Hope for the hard days: 5 truths to lean on

Written by Jen Forsthoff
Published on May 13, 2022

Raising a child who has been diagnosed with a medical condition or impairment of any kind can take a toll on our souls as parents. 

As I reflect back on the day we received our daughter’s diagnosis, my mind and heart collided with fears, heart break, and inner turmoil that drove me to God in a way like never before. As I look back on the start of our journey as parents of a special-needs child and fast forward ten years down the road, there are promises that have kept us. Truths that have guided us. Anchors that have grounded.  

The rough seas of life

Think of your family like a boat. As you travel through the seas of life, your boat can get rocked, and even worse, get holes. 

The difficulties of a diagnosis can bring waves and knock holes in our boats. Amidst these seas, our boat is our responsibility. We can find ourselves rocked and tossed by the latest doctor’s report or teacher’s concern. Though we thank God for the wisdom and direction he gives through those trusted voices that help navigate our child’s development, we must be careful to guard our hearts. 

When we have to intake difficult reports about our children, we need to keep our boat from sinking. We must be careful not to allow worry or anxious thoughts to come in, and not lose faith in the goodness and faithfulness of God. 

Foundational truth

As we face potential fears, we have a choice to lay down these same fears and exchange them for foundational truths of who God is and what his word says.  

Our boats can get holes in them as we face challenges in raising our children, and when our child has a diagnosis, the potential for boat-sinking holes is even greater. 

So, we must plug up these holes. We must protect our boat and use the truth of God’s word to mend our boat that takes a hit from time to time. 

Let’s consider some of the basic truths of God’s word that can apply to all of us, regardless of the diagnosis we are living with, that will keep our boat secure to endure the wind and waves that might want to sink our boat.  

Basic truths to keep us secure

1. His mercy is new every morning 

We can have difficult days with our children. Days where we feel defeated. Days we don’t see progress. Days we seem to take giant leaps back. Days we feel like we failed our children. Days of heartache or pain. 

It’s in these days we must remind ourselves that the moment will pass—the day will end and tomorrow we will experience fresh mercy, new mercy, that will meet us in the morning. God is not done with our family, and tomorrow he will bring a fresh supply of mercy for our family.  (Lamentations 3:22–23)

2. His grace is sufficient 

Regardless of how difficult the trial with our child may be, we can know that God’s grace is sufficient in every way. He will not shy away. He will not abandon. He will not neglect the needs of your child and your family. He has more than enough grace to carry you and lead you forward. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

3. He will perfect that which concerns me 

Give all the concerns about your child to God. He will perfect the things that you worry about. He is working. Even when you don’t see it, he is working. He is perfecting his plan for your life and the life of your child. Trust him and surrender that which concerns you over to him. He is more than able to work all things for his good and his glory. (Psalm 138:8)

4. He will use it for his glory 

Nothing is wasted. God can use all things to demonstrate his glory and his character. Just as the blind man was used by God to show his power and spread his fame, God can do the same thing through your child. 

God will do miracles in and through your child’s life to show his glory. It may not be a healing like the blind man—but regardless, God will use your child’s diagnosis for a purpose that was divinely released by the sovereignty of God to carry out his kingdom purpose on the earth. (John 9:3)

5. There will be eternal healing 

For those families who are enduring an extremely difficult diagnosis that affects the everyday life of their child, there is peace. Receive the peace that one day, though it may not be here on the earth, your child will be whole and healed in the presence of God in heaven. 

Our earthly bodies are temporary. The pains, the tears, the concerns will all pass away when we enter into eternity with our heavenly father. So, though we can pray for healing while our children are living on the earth, we can know that eternal healing is promised. (Revelation 21:4)

Promises of God

So, the next time your boat gets rocked by the waves of your child’s diagnosis, remind your soul of the promises and truth of God’s word. 

His mercy and grace will always be at work. He will be faithful to his perfect plan. He will reveal his glory through your child. And allow the reality of heaven and eternal healing to be your hope and bring peace. 

These simple truths will steady your boat and enable you to journey the seas of life with greater hope and strength as you anchor yourself in the word of God.  

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Jen Forsthoff

Jen Forsthoff is the author of Chosen for Charlie: When God Gifts You With a Special- Needs Child and Champion For Charlie: Rise Up and Advocate For Your Child. Jen and her pastor-husband, Lucas, live in Michigan with their three children. Their oldest, Charlie, was diagnosed with Trisomy 21 at birth and has opened their eyes to the needs of families just like theirs. Raising Charlie, along with her experience as a classroom teacher and in ministry, has fueled Jen’s passion to positively impact families who face the challenge of parenting a child with special needs.  She writes, speaks, and advocates for families who need a message of hope and biblical truth to shape the everyday perspective of their role as the parent and champion for their child. In both ministry and educational platforms, Jen is a voice for parents raising a special-needs child. As God has opened doors through radio, television, community events/organizations, and ministry partnerships, she continues to bring a message of hope to families. You can connect with Jen at jenforsthoff.com and on Instagram @jforsthoff.

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