Skip to main content

How to Parent Through Difficulties

Terry and Claire: We have been married for 26 years, and our parenting journey began with the birth of our son Joshua, followed by our daughter Hannah 18 months later. Little did we know that our lives would take a drastic turn when we discovered, during a routine scan, that our unborn third child faced serious medical difficulties.

In a matter of moments, our excitement and joy turned into devastation as we learned that our daughter, Abigail, would be challenged with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. This meant she would face mobility issues due to spinal cord injuries and her brain’s inability to drain excess fluid.

Crisis had entered our home, altering the trajectory of our family life. As parents, we watched Abigail endure countless hardships and challenges that were not of her making. Over the years, she has seen specialists, undergone numerous surgeries, and received continuous physiotherapy. Her journey has led her from crawling on her stomach to walking with assistance and ultimately finding herself in a wheelchair.

Challenges like these come unexpectedly and take a toll on the entire family. Today, we want to share our insights on parenting through crisis, acknowledging that we are not experts, but we have learned to endure and embrace our circumstances while navigating this minefield.

First and foremost, we have discovered that reaching out to God is essential. Jesus reminds us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” We need Jesus as our source of strength, the ultimate overcomer who carried off the victory on the cross. Our belief in Him shifts our focus from the present difficulties to eternity, anchoring us in His faithfulness.

Parenting, we’ve realized, is a journey of discipleship. It involves not only leading our children but also growing ourselves as disciples of the Good Shepherd. Every hardship becomes an opportunity for personal growth, deeper faith, and falling more in love with Jesus. Our surrender and trust in Him determine our endurance and fruitfulness in the midst of crisis.

Hebrews 4:16 has been a significant scripture in Claire’s life: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” God invites us to receive His mercy and find grace in our crises. By drawing near to Him with confidence, we can break through the barriers of fear and abandonment. We choose to trust, knowing that God is always good, faithful, and present with us.

Breaking through these barriers allows us to experience God as our fortress, our unshakeable defense, and safe refuge. By leaning on Him, we can bear our souls, receive His steadfast love, and find grace for each day’s challenges. This truth has been liberating for us, and we desire for our children to grasp it early in their lives. Life may be unfair, but God is always faithful.

Terry: Claire mentioned that we should not go through crisis alone but reach out to both God and people. We want to highlight three categories of people who have been instrumental in our journey:

Friendships: Developing authentic friendships is crucial. We need people who can walk alongside us during tough times, loving us when we have nothing to give and pointing us to Christ when we feel downcast. These friendships challenge and support us.

Family: Our own family has been an incredible support system, and we are grateful for them.

The Church: By the church, we mean the body of Christ, the people who surround us. From the beginning, the church has provided us with tremendous support, carrying us with their love, compassion, and kindness. The practical assistance, care for our other children, and the sense of belonging we have found in the church community have been invaluable.


Claire: Parenting through crisis also requires us to foster authentic relationships with our children. We strive to create a safe space for open communication, where they can express their feelings without fear of judgment. We believe that acknowledging their emotions and allowing them to process their experiences is vital. It’s not always easy, but by being present, actively listening, and understanding their unique personalities, we can provide the personalized support they need.

Terry: Our goal as parents is to point our children to Jesus. We want them to have their own authentic relationship with Him. We strive to exemplify our faith through our actions, praying with and for them, and encouraging them to seek God in their own lives. We have discovered that providing opportunities for them to connect with God in creative ways fosters a strong spiritual foundation. Ultimately, it is our greatest desire for them to find hope, strength, and guidance in Jesus throughout life’s challenges.

Claire: Lastly, we have learned the importance of finding joy and creating lasting memories as a family. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Despite the difficulties we face, we actively choose to embrace joy, laughter, and praise. We embark on adventures and create memories that will last a lifetime. We believe that joy and hope are gifts from God, and we intentionally seek them out, sharing them with our children.

In conclusion, our parenting journey through crisis has taught us that relying on God, embracing community support, fostering authentic relationships with our children, pointing them to Jesus, and finding joy in the midst of hardships are key to navigating difficult times. We share these insights not as experts but as fellow travelers on this challenging yet rewarding path of parenting. May our story inspire and encourage you as you face your own trials, knowing that God is faithful, and He will guide you every step of the way.