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It is no easy task to hold your disabled ill child, wondering what the next right thing is to do, how to alleviate her pain and discomfort – the plea to God ever present to see this child struggling to make sense out of what is happening, and to please, please do something. The medical people rush in and out with vials and tubes, phoning doctors, talking in medical terminology. And all you can do is pray.

The LORD’s omnipotence is without question – Revelation 22:13: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” His omnipotence existed even before creation – John 17:5: “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

Jesus, the Son, became human so that He “… might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9) – He fulfilled the promise made after the fall of man: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John1:14).  And He was obedient to the Father unto death.

In His omnipotence He did not have to do it – He does not have anything to learn. He did it out of love for mankind – Isaiah 53:5: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (John 3:16 as well).   

Does the LORD see the suffering of the weak and the disabled? Hebrews 4:15 says “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin”. Zephaniah 3:19 says “Behold, at that time I will deal with all who afflict you; I will save the lame, and gather those who were driven out; I will appoint them for praise and fame in every land where they were put to shame” (emphasis mine).

And this gives comfort to a parent with a disabled child – to know that the LORD does not value human life in financial terms and measurable achievements as the world does, but as His plan for redemption of mankind falls in place, you child will be there – with Him!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Willi & Anje




 Hallo Bev (and everyone else),

Thank you for your support & encouragement.

Bev, if possible, I would like to get more info on the Bible study that you have done (my husband and I like to read on disability - especially from a Christian perspective). 

It is humbling to realise that there are Christian parents from all over that are experiencing the same trials and joys with their children.

A while ago I came across a piece on the internet that was written to mothers with disabled children - for me it speaks about a lot of issues that parents with disabled children deal with - whether the disability is mental or physical.

I would like to share it with you. 


For Special mothers

My friend was expecting her first child. People keep asking her what she wants. She smiles demurely, shakes her head and gives the answer mothers have given throughout the ages of time. She says it doesn’t matter whether it is a boy or a girl. She just wants it to have ten fingers and ten toes. Of course, that’s what she says. That’s what mothers have always said. Mothers lie.

Truth be told, every mother wants a whole lot more. Every mother wants a perfectly healthy baby with a round head, rosebud lips, button nose, beautiful eyes and satin skin.

Every mother wants a baby so gorgeous that people will pity the Gerber baby for being flat-out ugly.

Every mother wants a baby that will roll over, sit up and take those first steps right on schedule (according to the baby development chart on page 57, column two).

Every mother wants a baby that can see, hear, run, jump and fire neurons by the billions. She wants a kid that can smack the ball out of the park and do toe points that are the envy of the entire class. Call it greed if you want, but we mothers want what we want.

Some mothers get babies with something more.

Some mothers get babies with conditions they can’t pronounce, a spine that didn’t fuse, a missing chromosome or a palate that didn’t close.

Most of those mothers can remember the time, the place, the shoes they were wearing and the colour of the walls in the small, suffocating room where the doctor uttered the words that took their breath away. It felt like recess in the fourth grade when you didn’t see the kick ball coming and it knocked the wind clean out of you.

Some mothers leave the hospital with a healthy bundle, then, months, even years later, take him in for a routine visit, or schedule her for a well check, and crash head first into a brick wall as they bear the brunt of devastating news. It can’t be possible! That doesn’t run in our family. Can this really be happening in our lifetime?

I am a woman who watches the Olympics for the sheer thrill of seeing finely sculpted bodies. It’s not a lust thing: it’s a wondrous thing. The athletes appear as specimens without flaw – rippling muscles with nary an ounce of flab or fat, virtual powerhouses of strength with lungs and limbs working in perfect harmony.

Then the athlete walks over to a tote bag, rustles through the contents and pulls out an inhaler.

As I’ve told my own kids, be it on the way to physical therapy after a third knee surgery, or on a trip home from an echo cardiogram, there’s no such thing as a perfect body.

Everybody will bear something at some time or another. Maybe the affliction will be apparent to curious eyes, or maybe it will be unseen, quietly treated with trips to the doctor, medication or surgery. The health problems our children have experienced have been minimal and manageable, so I watch with keen interest and great admiration the mothers of children with serious disabilities, and wonder how they do it. Frankly, sometimes you mothers scare me. How you lift that child in and out of a wheelchair 20 times a day.

How you monitor tests, track medications, regulate diet and serve as the gatekeeper to a hundred specialists hammering in your ear.

I wonder how you endure the clichés and the platitudes, well-intentioned souls that explain how God is at work when you’ve occasionally questioned if God is on strike.

