So why one more blog? Does the world really need another mommy blog?
This is what I have been asking myself for many years as I’ve been tempted to start a blog about chronic health issues.
So why now?
Recently my husband and I felt led of God to go to Kenya as missionaries, and after making the decision and beginning the process of moving, so many people showed a keen interest in what we were doing, heightened by the fact that four of our kids have very special health needs.
So, I decided that I would create a blog to share our experiences with friends and family, and also to record for our family this special time. Also, writing has become a tool for me to process my thoughts and emotions. But at the heart of it all I want to encourage other families who live day in and day out with chronic illness.
Back in Canada, I was constantly meeting families who have difficult burdens to bear. It is no different here in Kenya.
We benefit from knowing that we share a similar journey, that someone understands the unique challenges, fears and fatigue that come with being a constant caregiver. I recently met a woman in Northern Ireland whose daughter had been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). We could have talked all day.
When my son was diagnosed with T1D at age two, I found myself in a whole new world. Then I began to meet other moms in the same situation. I wanted to hug them and say “Hey! We speak the same language.”
In our experience as a family the days and nights can be long. There are many questions and fears, many hopes and disappointments. It’s been nine years since our first child was diagnosed with T1D and only one and a half since our youngest was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Our hearts broke each time we were told our child would have a long term serious disease. Our faith has been strained, stretched and pulled in many different ways, and always God has been faithful and has met us in our darkest places. His presence and peace has sustained us through many trials and unknowns.
Hence the name of this blog.
There is no denying that the wilderness is real. The struggle is constant, and the pain is deep at times. Yet, we’ve discovered again and again, that our Saviour is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides. His Word has become our daily mana, giving hope and strength that is not our own.
Long term chronic illness in children never relents, it never lets you heave a sigh of relief where you can say, “phew, glad that’s over.” When I get a good report back about throat swabs for our two youngest with CF, I do a little happy dance in my heart and feel elated. But it doesn’t take long for me to begin dreading the unknowns of the next three months until the next swabs. We live a life that focuses on prevention and maintenance but not a cure, which is often mentally and emotionally draining.
In short, chronic illness is truly a wilderness experience. It is a case of trusting from day to day, putting one foot in front of the other, not planning too far ahead.
Chronic illness ensures our dependence on our Lord’s provision of Himself—His joy, His strength—just as the Israelites depended daily on the manna from heaven. For us it has become not just a life of struggle, but one of learning to rest in our sovereign Lord, who meets the daily struggle and brokenness with His joy and presence. We continue to learn how to live to His glory in a wilderness.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not [a]fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. (Jeremiah 17:8)