When your child is sick — A faithfullness challenge

I wasn’t a new believer when my fourth child was diagnosed with a kidney issue (hydronephrosis) in my fifth month of pregnancy. I’d been a Christian for a while but I probably had never had my faith tested. Sure, my husband and I had our issues but those were obvious problems based on how we were raised and the fact we didn’t really have any strong marriages or Christians to look up to in our life. So when we got pregnant with our 4th that in and of itself was a challenge of faith — especially since we were still living paycheck-to-paycheck.

This was the first situation I can remember where I began to understood the difference between believing God and believing in God. Where my faith was tested not just in God but in faith in myself to trust God no matter the outcome. And where I learned how to pray in a way that sought God’s will above all else. Did I believe God could do the impossible? Did I believe He was the ultimate Surgeon and Healer? Did I believe His word that said that all things would work to good for those that loved Him?

There was a point where the doctor didn’t know if he would have to do surgery while I was still pregnant. From months five to eight of my pregnancy, many tests and ultrasounds were needed to determine how my son’s kidney was functioning and draining despite hydronephrosis.

Did I have my doubts and my questions? Of course! But there came a point where understanding “why” no longer mattered. After experiencing prodromal labor for about two weeks, my blood pressure was high for the first time in my life, we (my doctor, husband, and I) decided that inducing labor was the best option. As one who’d her first three babies with very little intervention (doctor only broke my water after active labor) and no pain medications, this was not a decision I took lightly.

In the end, and after a few more interventions, I gave birth to my baby boy without complications. Jared thrived his first year of life, eating well, and experiencing no kidney-related illness. He was on a dose of preventative antibiotics and his urologist saw him every few months to keep an eye on his kidney, which was still inflated and draining slowly, but functioning well enough that the possibility of surgery was on the back burner.

But one-month shy of Jared’s 1st birthday, everything changed. He had his first kidney infection and ended up in the hospital for five days. Because of the severity of the infection, his doctor advised we schedule surgery as soon as possible.

Trusting and believing God took on a whole new level after that.

A Faith-fullness Challenge

My husband has taken on a new saying … it’s our job to have the faith, and God’s job to provide the fullness.

It would be nice if I could share the rest of my son’s story and say his surgery went well and that was it. But that wouldn’t be the whole story. Jared’s surgery didn’t go well at all. Even though most children with hydronephrosis have surgery and only kept over night for observation, Jared didn’t respond well. His digestive system shut down and he ended up needing a second surgery to insert a nephrostomy tube in his back to help his kidney drain while it healed from the surgery. Imagine a little one-year-old running around with a long tube and bag hanging off his back for over six weeks!

Approximately eight procedures and several infections later, my active 18-month-old toddler was finally infection free and had near-normal drainage. By then, I was about four months pregnant with our fifth child, and my faith was about to grow by leaps and bounds!

The God of Comfort

“… [God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3

To tell the story of baby #5, Parker would require me to write a book! Actually, I wrote about my journey as a mom of five whose youngest and oldest children were diagnosed with CSID, a congenital enzyme deficiency where they lack sufficient ability to digest sugars and starches. The main reason I wrote the book was to encourage other parents out there — as very little was and still is published in any form to help guide them. And though each case is different, my hope is that these parents understand they are not alone in their journey. Read more at www.csidrecipes.com

The God of Miracles

It’s hard to explain my journey of watching God perform miracles in the bodies of my children and myself. There are so many nuances, so many gray areas. I didn’t pray and wait. I prayed for guidance and learned about all the ways I can help our bodies heal and thrive despite their less-than-glorified states.

  • Jared hasn’t seen a urologist since he was five years old. He just turned 16 and he’s an active, ambitious young man with two jobs and plans to graduate early and become an entrepreneur of many things.
  • Parker (my fifth) can eat nearly anything he wants with only some modifications. He’s growing at a steady rate, loves sports cars, and has aspirations to become a versatile actor one day.
  • I’ve been managing fibromylagia for over seven years with a combination of prayers, holistic, and conventional approaches.

I believe my prayers helped me to discover ways to work with God’s original design for health and healing. I’ve applied the knowledge and resources of this planet to help my whole family experience wellness in ways that lead to the doctors saying, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it!”

Which to me means even they see miracles are part of my method!

But I also believe God worked far above and beyond what my efforts alone could accomplish. The victories and testimonies of healing are a tip on the iceberg of miracles God has performed in my life — from overcoming a million obstacles in my marriage over the past 25 years, to financial blessings, and Divine appointments.

Sometimes I wonder if my willingness to live a life of faith somehow leads to more trials just so I can experience the triumphs! It hasn’t been an easy journey, and I’m sure I’ve many more stops on this ride of faith.

For now, my hope is that I encourage someone along they way. I don’t know why God allows children to suffer with illness, disease, or handicaps of various kinds. All I know is my experience as a mom with five children — who have had health issues beyond the “normal” at one point in their lives — is that I don’t take life or health for granted. Maybe even more important, I don’t take God or His hand on my life for granted.

And I’ve learned that even in my greatest moments of weakness, He is greater.

It’s a common expression or wish when one is pregnant to say “well as long as they’re healthy,” but I beg you the question … what if they’re not? I pray that if your child is born unhealthy that this post will encourage you and give you the faith to believe that there is a purpose in your child’s life and your own in pressing on and believing that healing can happen, but even if it doesn’t, God has greater things planned for you. If my youngest child was born healthy, thousands of parents around the world would not have had access to the resource I wrote to help them during this very difficult time of a adjusting one’s diet to something that is in conflict with the majority of the way the world eats. Not only that but my son has experienced the miracle of healing in his own body and I pray that even though as a teenager he takes his health for granted, that he will still remember God’s hand in his life and that has faith will not falter when future circumstances present impossible outcomes.

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