Tag Archive | chronic illness + children in the home

Hug ’em anyways, momma…

Well, I got my share of momma hugs this weekend, but I also got the brunt end of a bad mood, too. What to do?

IMG_0876We’re rapidly moving from tween to teen this year. It’s a hard, hard time to have a parent sick in bed regularly while the other parent is trying to keep all the plates spinning. But, nothing, and I mean nothing is worth losing connections with my daughter.

We recently watched a very, very inspiring movie called The Queen of Katwe. Even though the mom is a widow in that true story, I could relate to her so vividly is some respects. Granted, I don’t live in a third world country. I’ve always been able to find work, and get help with bills when needed.

But I can relate to setback after setback. I felt that momma’s pain in living technicolor. When she realized how much chess meant to her daughter, she was willing to sell her most prized possession to help her daughter succeed. Success happened but not overnight. I won’t spoil the ending for you. If you’re like me, keep a box of tissues nearby.

It will take extra grit and sacrifice to swim against the life-sucking illness. Love fiercely, momma!

Love finds a way. Love found me begging God on my knees for a good, safe homeschooling community three years ago. I tried to form my own, but the lack of commitment made it fall apart.

My daughter is an only. We needed friends and enCOURAGEment for our journey. God answered. He brought a nationally known group to form a community in our area. I was able to tutor to pay the fees. (People commit to what they pay for. Truth!)

You know what? I got a huge thank you from my daughter this year for making her go the past three years.  She was initially afraid to try. Now she loves it. She excels at most of her work. That didn’t happen by accident!

Pray fiercely, momma! Ephesians 6:10-18

Turns out I was not the only momma praying for help. We were able to share burdens and bear each other’s burdens. Now I pray for wisdom as we navigate teen years and chronic illness in the house.

It’s a challenge but also an opportunity.

I want her to find her gifts and talents and hone them! I want her to be resilient, compassionate, gritty, and full of hope in God. So that means I’d better keep praying big prayers. Can’t quit now!

Hug ’em fiercely, momma! See that stinky attitude as a cry for love. Swipe the screen-time while you’re at it.

Chronic illness, well, it’s no fun for anyone to witness. When you live with it, that’s even harder. Some days it makes me angry, too. My child, on the road to sorting out all her inner workings, well, of course she thinks this stinks! At the stinky moments, sometimes a quiet tone and wrapping your  arms around the huffy child is just what the doctor ordered.

Moms, we’re a safe haven. We’re a venting station. I want my child to be able to tell me exactly how she’s feeling. Nicely, of course, but truthfully. (We’re working on the “nicely” part still. Snagging the Kindle seems to help). A nice cup of hot tea helps, too. Or cocoa, depending on the kid.

Then I want to direct her to Abba, Father. She’s starting to see. Mom prays. About. Everything. I can’t fix things. But God is our very present Help in time of trouble. Psalm 46. He knows our thoughts. Psalm 139

Fierce loving, praying, hugging mommas, you’re my inspiration! Maybe  chronic illness will be the catalyst to make our children extra gritty and kind. Maybe their souls will be supercharged to trust God for big things. How’s that for a prayer request?

 

Advertisements

Lovin’ through the crazy…

Well, I’d be lying if I said life was all peaches and cream right now.

Focusing on gratitude really helped me see the humor in my crazy life this week. Yesterday was the icing on the cake! I watched tired, grumpy kiddos for a family who is going through the fires of fighting cancer. I ended up in the wrong place due to a GPS error. Traffic was horrendous. I’m a country gal. Hate traffic. A professional panhandler hit me up while I had said kids in the store. And the man in front of me bought every single avocado in the store — one of the big items on my grocery list.

To top things off, the cat vomited and my hubby tracked it all over unknowingly!

Let’s revisit the kids and chronic illness theme. As a parent, once you think you have figured out how to handle one stage, a new one hits. Multiply this time ten with the many different ways chronic illness effects children.

Time to fill up the love tanks. The kids just need someone who loves them through the crazy. Time. Attention. Hugs. Correction. Encouragement. Isn’t that the way the heavenly Father loves us?

  • Love like the Father in Heaven. He does not ignore us or or need for correction. Hebrews 12:5-8
  • He loves His children even when they don’t deserve it. Romans 5:8-9
  • He loves to give good gifts to His children. James 1:17
  • He showers us with love and mercy. Ephesians 2:4-7
  • Our Heavenly Father listens to us and wants us to talk to Him! Matthew 6:6-13

When you see life is crazy, love like there is no tomorrow!

My daughter was with me caring for the kids. I had to encourage her to be patient many times. The tired littles had fun. My girl talked my ear off on the long drive home. Non-stop. The tired me wanted her to stop. The Father God love in me soaked it up. Life is hard, but God is good.  Make me a reflection of  His holy love, I pray. Prayers appreciated from you all. We face more crazy days ahead with a surgery for my hubby sometime this summer.

How can I pray for you in this crazy life we lead? Let me know, okay?

Footprints of gratitude….

image

Our earthly footprint really is so small.

