Without a Crystal Ball

Our Journey through Chronic Illness

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“God only gives you what you can handle.”

Over the past few years, I’ve heard the phrase over and over again. People say God gave us our son, Von, who is medically fragile, because he knew we could handle it. While talking to my pastor about it recently, he said this: “God doesn’t give sick children to some people and hand others children that are well. We live in a world that is broken and has disease. If God had a choice, no one would have disease or be sick.” I said, “People always say to us, ‘God only gives you what you can handle.’” He responded, “There is no biblical relevance to that statement. At no place in the Bible does it say that. God would not be for one person and against another.”

It finally all made sense. After years of hating this phrase, I felt vindicated. I believe our God is crying with us. I believe he’s guiding us and helping us find the best resources we can to help Von. I also know that if something happens to Von, it won’t be because God decided it was his turn to die. I’m realizing now that in faith and in life, we have choices, and I believe we can sit behind faith and God and feel powerless, or we can make the right choices and find the strength we need to be the best we can for our children.

I’m no stronger than you or anyone reading this story. I am simply a mother who refuses to give up on her child. I will go to the ends of the earth to find the resources he needs to thrive. I will call every doctor I need to call in order to find the medications we need or services we need to help him thrive. This is not about being stronger than anyone else or having the resources or a brain that is better than someone else. It all comes down to a mother’s love.

I believe any mother in the same situation would do the exact same thing. Your ability to get through difficult times is truly marked by how you manage adversity. I’ve always believed that I will never allow myself to be defeated by any of the obstacles life presents me. My view has always been to use all these obstacles as a way to learn and improve myself as a human and as a mother. There is nothing “super” about what I do. Many days, I don’t even think I do enough.

When we got the diagnosis for Von almost three years ago, so many people uttered that phrase to me. Now I realize it’s not because God thought I could handle it, but because sometimes life just doesn’t go the way you thought it would go. I will fight until my dying day to help Von and not allow this diagnosis define him. If his final breath happens before mine, I will know I did everything I could for him. When or if it happens, I will not be angry with God, because I believe he’s given me all the guidance he possibly could, and no matter what, he doesn’t control the outcome of each person. I’ll know we will meet again in Heaven.

I’ll know I wasn’t given it because I could handle it — I will know I was given Von because Von is supposed to be my child.

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