I even wonder how you endure schmaltzy pieces like this one: saluting you, painting you as hero and saint, when you know that you are ordinary. You snap, you bark, you bite. You didn’t volunteer for this. You didn’t jump up and down in the motherhood line yelling: “Choose me, God! Choose me! I’ve got what it takes.” You’re a woman who doesn’t have time to step back and put things in perspective, so, please let me do it for you.

From where I sit, you’re way ahead of the pack. You’ve developed the strength of a draft horse while holding onto the delicacy of a daffodil. You have a heart that melts like chocolate in a glove box in July, carefully counter-balanced against the stubbornness of an Ozark mule.

You can be warm and tender one minute, and when circumstances require intense and aggressive the next. You are the mother, advocate and protector of a child with a disability. You’re a neighbor, a friend, a stranger I pass at the mall. You’re the woman I sit next to at church, my cousin and my sister-in-law.

You’re a woman who wanted ten fingers and ten toes, and got something more. You’re a wonder.

By Lori Borgman, May 12, 2002   


God bless all,


Hallo Bev,

 Thank you - will definitely get hold of your book.

I think it was Elisabeth Elliot that said in times of adversity you have to get up and do the next right thing.

God bless all, Anje

John 9:1-5

A while ago I related to my husband a – although well-intentioned, but still, thoughtless comment I received regarding parenting a severely handicapped child.

Willie listened to me and then asked me what my reactions would have been towards a parent with a disabled child before Ingrid was born. And that got me thinking.

To be honest, my reaction would have been that I’m sorry about your child – but I would have been thankful that it was not my child. More or less the same attitude that triggered my complaints.

Every now and then I return to the passage in John 9 on the man that was born blind – I think any parent with a disabled child is familiar with this passage. I remember a few people quoting this passage after Ingrid’s diagnosis.

Initially I did not grasp the enormous truths in the passage. The question that struck me was that who the audience was that Jesus addressed when He said in verse 3-5 “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

He was addressing His disciples – possibly the twelve apostles and those who followed Him. The blind man was also there – Jesus subsequently healed him. But his parents are only mentioned later in the passage (verse 18-22). Jesus was speaking directly to His followers – and not to the blind man’s parents.

What did I learn from this?

  • I am a follower of Jesus Christ – striving to be more and more like Him in this life, but still with a sinful nature    
  • Taking care of  a handicapped child has given me vast new insights into parenting – I can now say to other parents with handicapped children that they have my highest admiration
  • Having a handicapped child does not grant me special privileges or a front-row seat in heaven. I have to submit to the will of the LORD – only then will His kingdom come and be witness to His glory and power.  

God bless all,




My name is Anje - married to Willie Botha. We are the parents of Magdel (11 years) and Ingrid (6 years). We live in Pretoria, South Africa.

We found the web-site through the Pot family blog and would like to share our family's story. 

Magdel is attending grade 5 at a Christian school and doing well. Ingrid was born with a rare chromosome translocation (9 to 17 - I can't remember the break-points any more - will have to look it up), agenesis of the corpus callosum and refractory, intractable West syndrome. She is cortically blind, hypotonic, has no speech and is at age 6 years developmentally like a 3 month old baby.

After finally hearing Ingrid's shattering diagnosis and prognosis at age 5 months, we entered a whole new world of parenting a severely disabled child with a poor prognosis.

My husband used the analogy of the LORD telling Abraham to take his only son and go to Moriah - Abraham obeyed and went there in faith. So we too, have to walk this road in faith.

On our journey we have lost friends and some family members too. We have had to deal with various comments and platitudes in waiting rooms, at church, hospitals, work-places - some of these were well-intentioned, some thoughtless, some cruel and some were kind.

We have learnt to cope with very little sleep and various medical equipment. We have done quite a bit of research on our own and have found creative ways of administering medication and nourishing and stimulating a disabled child. We have learnt to attach the correct meaning to various gestures, movements and uttered sounds. We have also learnt that seemingly small and routine acts (such as having a bath) can calm an agitated child and sooth a feverish body. Vanilla flavoured custard is the best food invented.

We had (and still have) many questions and few answers - but we have learnt to wait upon the LORD and to hold onto 1 Corinthians 4:1 "Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God."

We have gained a new understanding when parents utter the words "We have a disabled child."  And we offer our highest admiration to them.

We would like to hear from you.




Hallo Sara,

Thank you for your kind words. I read several blogs in the past and was very thankful to come across this one.

I read some of the discussion forums and I think the "Why" question is one that is difficult for parents with a disabled child to deal with - it still comes up for me at times.

Illness, pain and disability is part of the sinful world we live in - Rom 5: 12 "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned-".

