What Children Learn When Parents Face Adversity

by Sally Matheny
Children learn fom hard walls of adversity.
Sometimes life feels like an obstacle course. 
Zigzagging through distractions provides adventure. 

Successfully hurdling small problems brings satisfaction. 

However, occasionally, we find ourselves in a quagmire. We come face-to-face with a hard wall of adversity. 

People watch to see how Christians will handle these dilemmas. 

Our children are among them.

For weeks, I wobbled along with intermittent foot pain. I never had problems with my feet before. I dismissed it as aging pains until it finally got to the excruciating point of needing a physician. Even after following his advice for treating a Morton's neuroma, the pain worsened. My wobble turned into a Frankenstein Slide-Step.

A second trip to the doctor proved my Morton’s neuroma was a bit of a show-off. This nerve damage to the foot, typically affects the ball of the foot and two toes. Mine was affecting my entire foot and ankle. Plus, the good foot was beginning to show similar symptoms. Returning home with medication, I crawled into bed to wait for healing. 

It is improving, but ever so slowly. Remember the character Tim Conway used to play on the "Carol Burnett Show," with the white, Albert Einstein hair style? Remember his slow shuffle-walk? 

He moves faster than I do--seriously.  Patience is required; not only from me but from my family.
My husband has been wonderful but he has to go to work every day. That left me at home with our nine-year-old son. He is learning many things.

Labor of Love
*He knows Grandma loves his mom. So much so, she’ll come and help clean the house, and when she does, she expects him to pitch in and help. 
Go, Grandma!
He loves it when she calls to inquire if we’d like her to bring us a chicken pie and green beans. He enthusiastically shouts, “Yes!”  
Grandma has her own physical ailments, so he knows these things are a labor of love.

*He has seen this same sacrifice made by his aunt. After working an exhausting job, she has also gone home, cooked for us, and delivered it before feeding her own family. Our son's other aunt also sent a wonderful blessing—a wheelchair. Now, I have less pain moving from room to room. My little driver enjoys pushing me. He is learning how not to scare me when he makes turns.

*Grandpa made two trips to the store to find bedroom slippers large enough for my swollen feet. He has picked up groceries for us. Grandpa is still recuperating from back surgery. His grandson is witnessing how families takes care of one another. 

*My homeschool student thinks doing math and other subjects on Mom’s bed is more comfortable than at the dining room table. (Don’t get used to it, mister.)

*He noticed when my Mary Kay rep. came inside and asked if she could pray for me.

*He enjoyed meals two of our homeschool friends prepared for us.

Helping One Another
*He hears about church friends texting to check on me, and helping to fulfill my duties at church. And he knows about the emails from my long-distance writing buddies remembering me in their prayers.

*He has listened to the prayers of several friends and family asking for God’s comfort and healing for me.

*He watches his dad do the things I normally do like the laundry, grocery shopping, and cleaning the kitchen—and all without complaining. He also sees the gentleness and caring; the flowers dad brought home one day along with my favorite ice cream. He likes when Dad buys groceries. There's always things in the bag that weren't on the list, like three kinds of Oreos.

*My little boy hears my own prayers, thanking God for every step; for every minute of sleep without pain; and for many little things I appreciate more deeply now. He understands my sorrow for not being able to do as much as I’d like to do with him--and for him. Lately, he's been asked to do a great deal for himself. We’re practicing patience, together. We’re learning how to bless one another in different ways.

Pray for one another.
I want to say thanks to you all for the ways you’ve blessed our family. Your prayers mean so much—please keep praying. It’s going to be a slow recovery. Surgery may be required, but progress is made every day. God is faithful and merciful. I thank Him continually for you and your compassion.

Hopefully, we’ve been modeling compassion to our son over the years. But over the past month, he's observed it in a new way. It’s making an impact. At lunchtime the other day, he wheeled me into the kitchen. To my surprise, he had put a tablecloth on the table, set the table, snipped a flower from the ones his dad brought home and placed it in a small vase beside my plate. 

He announced, “And now that an adult is beside me,” before striking a match to light a candle. He throughly took pleasure in producing fire. So much so, he blew the candle out three times in order to light it again before I assured him it was well lit.
Then, he prayed a sweet prayer to God for our food and for me.

He’s growing up…in stature and wisdom.


1-1-15 Update: Not long after this post, I was correctly diagnosed with CPRD (Complex Regional Pain Disorder). Thankfully, I improved and moved out of the wheelchair. It's been almost a year since I was diagnosed. Even though the condition still exists, I'm praising God that I am able to walk,drive, and do my own grocery shopping now. Prayers for complete healing appreciated. 


  1. What a great post! Thanks Sally!

  2. Thank YOU, Mary Jane, for being one of God's blessings. I'm hopping over to your blog, now--didn't have a chance to read it last week but saw the intriguing title!

  3. Sally:

    I loved hearing about all the lessons your son has learned through observation of your husband, friends and neighbors; and from your own modeling. "Bless his heart".

    This was an excellent post to learn from. I pray for your continuous healing.


  4. Hi, Richard--so glad you stopped by and found encouragement. Yes, my son's heart has been blessed by so many. Thank you for your prayers.

  5. Love you and love your writing! You are a blessing!

  6. I love you, sweet sister. YOU are a blessing. :)

  7. I am sorry to hear that you are having problems with your feet. I am sure it has been a humbling experience to have to rely on others to help. It sounds as though you are being well cared for. I hope you continue to improve.


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