Perhaps you've sat in the hospital Intensive Care Unit or in a health clinic on your child’s birthday. Maybe your child is currently experiencing a setback, and the way forward isn't clear. No matter the circumstances, I encourage you to find at least one thing to be grateful to God for and to CELEBRATE it. Celebrate even the smallest achievement. Celebrate the one medication that was discontinued from your child's daily meds. Celebrate that you found a doctor or therapist who is meeting your child’s needs. Celebrate the fact you are reading this right now and being inspired to celebrate. Because…
YOUR CHILD’S BIRTHDAY IS ALSO YOUR CELEBRATION.
You have labored all these years. The sleepless nights, the hospital visits, the hundreds of miles driven, all the therapy hours, and all the other sacrifices you made were all worth it. Your child celebrates another birthday because there was You, a mighty parent standing beside your son or daughter each step of the way. So, don’t just pat yourself on the back but truly celebrate all that YOU have done to make this birthday possible. YOU ROCK!
I’ve found that it can be both therapeutic and memorable to make a birthday keepsake. Maybe it’s a poem you write, or a picture you draw, or an item you saved that reminds you of all that you and your child overcame that year. You never know when that keepsake will become your saving grace.
I usually write a Facebook post on my children’s birthdays praising God for helping us through another year and celebrating the life God has given us. Below is my post from yesterday morning…
Happy 3rd birthday to my miracle child! 3 years ago today, unto me a son was born. He didn't have dominion on his shoulders and didn't carry healing on his wings but his amazing life quickly pointed us all to the One who does and did. He who is sovereign proved every day that my son's life is in His hands and that He rules over any sickness. He brought healing to my son in so many ways. My son still has many diagnoses and lot of medical appointments, but the gift of life is evidence enough of how he's been healed. Thank you, Jesus, for making more birthdays possible!
My dear Daniel, every year I cry on your birthday. I cry because I'm happy. I cry because I'm thankful. I cry because you're proof that miracles happen every day! Today we celebrate the fact that you were not admitted in the hospital at all this year and that you haven't been in the Emergency Room in the past six months!!! (You've come a long way baby.) Although we added two new diagnoses to the list, this year was still your healthiest. As new doctors, nurses, therapists and other providers entered our circle of support, we are reminded that God is always with us and sends help in times of need. Thank you, Daniel, for pointing us to Emmanuel!
My dear friend, on your child’s next birthday, celebrate all that your child has accomplished within that year AND your efforts in helping your child grow.
Chou Gabikiny is a board-certified Christian counselor and the founder of Grace & Hope Consulting LLC, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As a parent of children with disabilities, she understands first hand the challenges of care-giving. Chou is passionate about supporting families with disabilities and/or special healthcare needs.