The difficult part for a parent is when he is faced with the question "Why my child?" And to live and experience their child's suffering and struggles in this world.

I think this has to do with our expectations when we decide to have children - I wanted a child that will have an A-average at school one day and eventually become a rocket-scientist (or something else on the same line). It is easy to be thankful for that.

When faced with the sorrowful reality of having a severely disabled child and all the crushed expectations that goes with it, we want to blame someone - ourselves, the doctor, God.

Until I realised that this child too, is a creation of God - John 9:3 "... Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him." And I realised that I cannot begin to comprehend the omnipotence of God - Isaiah 55:8&9 " For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."

As Job said "Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" (Job 2:10) Then I was humbled and thankful to be a "steward of the mysteries of God".

I have ordered Ian Brown's book from overseas - it is not available in South Africa - can't wait to read it. 

My husband and I also take turns to go to church - Ingrid's hyper-excitability and epilepsy make it difficult - but we still find comfort in church. Some of the best times we catch up and plan is at 3 o'clock in the morning over a cup of tea.

Oh yes - the custard. A store in South Africa (Woolworths) sells vanilla custard made with fresh cream amongst other things - on a bad day this is the only food that Ingrid tolerates with her Pediasure. She only drinks vanilla-flavoured Pediasure (you waste money on the other flavours). My husband says that chocolate is also a favourite (that like she gets from me). 

God bless - you and your family are in our prayers,




Hallo Sara & Mark,

Thank you for inspiring words.

I am familiar with the works of John Piper. I have just finished a course on Biblical Counselling - was presented by ministers that have trained and worked with Jay Adams and John MacArthur. We used books of John Piper during the course. One of the women I met there (Anna form Sweden), recommended a book by John Piper on Ruth and Naomi - 'A Sweet and Bitter Providence". I have always thought that the book of Ruth deals with losses to a certain extent and was interested to read it. My husband was able to get hold of a copy - and this book really speaks to me! 

I really did not think that the book will have anything related to disabled children in it - but in the book is a humbling and touching testimony of John Knight (who works at Desiring God) - who also has a disabled son.

God really works in mysterious ways - I will definitely have a look at John Piper's sermon.

I could gather from information on the internet that 'The Boy in the Moon' was not written from a Christian perspective - but I still thought that it might give insight to his experience as a father. Thank you for the caution, Sara - I will also read more of Vanier.

I hope that the meeting with Janneke's medical team were fruitful - you are in our prayers.

God bless,


Posted in: Hidden Truths

A pearl of great price

Shortly after Ingrid’s diagnosis, my wife showed me an analogy which describes parenting a disabled child – Welcome to Holland. I’m sure many parents of disabled children know this piece well: planning a family is like planning a glorious trip to Italy. But instead of landing in Italy you end up in Holland, having to change your plans for your much anticipated trip entirely. At the time my wife said that we ended up in Siberia in a blizzard. I told her that although we sometimes have to struggle daily to survive in our Siberia, there are also breath-taking landscapes, countless snowflakes - each uniquely formed by the LORD and that there was also no escape from His will and the path He asked us to walk. This truly taught us to rely on Him and Him alone.

Although at times we were unwillingly confronted by the world’s interpretation of the severely disabled (the inevitable question of what we must have sinned – and yes, this was said in our faces), the promises of the LORD never wavered – 1 Peter 1:7 “… the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,”. Jesus challenged the world’s prejudices when He said in Luke 13:4-5 “… those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will likewise perish.” Each one of us must repent of our own sins and then walk in Jesus’ footsteps.   

To me, Ingrid was as a precious pearl – Matthew 13:45-46 “… the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” A grain of sand forms a pearl in an oyster over a long period of time – what starts as painful process, produces a beautiful, precious pearl. And it was a privilege to be part of the process.        

With Ingrid’s birth, my wife and I joined a “secret” family – the world of families with disabled children. Although we only know a few in this family, we understand each other’s hopes, struggles and journeys. And when Ingrid’s task on earth was fulfilled and she went to heaven on her appointed time, we still remained part of this family. Because this journey changes you forever and you learn the true meaning of the words “Life is short”.

Jim Croce’s song – Time in a Bottle, describes the preciousness of the time we have with our families (even if one of them does not measure up to the world’s standards). I would like to share the words of the song:


If I could save time in a bottle

The first thing that I’d like to do

Is to save every day

Till eternity passes away

Just to spend them with you


If I could make days last forever

If words could make wishes come true

I’d save every day like a treasure and then

Again, I would spend them with you


But there never seems to be enough time

To do the things you want to do

Once you find them

I’ve looked around enough to know

That you’re the one I want to go

Through time with


If I had a box just for wishes

And dreams that had never come true

The box would be empty

Except for the memory

Of how they were answered by you


But there never seems to be enough time

To do the things you want to do

Once you find them

I’ve looked around enough to know

That you’re the one I want to go

Through time with  


To close – David’s tribute to the glory of the LORD in Psalm 8:1-2 “O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger.”

