Facing trials with faith as a parent -- when children have health challenges

~by Valerie Fulmer

My husband and I have been blessed with three amazing children. Adam, Ben and Brooke (names have been changed) are teenagers now. Like others, we have had our share of trials. Tribulation in life can tear families apart, but with the gospel of Jesus Christ, they can bring families closer together. Among other health conditions, Adam was born with a mild form of Autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. Ben, at a young age, was diagnosed with a form of arthritis and later with fibromyalgia. He has other health problems as well. Brooke
was born with a rare form of Spina Bifida, in addition to several other health conditions related and not related to this birth defect. The boys have 7 doctors or medical professionals each. Brooke sees 18 doctors and/or medical professionals. They have attended well over 100 doctors appointments in their lifetime. Brooke has had numerous E.R. visits, hospitalizations and she has had seven operations. Two of these surgeries could have left her paralyzed from the waist down, or worse. She has been in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit about 3 or 4 times. Over the years our children have suffered emotionally and physically due to their health conditions. But
somehow they still find a measure of joy in life.

How is this possible? How can anyone find a measure of joy in life when trials and tribulations seem to bombard us from every side?

As found in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. This isn’t just some lofty principle that sounds good. It is the truth. I know it is true because I have seen it in our family life time and time again. Of course we have our less than ideal moments and experiences. Sometimes there are disagreements and tears. Sometimes there is physical and emotional pain that brings the children, and us as their parents, to our knees.
But alas, at the end of the day there is hope and healing. To the degree we read and study our scriptures, have family prayer, and strive to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, we as a family are blessed beyond measure. And our burdens are made to feel light.

Some of these blessings come in the form of supportive family and friends; competent medical doctors and specialists with a sense of compassion; necessary medication; opportunities to help and serve others; uplifting and inspiring music; laughter; a sense of belonging; feeling peace, comfort and hope; knowing that our Heavenly Father loves us more than we can imagine; knowing we can return to live with Him if we live the gospel and sincerely repent of our sins because of the infinite Atonement by our Savior, Jesus Christ; feeling
loved and needed by one another; and the list goes on.

Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nickname: “Mormon church“) has blessed my life in so many ways. I believe there are many wonderful people of other faiths. I invite all of them to learn more about the church and to read the Book of Mormon to find out for themselves what we believe. If they sincerely read this holy book, praying to the Lord as they do, it can change their lives for the better. To read how people’s lives have been touched by the gospel of Jesus Christ, go to www.mormon.org. To receive a free copy of the Book of Mormon, go to http://mormon.org/book-of-mormon/. I promise you it will change your life…for the better.

I love my husband and our precious children. I love our Savior Jesus Christ. I am thankful to be a member of His church. I testify that as we come closer to Him, He will come closer to us. With the Lord, all things are possible. And we can become the kind of person we were meant to be.