Monday, July 20, 2015

Strength to Care - Read it and Share it!

In most instances, when a child is born in our family or a friend's family, we all rejoice and celebrate. However; occasionally, when a child is born, a family is thrown into the stress, fear and overwhelming uncertainty which comes when the child has serious medical issues. Yes, these families love their children and yes there is joy, but when their child is in the NICU and being sent to have surgeries the focus is on something very different than joy and celebrating. What do you do when this happens to a family you know and love?

Clearly, there are many things for you to "do" . . . pray, be there physically for the family, help with child care needs for any other children they may have, provide for meals, house cleaning, help with transportation needs, sit with them, see to other physical needs, pray and the list goes on. 

But, along with these things, there is another thing you can do . . . give them a copy of the new book; Strength to Care: Reflections for Parents of Children with Complex Medical and Special NeedsThis book was written by a friend from my church; a husband and dad who, along with his dear wife, have been blessed with five children - three lovely daughters and two sons. This family understands first-hand what it means to be thrown into the chaos which follows the birth of a child with serious physical needs because this has happened to them two times with the births of their sons.

In Strength to Care: Reflections for Parents of Children with Complex Medical and Special Needs, Kevin Troupe shares their experiences and how they grew closer to God and learned what it means to trust Him through the births and day-today living of life with special needs sons. And while this book is sure to encourage and give hope to families who find themselves in similar situations, it will challenge us all to stop living our lives as if we are in charge - because we clearly are not - and to instead make the choice to trust God and rely on His strength for our own lives and to care for others.

Kevin says; "When our third child Matthew was born with a rare genetic disorder it only changed what was important in life . . ., everything is a gift and it is up to us how we respond to what is presented to us in life. After overcoming the adjustments of life with a special needs child, we decided we were not done with having children. God chose to bless us with another child with the same genetic disorder, even though it is almost statistically impossible. Isaac is now a part of our continuing story of faith, perseverance and joy. 

I started sharing stories of our journey over five years ago in a blog entitled 'Lessons from Matthew'. At first I thought sharing our story was a creative expression and a way to help others. What I have found is it helps me just as much. It helps my wife and the rest of our family reach out and see people, hurting people more clearly and it helps to put our own struggles into perspective. In return, we are strengthened. We have become a voice of hope and encouragement as we talk and interact with doctors, nurses, caregivers and to the groups we have been asked to speak to and share our story with. We have spent countless hours in surgery waiting rooms, much more time, measured in days and months in hospital rooms and immeasurably more hours with caregivers and nurses in our home over the past 14 years sharing our faith in words, but even more importantly in our actions and in serving through a listening ear and loving people right where they are. As it often turns out, we have been blessed just as much as Matthew and Isaac have touched many lives and have been embraced by thousands who have laughed with us, cried with us and prayed us through each step of their lives. 

'Strength to Care: Reflections for Parents of Children with Complex Medical and Special Needs' is a collection of stories, or lessons, which all share a common theme of a hospital stay, surgery, complication or just plain old life is really hard right now. It is our prayer our journey encourages you and gives you strength to care more deeply and with more understanding as you take care of the ones who have been placed in your care."

Read Strength to Care: Reflections for Parents of Children with Complex Medical and Special Needs and you will be challenged and encouraged in your own walk as well as in how you care for those God brings into your lives. Pass it on to families you know who go through difficult times - it is a great resource to keep on your bookshelf! 

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