and fulfilling adult lives.

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Broken Brain

Broken Brain, Fortified Faith: Lessons of Hope Through a Child’s Mental Illness

The terms mental illness and mental health are often used casually, but many don’t believe mental illness is relevant to their lives.

This is the story of one family’s journey through schizophrenia, navigating the uncharted waters of mental illness to find help for their daughter and support for their family. This memoir is an honest look at the stress, anger, education, and finally, hope experienced through eyes of a mother.

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Comfort: Inspirations for Parents of Chronically Ill Children

Kathy Hardy

This sensitive, honest, and heartfelt devotional doesn’t pull any punches. It encounters all aspects of raising a chronically ill child and helps others understand the day-to-day struggles and joys. It is eight weeks of reality: the good, the bad, and the ugly. At the end of each week of devotions, you’ll find a short chapter of Kathy’s family’s continuing story of raising their eight children, three of whom have Cystic Fibrosis (CF).

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Chronic Kids Constant Hope

Chronic Kids, Constant Hope: Help and Encouragement for Parents of Children with Chronic Conditions

Elizabeth Hoekstra and Mary Bradford

Two moms of chronically ill children offer  encouragement and help for fellow parents of "chronic kids," such as dealing with emotions, what to do when friends say insensitive things, prayer, and so much more.

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Different Dream Parenting: A Practical Guide to Raising a Child with Special Needs

Jolene Philo 

Parenting can be difficult and tiring, especially when you have a special needs child with medical, behavioral, or educational issues. Find guidance, encouragement spiritual wisdom, practical resources, and tools that can help you become an extraordinary advocate for your child. Discover how you can move beyond the challenges and experience the joy of being your child’s biggest and best supporter.

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Families Where Grace is In Place

Families Where Grace Is in Place: Building a Home Free of Manipulation, Legalism, and Shame

Jeff VanVonderen

This book is a practical and insightful discussion on living a graceful life and building a strong and happy home using God's tools.

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He Will Be Enough: How God Takes You by the Hand Through Your Hardest Days

He Will Be Enough: How God Takes You by the Hand Through Your Hardest Days

Katie Faris

Each of these 20 biblical reflections examines a truth about God and shows how it provides an anchor for the soul in hard times. With warmth and compassion, Katie weaves together stories of her own family’s struggles with complex medical conditions and God's truth.

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I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy

Angie Smith

In 2008,  Angie and her husband Todd (lead singer of the group Selah) learned through ultrasound that their fourth daughter had conditions making her “incompatible with life.” Advised to terminate the pregnancy, the Smiths chose instead to carry this child and allow room for a miracle. That miracle came the day they met Audrey Caroline and got the chance to love her for the precious two-and-a-half hours she lived on earth.

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Is Your Teen Stressed or Depressed?: A Practical and Inspirational Guide for Parents of Hurting Teenagers

Is Your Teen Stressed or Depressed?: A Practical and Inspirational Guide for Parents of Hurting Teenagers

Dr. Arch Hart and Dr. Catherine Hart Weber

The teen years are hard enough. But with today's increased pressures, it's no wonder many teens are overwhelmed. The result is a generation experiencing greater stress and feeling more depressed than any other. Discover practical suggestions, spiritual solutions, and encouragement. This resource helps parents and teens face their own feelings of fear, anger, and hurt.

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The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children with Special Needs

Andrew Wilson, et al.

Sometimes life throws you a curveball. Andrew and Rachel Wilson know what it means to live a life they never expected. As the parents of two children with special needs, their story mingles deep pain with deep joy in unexpected places. With raw honesty, they share about the challenges they face on a daily basis, what it means to weep, worship, wait, and hope in the Lord. This book will help you cling to Jesus and fight for joy when faced with a life you never expected.

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Power of a praying parent

The Power of a Praying Parent

Stormie Omartian

Why Leave Your Child’s Life to Chance When You Can Give It to God? Stormie and her husband spent 20 years raising their children…and more than 40 years praying for them. Now, in 32 short, easy-to-read chapters, she shares how you can pray through each stage of your child’s life, from early childhood to adulthood. Learn how to put your child’s life in God’s loving hands.

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Sick Kids and Those Who Love Them

Sick Kids and Those Who Love Them

Karen Rhea

Kren cared for her own son, Billy throughout a six year nightmare of unanswered questions with no diagnosis in sight. Her tireless search to find help for her son baffled and irritated a questioning community. Feeling at war with his doctors and educators, she believed they were all wrong. As Billy’s health deteriorated, Karen’s marriage began to unravel. Yet the Rhea family never wavered from the one united front: faith and prayer.

