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Hope or Discouragement

Krisann, our 7-year-old, was not planned.  Y’all, Zine and I should be prepping to be empty nesters,  but God gives us Krisann Grace.  I never will forget the night I came to the realization that I must be pregnant.  However, God does not make mistakes, and literally her name means a gift from God.  This child has SO much hope that often leads to anxiety and discouragement and then back to hope, back and forth, back and forth.  She is parenting delight and nightmare to say the least!! 

This child has been given an unexplainable hope that her dad would not have MS.  When Zine was receiving chemo, every time we talked she asked if her dad had been healed.  A few weeks ago, she made a trip to Arkansas with me.   While we were there, she asked if I thought dad’s MS would be healed while I was gone.  On the way home, she wanted to talk to her dad on phone.  Know what she asked, daddy has your MS gone away while I’ve been gone?  Hope is a fantastic wonderful thing!  She is teaching us new things about waiting expectantly for God to work.

The challenge to this hope is the discouragement that comes after the healing does not come.  It is honestly like having her heart crushed over and over and over again!  As parents, we struggle to know how to parent her in her hope and comfort her in her discouragement.  It is soooooooo hard!!!!

A New Hope

This week a new drug was approved to treat MS.  Two treatments a year and it has been a miracle drug for some, supposedly with less side effects.  As we were talking about it and even watched a few videos on it, Krisann’s hope rises to the top again.  I promise, I have never in my life experienced or witnessed such a heartfelt hope.   I wish I could catch a glimpse of her hope on video sometime.  There are no words that can adequately explain it.

How do you tell your 7 year old, who has a brand new unexplainable hope and belief that a new medicine is going to cure her dad, that the chances that Zine would even be eligible to receive the drug is slim?  How do you tell your 7 year old, that even if some drug cured MS, it doesn’t fix the permanent damage that has already occurred?  How do you support her in her unexplainable hope?

Parenting Nightmare

We desire to encourage that girl in her hope!  However, we know the reality of this situation.  God could choose to heal at any moment.    We totally believe that.  However, we don’t focus our lives on that happening, because of the heartache when it doesn’t.  So we try to live in the present and will be totally excited if God surprises us with healing.

Learning to know what is a true God given hope versus what is a denial of reality is tricky.  Understanding how hope turns into horrible discouragement makes it even harder to know how to encourage hope in her heart.  Our desire is to turn our children’s hearts toward Jesus.  So when we don’t encourage the hope and try to give facts, then it feels like we are turning her heart away from Jesus.  I’m wondering if anyone would like to come try this parenting nightmare for a few weeks??!!

MS Anxiety

My children often have the most heartfelt conversations with us while we are driving down the road.  I have literally had to find places to pull over because a conversation needed my full attention and response.  Today, was one of those.  Anxiety raised it’s ugly head today… in the car.

Krisann says mom, I’ve been having this problem for quite some time now.  My leg feels fine when I do this and she puts her legs out in front of her.  Then she says, but when I do this and she moves her leg up in a funky way on her seat, it hurts.  Mom, I’m getting worried that I might be getting dad’s MS.  Can I just say, my stomach went to my throat?  I’m not even sharing the rest of that conversation.  Enough said right there.

Parenting is hard work for anyone!  Parenting Krisann is like taking care of a time bomb about to explode.  It’s going to explode with butterflies and rainbows, or it might explode with loads and loads of heartbrokenness and tears, or it might explode with raging anger.

Parenting Advice

If I had a nickel for every time I have heard statements like if that were me I would do this; if that had been me, my mom would have done this.  We have even had to deal with some negative parenting statements from our almost grown children.   We are all about brainstorming possible parenting ideas with others, but condescending statements are never a blessing.  What we are discovering is that Krisann is a completely different product than our other two.  Her surroundings are totally different.  Her life is totally different.  Her security is totally different.  This child has lived from one tragedy to another.  Unfortunately she’s not had the blessing of being in an emotionally stable home.  Therefore, she is definitely unique not only in her clothing choices but also in her emotions.  I’m thinking that even the best parenting advice might not work for her.

(Please don’t go tracing back every conversation we’ve ever had trying to remember if you’ve been one of those with one of those statements!!!!  No hurt feelings I promise!)

Our Prayer

God give us the words at the exact moments we need to minister to her heart.

Whisper in our ears when it is the season to encourage hope and when it is the season to discuss reality.

Help us control our own emotions amidst her anger and impulsiveness.

Teach us how to continually turn her heart toward You but help her not avoid reality.

Show us how to love her well amidst butterflies and rainbows, tears galore, and raging anger.

Allow MS to transform her and not scar her.

I think this prayer is repeated hundreds of time a day!

We actually pray that prayer for all our children.  My favorite prayer…Allow MS to transform my children and not scar them.  That line is truly my heart’s cry continually.


Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Beth

    Krisann is much different than your others. Some is environmental and situational, but I believe that a lot of it is just the way God created her. I think your may see some changes in her thinking and ability to cope in the near future. Children do not really understand the difference between imaginary and reality until 7 or 8. It is my experience and opinion that in intelligent, creative kids, this comes later more than sooner. Prayers for all of you, especially for little Miss Surprise

  2. Crystal

    Oooh, she is a fireball! I’m glad she is free to struggle openly. She is a tremendous young lady and SO MATURE for a mere 7 years. Love that!! The pic of she and Zine smiling at each other is so tender. I am so glad you share community with us!!

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