Parenting When Chronic Illness is a Member of the Family

Parenting • Posts Books & More


The keys to parenting when chronic illness is a member of the family are prayerhumor; flexibility; acknowledging loss, fear, and other uncomfortable emotions; embracing each member’s God-given worth; and loving one another deeply from the heart.

Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord. (Psalm 127:3)

Blog Posts

Streams in the Wasteland of a Living Grief

How do I hold this living grief? How do I drink this boiling sea of suffering? Father, gather these shards. Redeem the years the locusts have eaten. Scoop up these bits and pieces, and hold them in Your Hands until Your grace floods every crevice...


"He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye." Deuteronomy 32:10

The Power of Prayer

Prayer is not a new concept for me. As a child, I remember praying nightly for my dad and younger brother who were diagnosed with a genetic disease.


"I knew I had to trust God, and even though I did not understand, this was the path He had chosen." Heidi Peterson

A Six-Step Experiment to Combat Lies

When we find ourselves passively absorbing whatever our "selves" throw at us, we need to take ourselves in hand and break the looping lies that play in our heads by speaking God's truth to them. Let's try this six-step experiment to combat lies. We need to speak God's truth to the lies that play in our heads.


"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Books We Love • Parenting

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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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

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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100 Names of God

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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A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

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 complicated and challenging enough without the addition of contemporary society'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 in Is Your Teen Stressed or Depressed? This resource helps parents and teens face their 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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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 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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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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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.”




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.”

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