Choosing God’s Strength: Parenting with a Chronic Disease

My name is Jodi. I’m wife to a wonderful, God-fearing man, and mom to two beautiful girls, aged eight and ten. I am also a fierce, bold, Jesus-loving, Multiple Sclerosis Warrior. 

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2010. It’s a disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves, resulting in nerve damage and disrupting communication between the brain and body. A variety of symptoms can come with the disease; some of mine include extreme fatigue, muscular pain, difficulty speaking and slurring my words. Having an autoimmune disease is incredibly challenging. Parenting with one is even more so.

Strength From Scripture

Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

We chose to homeschool for many reasons, one being that we wanted to be the ones to speak Jesus into their lives. Earlier this year, I started going through different books of the Bible with the girls. They love it. I read a few chapters of the book out loud, then the girls read and highlight verses they want to know more about. Afterwards we pray. It’s incredible seeing them each develop their own relationships with God. If my girls weren’t such mini prayer warriors, I truly don’t believe we’d have our favorite doggy ever.

Strength in Prayer

One Sunday during worship, I had the idea to go look at puppies. When we walked in to grab the kids from Sunday school, the teacher ran up to me grinning, and shared how he and the class had been praying for a dog for our family. Listen, I wanted to look at squishy faces, not take one home.  

We named her Joy and she is the sweetest blessing to us. Come to find out, the girls had been praying for months for their “Joy baby”. I never question their prayers and relationship with God.

My girls are pretty independent, and being able to homeschool has made our lives a lot easier as there are days I don’t get out of bed until 11am. (Not that I am sleeping; I usually open my eyes about 7:30am, but don’t actually get up until later. I can’t. Waking up is hard and my body seemingly has to remember what each part does). They’ll get their own breakfast, start their daily chores, and dress themselves. Most days my heart is overjoyed with the fact they’ll be good and ready for the world when their time comes. Other days, my heart can’t take it. I cry a lot. On those days I cling to Jesus, asking for his arms to wrap us up in them.

My oldest is becoming someone whose heart is about bringing God’s encouragement. She’ll bring me coffee she’s made and pray healing over my body. She’s only ten, but knows the authority she has when praying. It’s bittersweet to hear my daughter speaking truth. Maybe, just maybe, Jesus is turning my hardship into good for our lives?

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

 James 1:12

Strength to Serve Others

Serving is a huge part of who we are as a family, the girls included. Our favorite way to serve others is through food. For three years we lived in an apartment and would have community dinners every other weekend. Living there was such a sweet experience, but at times, difficult to watch the poverty happening around us. It was hard on my girls. They saw it and wanted to do something. We’d cook and deliver meals, sometimes twice a week.

They were learning to be the hands and feet of God, reminding my husband and I Jesus basics; “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Knowing that they “get” the heart of Jesus brings me extra grace for the hard days; knowing the challenges will all be worth it one day when I’m watching my little kingdom builders bring good news to everyone they choose to love on.

Passing On Our Strength

One of the things I want to show my girls is the strength which comes from being consistent and enduring, even when it hurts. We started going to a bouldering gym as a family, and it’s been a game changer. I used to climb in high school, and since my diagnosis I had been scared to try, but wanted my girls to see me push past the pain of this disease. I want them to know that Jesus is our ultimate healer.

The first few months were fire. My youngest struggles with fear, but after the first few times, she got it. Nothing was stopping me and she saw it. She built confidence in her climbing by watching me move past my own physical struggles. The girls are beasts on the wall. Fearless.

Regardless of our challenges, our highest calling and honor is to train up the next generation. Our kids watch us and learn by our daily choices. As flawed as we may perceive ourselves, I truly believe that with God as our strength, we CAN do it!

Read the other guest blog posts in this series of Real Women, Tragic Stories, and Inspiring Hope. Malia’s Story MJ’s Story

Guest Blogger Bio.

Jodi Nix is the author of “Letters to the Unbelieving Woman” and in the process of writing her second book. Her story is one of tragedy to triumph, and her life is a living testament of the love and redemptive power of God. Jodi and her husband, Shaun, live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with their two precious girls.

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8 thoughts on “Choosing God’s Strength: Parenting with a Chronic Disease

  1. Rhonda Hillabush

    The courage you show as you face this disease and all the hardships that come your way are a testament to your faith in a living powerful God. It’s not how many times we get pushed down in life that matters, it’s how many times we get back up. There is no keeping you down! Press on my mighty warrior, God has big plans for you.

  2. Tinsley Family

    Blessing to you and your family. So funny how your children prayed for a puppy and their prayers were answered. That should be a boost to their faith.

  3. Pingback: Black Heroes of the Faith Part 2: Katy Ferguson – A Child Shall Lead Them

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