Soli Deo Gloria



Posted in: Hidden Truths

Hallo Sara,

I read your family's blog regularly - your journey are a part of my family, so many experiences resonates with us. We pray for you and your family.

As Willie said - we are still part of the world of parenting disabled children. It is just over a year, but many times I still wake up at night at the times when Ingrid had to be turned or cared for. You can only take sedatives for so long - so now I bake or sew or write at night and end up giving away what we can't use. And unconsciously I watch children that would have been Ingrid's age - another mom who also lost a child told me she does the same. A small voice still wonders "What if ...." 

Part of this journey will always be 2 Cor.12:9-10 "... My strength is made perfect in weakness ... For when I am weak, then I am strong." The encouragement and wisdom that comes from our journey, is from the LORD alone. There are still times when I feel I cannot take another step, and still, He is there and I can get up and go on, because He asks me to. 

God bless, Anje & Willie


Posted in: Hidden Truths

Last words

Ingrid Botha; born: 20 September 2005, 16h15; passed away: 2 March 2012, 12h50

Like Abraham, we walked our road to Moria with Ingrid, in obedience to the LORD. When we reached our Moria, it was not necessary to build an altar - Jesus was waiting for Ingrid, because He had already made the  ultimate sacrifice. We put Ingrid back into His waiting, loving arms.

And the angels rejoiced - because Ingrid was home at last.

In Zechariah 8 the prophet tells us of the New Jerusalem - in verse 5 he says: 'The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets '. And when I see my little girl again, free from convulsions, disabilities and illness, I shall run to her and my first words will be 'Do you remember me - I called you Ingrid!'

All glory to the LORD!



Posted in: Hidden Truths

A short article in Creation Magazine, 35(4)2013 (from Creation Ministries International), caught my interest. A UK politician compared disabled children to deformed lambs with five legs or two heads that need to be put down.

One is reminded of Hitler’s rants against humans he called “useless eaters”. Examples in history of attempts to create a society that is disability free are numerous – in Sparta a father had the legal right to terminate a weak child; in Rome the handicapped were raised in the dark.

Christianity introduced the idea that children like these were close to God (Luke 9:48 “…For he who is least among you all will be great.”)

But, somehow the desire to conquer sickness and imperfection is deeply embedded in human nature. When confronted with that which does not fit into our pictures and plans, we become uneasy. And try to make our own plans.

In Isaiah 45, God’s plan for the salvation of Israel and the world, is revealed. Verse 9-10 (from the Jewish Study Bible), reads: “Shame on him who argues with his Maker, though naught but a potsherd of earth! Shall the clay say to the potter, “What are you doing? Your work has no handles”? Shame on him who asks his father, “What are you begetting?” Or a woman, “What are you bearing?””     

What seems of no importance and little value to the world, is a precious pearl of great price to the LORD.

The link to the original article:  

God bless, Anje


Posted in: Hidden Truths

Last words from a father

I followed the forum on parents with children with disabilities with great interest with my wife. As Ingrid’s father I wanted to write a few words in her memory.

I know that my daughter is now free from pain and illness and that she is perfect and complete in the arms of Jesus. I also have the assurance that she is saved – Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Because I am a believing parent, my children are part of that bond I have in Jesus Christ. The road my wife and I walked with Ingrid for six and a half years, we walked in faith – there were difficult times, but through the grace of the LORD we endured.

During times of trails there were also tribulations – that will always stay with me. Although Ingrid was cortically blind and unable to talk, we still had word-less conversations with each other. I knew what she wanted without hearing any spoken word. Ingrid’s helpless state and her absolute dependence on us reminded me of our absolute dependence on God – Psalm 121:7-8 “The LORD shall preserve you from all evil: He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.”

I believe that the LORD had a purpose creating Ingrid that is beyond my human understanding – Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Although we buried her earthly, temporary body, I know that now she has a perfect, glorified body – 2 Corinthians 5:1-2 “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we can groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven.”

Unbelievers are not able to comprehend that death is only the beginning and not the end. Paul writes in Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” And I know that my little girl, Ingrid, completed her work on this earth and that she will live forever in the glory of the LORD.

Soli deo Gloria!



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