Juvenile Arthritis. Those two words stung the first time I heard them. After spending the last year dealing with my three-year old’s growth hormone deficiency diagnosis and treatment, and spending years dealing with my own autoimmune diseases, infertility, and preterm labors, this was another burden I couldn’t bear. My husband and I were tired, frustrated, and emotionally drained. Why God? Why all this suffering? What is the purpose in all of this pain?
When you’re told your sweet baby has a chronic, lifelong autoimmune disease, it breaks you to the core. The treatments, the needle pricks, the steroids, the chemo, all left me feeling like I was drowning. I wanted to take it from him, but there was nothing I could do. I was forced to my knees. And in the midst of the pain and sadness, there was a steadfast hope that secured my soul—something that is unexplainable, powerful, and perfect. 
How do you prepare your heart and mind to deal with suffering, especially when it relates to your precious children? As moms, we image God in our deep desire to protect our children. But often we can’t protect our children from pain or control what affects them. I realized the only thing I could do in our situation was pray to the Lord, hoping he would help me find purpose in the pain that he might be glorified.
Sometimes we hear that God won’t give us more than we can handle, but scripture offers us a different perspective. God is glorified when he gives us more than we can handle because it helps us to recognize our utter need for and dependence upon him. God gives my husband and I far more than we can handle in the trials with our children’s medical conditions. There was a time when we held onto that hope we cherish so deeply by a thread. What we realized, by his grace, was we weren’t the ones holding on, rather we were being held by a good, faithful, sovereign, mighty Father. He always leads, always carries, always comforts, even when we don’t see it clearly yet.
God directs our sufferings with a specific purpose. There’s no waste, nothing meaningless in our pain—whether it be death, sickness, a diagnosis, infertility, miscarriage, broken relationships, postpartum depression, sleeplessness, never ending morning sickness, or whatever else your lot may be. We’re promised suffering in this life as we follow Christ. Acts 14:22 says, “Through many tribulations you will enter the kingdom of heaven.” We find comfort in knowing a good Father uses our suffering for our eternal good and his glory.
As mothers, we recognize our children are entrusted to us for a time, but they’re ultimately the Lord’s. We can’t control over their lives even though we’d like to. No matter how many healthy foods we feed our children, whether we choose to homeschool them or put them in a private school, what friends we choose to let them play with, etc.; at the end of the day, the Lord is sovereign over their lives, the decisions they make, their health, and ultimately, their salvation. Although we play an important role and it’s good to mother with wisdom, we must guard our hearts and minds from the temptation to distrust our good God when things don’t go as we would want. We won’t do this perfectly, but we can pray for help to trust God more deeply, trusting his purpose in it all.
Suffering helps us rely on the Lord. Whether we realize it or not, every moment of every day is more than we can handle in our own strength and power. We need God to be our shelter, our refuge, our comfort, and our strength in every moment. 
We try to avoid suffering, we pray for it to go away, we want nothing to do with the pain. It’s okay to cry out to the Lord with the longings of our hearts. But let’s also remember that the suffering we endure is also God’s grace to us. It can refine us and makes us more like Christ. What if we recognized that it’s being used as a gospel witness to those who don’t know him or will comfort someone else who will soon walk down the same road? And most importantly, what if this very suffering prepares us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison? God has a purpose in the pain, there is nothing wasted.
I look back over the past four years and all the suffering my children have walked through, and with confidence can say, I wouldn’t change a thing. The diagnosis, although stinging at times, also brings a sweetness to my soul. I love Christ more because of it, my husband loves Jesus more because of it, and my children have seen the gospel more clearly as we walk through the fire and point them to Christ. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). Suffering can lead us to Jesus in a way nothing else ever could, and for that I can say, it is well with my soul.
 Heb. 6:19
 Matt. 11:28
Lauren Capper is a wife, part-time accountant, and mama to two rambunctious little boys. She resides in Colorado where she loves running, hiking, and being outdoors. Her passion is to see mothers empowered by the gospel to bring God glory in the everyday. Follow her at Mommyhoodredeemed on Instagram or Facebook, a podcast she recently cofounded.