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To Light Their Way: A Collection of Prayers and Liturgies for Parents

To Light Their Way: A Collection of Prayers and Liturgies for Parents

Kayla Craig

Prayers to guide your journey of raising kids in a complicated world. In an age of distraction and overwhelm, finding the words to meaningfully pray for our children―and for our journey as parents―can feel impossible. Filled with more than 100 modern liturgies, this book guides you into an intentional conversation with God for your children and the world they live in.

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When Anxiety Roars: Partnering with Your Child to Tame Worry and Anxiety

When Anxiety Roars: Partnering with Your Child to Tame Worry and Anxiety

Jean Holthaus

Discover practical steps for children and parents to take together to tame anxiety. Integrating faith with best practices to reduce anxiety, it also teaches coping skills that will help children live more confidently today and into the future.

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When Your Children Hurt

When Your Children Hurt

Charles F. Stanley

There are no easy answers to life’s problems. This is especially true when a loved one is hurting, like when families face the challenges of a child with long-term illness, the effects of abuse, or other issues such as drugs or immorality. It’s during those times when feelings of hopelessness can quickly become despair. Dr. Stanley reminds us, “God has an answer for our deepest need, but we must seek His help.”

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Resources

ARTICLES

 

To Those Caring for Sick Children, Lexi Behrndt

You are heroes. You are angels. You get to see miracles happen daily at your job. You get to see little lives come back after catastrophe and devastation, and you watch as they heal and grow and smile again.

And then sometimes you don’t.”

To the Momma of a Critically and Chronically Ill Child, Lexi Behrndt

“You are brave. You are strong. You are loving. You fight for your children when they can’t fight for themselves. You hope for them and you stay positive for them, and then run to the bathroom just to cry in the stall where they can’t see. You research and talk to doctors and talk to other parents to find the best possible treatment plans and solutions to give the best life to your child…You go to the places no one wants to go. You know a side of the world that most would like to pretend doesn’t exist.”

Parenting Through Chronic Illness, Rachelle Wiggins

“For the past decade, God has allowed me the gracious trial of raising my children from the bed of chronic illness.  The learning curve was steep: I battled against the desire to be more and do more while living within the limitations of a broken body. Over time, I recognized a few principles that helped me survive — and still be a good parent — during the storm of ongoing illness.”

VIDEO

Children are a gift from God.Welcome to Holland, Emily Perl Kingsly

Trying to describe being the parent of a child with a disability or chronic illness can be very challenging. This short video offers a beautiful and creative explanation.

“The loss of that dream [a well child] is a very significant loss, but if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.”

 

 

WEBSITES

Key MinistryKEY MINISTRY is uniquely called and positioned to serve churches seeking to become more intentional and effective in ministry with children, teens, and adults impacted by mental illness, trauma, and developmental disabilities and their families, and to connect families to the people and resources – both in person and online – that they need to support them in their special needs parenting journey.

 

Only 7 SecondsONLY 7 SECONDS – Remember that time when you felt like disappearing and were sure no one would even notice? That moment was real. So real, that millions are experiencing the same moments of hopelessness in their daily lives. Your story is important. Isolation, depression and anxiety are real, and they have a bigger effect on our lives than we realize. It only takes seven seconds. Send one simple message. You could impact a life, forever.

When Kristin Wall’s son, Ethan, was bedridden for twenty-three days, he missed a lot more than school and the regional basketball championships. Over the course of his illness not one friend or teammate reached out to him, and as Kristin observed, that had a devastating impact on her son’s mental state. “I watched him go into depression,” she said. “These boys are boys I’ve fed and treated like sons for years… and not a single text came through.”

“Because of everything my family went through with my son and what our small town had faced, I felt led to create a movement called #only7seconds.” The goal of the movement was simple: spread kindness through thoughtfulness. “Take seven seconds out of your day to send a text telling someone that you are thinking of them.” To Kristin, this simple thought meant everything. “You never know if that text could be the one thing giving them an inkling that life is worth living.”

 

For A Mother's Soul

May God shower His blessings on all mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, mothers-in-law, and mother-like figures in the world. May He give grace and strength for all your days.

Emotions Wheel and Guide • Children

Emotions Wheel for Kids

The Emotions Wheel is designed to help children recognize and name the emotions they experience. As their emotional vocabulary grows, so does their ability to effectively communicate what and how they feel.

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