Have you ever heard someone’s story and just sat in awe of his or her strength and resolve? Somehow, people turn a tragic situation into something beautiful and hopeful. My husband has two children born with Cystic Fibrosis—two kids who were born with a life expectancy lower than his own. He has said he wouldn’t trade being a dad to two kids with special needs for anything in the world.
Because of my husband’s story, my heart connected to Tim and Marie Kuck. The Kucks gave a voice to their son, Nathaniel, in their book, Hope Lives. Nathaniel’s brief life was courageously lived with multiple health complications. Through this, the Kucks identified 5 F’s to lean on when you’re going through a tough time.
Tim said these 5 elements made a huge difference in his life. You might not have all 5, but don’t let that steal your hope. Lean on what you do have.
No matter who you are, you will encounter suffering. But when you have faith, the suffering is not in vain. It unites us with Jesus’s pain and allows us to grow closer to God. And when we can’t understand how a situation will ever get better or why it even happened in the first place, we have to remember that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.
When times are tough, you often find out who your real friends are. It makes a huge difference to have even one friend who picks the kids up on a crazy day, brings over dinner, or just lends an ear.
If you’re blessed to have loving, supportive family nearby, they are lifesavers when you’re exhausted, overwhelmed, or scared. The people who have known you the longest and can make your favorite recipe or help with the less-glamorous chores will give you peace of mind.
On top of your family’s crisis, you don’t need the stress of losing your car or home. Once you’re in a crisis, it’s too late to start planning or putting your money into an emergency fund. So start now, even if it’s just a little bit every month. And if you do find yourself in a pinch, a phone call asking for a payment due date extension is worth a shot.
A job that has flexibility in hours or a boss who will extend some grace is a huge blessing. While you don’t have much control in this area, try keeping an open line of communication with your boss and coworkers. There might be more flexibility than you think.
So what do you do if you read this list and think, “I only have one or two of these. Now what?”
You still have hope. No matter what you are facing—a chronically ill child, divorce, cancer, a family member battling addiction—hope lives.
No matter what you are facing—a chronically ill child, divorce, cancer, a family member battling addiction—hope lives.
What was most helpful when you were going through something difficult?
Tim and Marie Kuck co-founded the national non-profit Nathaniel’s Hope. Its goal is to celebrate all types of special needs while supporting and advocating for families whose loved ones have special needs. Its Buddy Break network provides free respite care to give families a break. Find out more and get a copy of Hope Lives at www.nathanielshope.org.