|Image courtesy of sakhorn38 via freedigitalphotos.net|
It is hard to believe that my journey of parenting a child with chronic illness began nearly fifteen-and-a-half years ago on a warm spring evening in 2000. Beautifully bursting into the world with his jet black hair and inquiring eyes, our son's diagnosis of Hemophilia A - Severe broke our hearts into a million sleep-deprived pieces as we received the doctor's words with shock.
Back then there were far more questions than answers for us. I recall that right from day one, he had troubles that left the hematologist saying, "Hmmmm. THAT'S not supposed to happen." Those are terrifying words when you are trusting a so-called expert with your fragile infant's life.
Much like Corrie Ten Boom expressed in her life-changing book, THE HIDING PLACE, I could see how God had prepared me to be the mother of this amazing boy. Through the multiple challenges of miscarriage and infertility treatment, I had learned to become my own best medical advocate and a wise consumer of health care. I quickly transferred those skills to the care of my son.
At that time, the flow of information was so completely different from today. After initial diagnosis, it was our hemophilia treatment center's custom to dispense Laurie Kelley's classic, RAISING A CHILD WITH HEMOPHILIA to every new, bewildered set of parents. I stayed up many a night devouring each chapter in hopes of learning how to care for our beautiful son. Even so, if I had questions that needed more detailed answers than the book offered or I needed my suspicions about our own situation validated, I had to wait to either connect with another family walking this same journey by phone or by attending a rare diagnosis-specific family conference. Needless to say, I always left those exchanges head swirling with enlightenment.
These days, it's a whole new ball game for hemophilia and every other chronic diagnosis or disability. With the explosion of social media over the past decade a parent can literally get answers to questions or concerns from peers across the nation within seconds. That is incredible when you stop to ponder it!
In the Bible's Book of Esther, the heroine is a young Jewish girl who is married off to the Persian king for God's good purposes -- the saving of her people. Raised by her older cousin, Esther was hesitant when he prompted her to go to the king to plea for her people's lives. In a pivotal moment her cousin, Mordecai, utters the words quoted in Chapter 4, Verse 14. He reminds her that perhaps God put her in the role of queen for such a time as this, where He could use her to influence the safety of His chosen people.
When I stop to consider how information flows at lightning speed these days, I have to ask you what I have asked myself: Is it possible that God has given you this gift for such a time as this? While He may not have assigned you to rescue an entire nation of people from the clutches of death, could He have placed you where you where you are, with all of these connections, with all of this information, and with all of these tools for His good purposes?
Consider just a few of the ways your Maker can use you and this gift of internet connectivity for your good and His glory:
- You can offer your child better, tailor-made care because of your ability to examine many alternatives on the web.
- You can give and receive encouragement from other parents walking your similar journey at your convenience online.
- You can receive an emotional boost by reading virtually endless inspirational stories on millions of blogs.
- You can advocate for your child and spread awareness of their diagnosis merely by sharing with your friends on social media.
- You can access advice and resources quickly through online discussion groups.