Parenting with Chronic Illness: Raising Children When You're Sick

Parenting with Chronic Illness

Raising Children When You’re Sick

Parenting with chronic illness brings countless challenges, but there is abounding peace and overflowing grace surrounding every limitation as we learn to lean on Jesus step by step.

More than half of people live with chronic illness.
1 in 5 adults lives with chronic illness

About Parenting

Parents want to be active, caring for, protecting, teaching, and training their children. Parenting with chronic illness, mental illness, chronic pain, and/or disability can be a real challenge. Often parents feel guilty, weary, anxious, depressed, lonely, and sad.

More than 60% of the world’s population lives with one or more chronic illnesses.

Reportedly about 20% of the population lives with mental illness.

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 4:15-16)

PARENTING WHEN YOU ARE CHRONICALLY ILL

Find hope, encouragement, and practical resources for your unique parenting journey. The daily trials of parenthood are magnified when we are chronically ill, but there is also untold grace and an incredible future planned for us and for our children. Discover refreshment for your soul and heart-touching stories for your heart as you parent with chronic illness.

 

CHRONIC PARENTING

Parenting with chronic illness can feel like trying to climb a mountain while carrying a mountain. Despite the many challenges, God will never leave our sides. Our children were given specifically to us, and we were given specifically to them.

 

The unique circumstances of parenting with chronic illness can leave us feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

 

From diapers, bottles, and play dates to guiding a wayward teen, parenting is a complex and beautiful privilege. To be entrusted with the heart and soul of another human being is a gift from God, but parenting is far from easy, regardless of our circumstances. It humbles and challenges us in ways we never thought possible, pulling our emotions in vastly different directions, while draining our physical and mental energy.

What happens when we can’t change the diapers or prepare the meals or drive our kids to school?

 

Perhaps pregnancy and birth flared an underlying illness and we are now powerless to care for our little ones. Maybe we’re afraid to open our eyes each morning because just the thoughts of the days’ tasks are overwhelming and leave us feeling hopeless.

 

How do we intentionally shape the hearts of our children when we can’t even get out of bed?

 

Where do we turn when our little ones need our loving guidance, but we’re in the hospital?

 

How do we get our children, fed, bathed, clothed, and their emotional tanks filled up when we are not even able to meet own needs?

 

Guilt and shame can also creep in as we see what other parents do with their children, but no matter how we feel, we are not alone.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

Welcome to a community of fellow travelers on this parenting journey. Come and find rest for your soul and hope that is rooted in the truth of God’s Word.

 

RAISING CHILDREN WHEN YOU’RE SICK

While every parent and child are different, Chronic Joy believes Christ is the solution to our struggles and is the healing for our pain. We don’t have all the answers, but we can encourage one another to pursue Christ with our whole hearts, and to trust Him with the tender souls of our children.

 

We are exactly who God made us to be, wonderfully made and created in love to parent our children. God will show us how, lighting each step along the way.

Here you will find:

HOW TO BE A GODLY PARENT WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS

In order to become godly parents, we must first submit and commit to a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

 

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9)

 

Jesus loves us enough to save us through His death and resurrection, and therefore we can love one another, including our children, no matter the circumstances.

With the unconditional love of the Father in our hearts, we can pour into our children the love, joy, and salvation found in Jesus, guiding them on the path to life.

Being a godly parent isn’t determined by how much we can give our children or from the skills we have. It grows from a place of surrender and dependence on God, who loves our children even more than we do.

 

With Christ, whatever we are able to do—whether big or small—is sufficient.

 

’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
(2 Corinthians 12:9)

 

PARENTING WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS • FOUR KEYS

 

1. Understand Your Limitations – With chronic illness comes limits, both physical and mental. Give yourself grace and be encouraged that no matter what roadblocks you face, you will never face them alone.

2. Embrace Community – Find a community to plug into for practical support. This can include family, friends, neighbors, church members, or support groups.

  • Are you in need of prayer? Stop by the Prayer Pond and let us know how we can pray for you, #PrayItForward by praying for the other requests.
  • Check out our Free Printables and hand-curated Parenting Books
  • Scroll through encouraging quotes and images
  • Practice Proactive Parenting – Love covers all! Our gracious God can take even the tiniest spark of hope and initiative to cultivate character and purpose in our children’s hearts. God asks for a willing spirit, then asks to let Him do the rest.   

3. Prayer – Lift everything up to Christ, including the heartbreaks and the celebrations, the questions and the worries. Keep a prayer journal or find a prayer partner to help boost your prayer life. Prayer is as unique as snowflakes with untold ways to converse with our Savior.

 

OUR CHILDREN NEED JESUS

 

Our children are a gift from God and He gave them specifically to us to love, nurture, and protect. While chronic illness may rob us of some of the everyday joys of parenting, with God’s help, we can give our children the one thing they truly need: Jesus.

There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil. No matter what storms are raging all around, you’ll stand firm if you stand on His love. Charles Stanley

Parents Need Time with Jesus

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.

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Creatively Express Your Story

We can feel isolated and powerless when living with chronic illness, but what if your story begins to bridge the gaps?  What if your story offers a glimmer of hope to someone standing at the edge of hopelessness?

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Not only has the Lord helped my husband Scott and me to grow in prayer for our children in the day-to-day, but he’s also shown great mercy in his answers to those prayers.

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Being a mom is difficult; being a mom with chronic illness is even more challenging. Here is some hard-earned wisdom: give yourself grace, ask for help, be honest with your family, and lean into Jesus.

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"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29

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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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Boundaries with Kids: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children

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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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Discovering Hope • Beginning the Journey Toward Hope in Chronic Illness

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 the 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

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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

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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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100 Names of God

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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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A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

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

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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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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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The Power of a Praying Parent

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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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