A Familiar Bible Passage Helps Reinforce My Sons’ Self-worth

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by Joe MacDonald |

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My sons reacted to hemophilia treatment in entirely different ways.

My oldest son, Julian, had one port-a-cath, while my youngest son, Caeleb, had eight. Julian had two surgeries, one to place the port and the other to remove it, while Caeleb required 16 surgeries for port placements and removals. Both boys have the same diagnosis, severe factor VIII deficiency, but their journeys had very different trajectories.

In addition to having the same diagnosis, my sons share a debilitating fear of needles. Infusing factor proved a nightmare. I attempted to find a vein while my wife held the boys down to keep them from moving. Although Julian and Caeleb are almost 10 years apart in age, they both said the same thing after I struggled to treat them: “I’m sorry, Dad. I tried the best I could to stay still.” Each time I hugged them and assured my mighty boys that they did nothing wrong.

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As they grew older, I noticed they became insecure. I couldn’t help but think back to when infusing often proved traumatic. I wanted them to know that their past struggles didn’t need to define them. The pain and terror they experienced in their earlier years had to remain in the past so they could move forward. I hoped to find words to assure them of their self-worth.

I remembered a biblical phrase that was a driving force in how I approached the development of my sons’ self-esteem. Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

The strength of the passage overwhelmed and reassured me. This holy text indicated that my incredible children, though born with hemophilia, live in perfection in the eyes of their Creator.

I want my sons to grow into mighty men who know that their struggles with hemophilia don’t mean that they’re flawed. They came into the world like everyone else, in the perfect image of God. Hemophilia has challenged them, but it doesn’t define them. Each son possesses gifts to share with a world that needs to experience their uniqueness.

I continue to assure them of their worth and the incredible gifts that the Creator placed within their souls. Never does a day go by without me telling them, “I love you.” I want them to remain secure, knowing that at least one person on this planet constantly affirms their importance. My wife and I model how to love and respect others, beginning with those closest to us. Each affirmation we speak into the world reminds my sons that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

As my sons turn into young men, I find my time with them evermore precious. I hope the biblical text I utter each day stays with them, especially in the darkest of times. Grounded in the security of self-worth, my guys may go out into the world and make a difference. And when times get tough, may they remember that they have a soft place to land by coming home to their parents.


Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

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