Parenting brings out the cliches. They grow up so fast. You blink and they’re all grown up. Well, I am more than halfway through my parenting journey to the legal age of adulthood. I would like to put the brakes on it for just a bit, too.

Parenting with chronic illness or cancer in the home has its own unique twist of challenges.

There are way too many facets to deal with in one post. I think I will sit down and chart an outline of what my greatest parenting challenges have been and still are. I have a few people in mind to interview, too, who are dealing or have dealt with this in living technicolor.

Usually I ask for your input at the end of the post. But start thinking now as you read. How has chronic illness affected your parenting? What are your greatest challenges? Any great tips that have really helped your family?

I will share this challenge right off the bat. It is a constant battle to maintain joy on the journey. I’m not talking about slap-stick happiness, or just faking it. But I do believe laughter is the best medicine. Gratitude for the simple blessings truly does bring joy. All of us can find something to give thanks for if we are still breathing in God’s good air. Gratitude lends a helping hand to joy.

Sometimes depression hangs over our house like the dark clouds of Mordor. What’s a mom/caregiver/breadwinner to do?

This may sound like a broken record (google it), but only Jesus can give you joy and inner peace when your husband’s body is broken and you can’t fix it. You can’t pretend for all your kids’ growing up years that everything is okay. When children are very young, I do think you have to shelter them from too much sorrow. If you can… So what happens when the hard questions come?

Make up your mind to be thankful! Dad’s been sick in bed all day and your children are moody, understandably! Be a ray of light in that dark cloud. But why? What is the end goal?

  • You want your children to grow up knowing God is good. Giving thanks for the blessings reminds us of this daily. This takes practice! I want to do better at modeling tangible praise to God every day.

  • Read the Biblical stories of real people persevering through hard times. My daughter fell in love with Ruth for a period of time, then Esther.

  • Read/listen to courage-inspiring true stories. Note to self: compile a list of suggested reading for you!

  • Have a talk time with each child nearly every day. My time comes at bedtime most days. Sometimes it happens in the car. Key words: they talk, you listen! You want to hear what their joys, sorrows, and frustrations are. You will find kids actually end up asking for advice if you listen well.

  • Pray about problems together. There is no better time than when your child has unloaded their troubles on you. IF they need anything, they need to know the Heavenly Father is always available. Who doesn’t need this?

  • Block out time for happiness. Plan special outings and happy memories together. When money is tight and travel is tough with chronic illness, enlist friends to pop in and check on your husband while you leave the house and just do something fun together. If you can include dad, all the better..

  • Institute a real reward for not whining. I was given a roll of quarters. Ten dollars is a nice chunk of change to my daughter. For every complaint, I got to take back a quarter over a month’s time. Thankfully she kept more than half of the roll in the end.

    These are a few humble suggestions. I would love to have your input. What are your major parenting challenges that chronic illness aggravates? How have you dealt with them? 

 

 

Sanity in an insanely awful time…

When your eleven-year old daughter dramatically states that this was the worst year of her life, your heart turns over and your ears tune in. Why?” You gently pry as all good mommas should. The words come tumbling out. You listen and pray you can respond in a way that will reach to the bottom of her soul. You find your thoughts echoing her pain.  How to encourage this child on the brink of such a challenging life in a troubled world?

The news of this year has shattered her innocence. Paris, the beautiful city she admires from afar, Planned Parenthood selling baby body parts when her biggest wish has always been another living, breathing sibling, and much closer to home, her beloved young aunt fighting stage four cancer, papa’s constant battle with chronic pain and illness, and the death of her far-away great grandfather whom she had a great wish to meet.

“But I’ve had a lot of fun times, too, Momma.”  I breathe an inward sigh of relief. In a desperately awful year, I have striven to find a path for joy, gratitude, and the wonder of being alive to enjoy God’s creation and the air He grants us to breathe. Maybe all is not lost. All those moments of saying, well, the car may be broken, but look how God has provided rides to where we need to go. Or, God cares for your aunt and hears the cry of the humble. Finally, King Jesus will fix this broken world in a way we can’t even imagine. I could hear the hope in her voice as she remembered the blessings. 

Thanking God for our blessings and remembering His promises of future justice has kept me sane in an insanely awful time in our lives and in the history of our nation. To remind you of our future hope:

“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:1-6….. Even so, come quickly, LORD Jesus!…

Courageous for our Children…

“If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  What a zinger of a little axiom! My daughter’s mood can so easily be affected by my mood. Remaining joyful, triumphant, and encouraged is the challenge that God has placed on my plate.  He clearly commands it. Phillipians was a book written to a group of suffering saints. “Rejoice in the LORD always, and again I say rejoice.”  

Whining and complaining were constant themes in the life of the children of Israel. I catch my daughter whining more than I would like, and it drives me CRAZY at times. So, despite the enormity of challenges in being a caregiving wife, I would bend my knees and ask to be a continually grateful Child of the King.

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

My goal and prayer this week, this month, this year is that I would have an attitude of gratitude. May it be very contagious!  Happy momma, happy child, happy home!  How would you like to be happy, too?