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Strength to Care

Lessons from Matthew & Isaac – Our CHARGE Syndrome Journey

Strength to Care

Matt & Isaac

Isaac and Matthew sharing a movie together

As the calendar is quickly approaching June I am reminding myself of my goal I made as last year came to an end. I have always considered this blog to be a means of putting my thoughts down in written form to “someday” write a book about our experiences of raising one, now two kids with a complex genetic disorder called CHARGE Syndrome. In fact, if you have ever read the sidebar column to the right it has always been there in the little bio of the Troupe family. I had always thought I would call my one book “Lessons from Matthew”. Now, almost five years later, we have a bigger story to tell than just about Matthew. I remember talking with my now former neighbor, who has his own ministry through music and as a radio host, when Isaac was born his words were so true; “Kevin, you now have another chapter and perhaps another book to write” as we talked about embarking on our new journey with Isaac.

Many have asked about why I write about the journey of life in the Troupe house. I have always answered that it is just another creative outlet for me to express myself. As time has passed and our journey has reached across not only our own area but now across the continents I found assurance that my writing and our story brings hope and strength to others. It has become even more clearer after reading the pages of another author who expressed what I have always felt. Ken Gire, in his book titled At Peace in the Storm: Experiencing the Savior’s Presence When You Need Him Most, Ken shares these words:

While it seems almost counterintuitive, service to another can buoy both in extending relief to someone else, we can experience peace in the midst of our own chaos. This gift of God…to experience God’s gentle grace in the service of others…is woven into the very fabric of our being. Time and time again, I’ve found that when I serve others, it puts my struggles in the background, putting them into perspective. When we stretch out an arm to serve others who are being tossed about by life’s waves, we are girded with strength to endure our own. Ken Gire At Peace in the Storm: Experiencing the Savior’s Presence When You Need Him Most

At first I though sharing our story was a creative expression and a way to help others. What I have found it that it helps me just as much. It helps Theresa and the rest of our family reach out and see people, hurting people more clearly and put our own struggles into perspective. In return, we are strengthened. We have become a ministry of not just bricks and mortar and a mission statement. We have become a voice of hope and encouragement as we talk and interact with doctors, nurses, caregivers and to the groups we have been asked to speak and share our story with. We have spent countless hours in surgery waiting rooms, much more time, measured in days and months in hospital rooms and immeasurably more hours with caregivers and nurses in our home over the past 14 years sharing our faith in words, but even more importantly in our actions and in serving through a listening ear and through loving people right where they are at. Ken Gire talks about this as well:

Behind the cardboard sign, the tattoos and piercings, the bankruptcy, the divorce, the public failure…is a person. A person with a name and a story. People hear sound bites. God reads the long chapters that lead up to today’s headlines, and he knows our unfolding stories. Good Samaritans and peacemakers look at people with eyes of mercy, not through them with eyes of judgment. They see the bigger picture and never stop praying for a redemptive turn in another’s evolving story, no matter how seemingly hopeless. This is the type of care God invites us to extend to others, and it is the surprising gracious care that we receive from the very hand of God. Ken Gire At Peace in the Storm: Experiencing the Savior’s Presence When You Need Him Most

I mentioned at the beginning about fulfilling a commitment I made at the beginning of the year. Actually it is a commitment I made to myself when I began writing this blog several years ago to publish a book. That work has turned into much more than just a book. As this process unfolded I have moved in the direction of a series of books under the title of Strength to Care. The first book will have the subtitle of: Reflections for Parents of Children with Complex Medical and Special Needs. I have a second book about halfway completed which is a collection of other families stories…but more about that later. This first book is a collection of blog posts that center around the theme of a hospital stay, a surgery or just plain old life is hard right now.

StoC softcover

Strength to Care Book Cover

We have been blessed by God’s surprising gracious care over the years. We have also been blessed by your continued prayer and support as we have shared our lives with you. Now, we would like to give back to you and give you the opportunity to help us in a tangible way. The first book of Strength to Care is currently in the last round of edits before being published near the end of June or the first weeks of July. I need help with promoting this book and am looking for people to be a part of the launch team to get the word out there. When the book is published I am starting with a “soft launch” and will be able to offer it for free as an e-book for those who are willing to read it and post a review or to share it in a blog post or with your friends and family through social media channels (or all of the above). The book will be available for purchase as a printed book and as an e-book on Amazon. There will be other times I will offer it for free as an e-book for promotional purposes. If you would like to join the launch team I have created a closed Strength to Care Facebook page. When you join I will keep you up-to-date with the details of how-to and what-to do’s to get your free book and how to help launch Strength to Care. By joining you will also be the first to read the book!

Strength to Care – Facebook Page (click on link to join the Strength to Care launch team)

This book is more than just an opportunity to share my writing and to sell books. In fact, that is why I am willing to give it away as much as possible. I have had a few people read the book as it has been edited and my blog posts formatted into a book form. One comment, echoed by several is that this reflections book, although intended to reach many hurting parents and caregivers, is for everyone who needs hope, encouragement and strength in their lives. Comfort comes when we know we are not alone in our suffering.

Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

As you go about your daily lives this week be reminded as you are being tossed about by strong waves…by offering an arm to others you are girded in strength to face your own struggles. Also, as God’s peace and love grow in you as Good Samaritans and peacemakers, look at people with eyes of mercy, not through them with eyes of judgment.

I pray that you have been blessed by our lives and will be will be blessed through this book. We have certainly been blessed by your prayer, your kind words, spending time with us as we wait out another surgery, visited us while tending to our boys in the hospital, enjoyed your meals, your companionship and the many other ways you have been the hands of Jesus on our lives. In so many ways you are each a part of our story, this blog and the coming books.

Kevin is available for speaking to groups of any size. Click on the “Want Kevin to speak at your event?” tab above for more information. You may share our story, our prayer needs and this blog as you feel led by using the share buttons below. If you would like updates on when new content is added to the blog or to keep up with current prayer requests for the Troupe’s you may subscribe at the top of the right hand column of this blog.