Lillian's Story

  • April 17, 2014
  • #8339

Kahla is the mother of Lillian, a girl with a disability. Life is hard, but she finds help through Family Retreat. 

Lillian's Story

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a story that will touch your heart.

It all begins with six-year-old Lillian. This kid stole my heart when I met her last summer at one of our Family Retreat. She is the most beautiful child with bright eyes, a happy smile and long hair that she wears pulled back on the side with a big bow. This kid likes big bows. And you know what? You hardly notice Lillian’s little walker. Yes, this child has to use a walker in order to get around. Let me tell you how her disability happened.

When Lillian’s mother, Kahla, was six months pregnant, she was driving her SUV and was hit head-on by a log truck. Kahla received a hip replacement and had many fractures in her lower back and pelvis. But with all of this, her unborn child, little Lillian inside of her, stayed put through all of her mother’s surgeries. Kahla spent eight weeks in the hospital, until she was finally sent home on bed rest. Kahla made it all the way to nine months when she delivered her baby by C-section. Little Lillian came out perfect! All looked great until about a year later when Kahla saw that Lillian just wasn’t progressing. That’s when she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. All of a sudden, Kahla knew she would be raising a child with a significant disability.

Now, here’s the thing: It just so happened that Kahla worked as a nurse for a special needs family. So right away, Kahla understood what raising little Lillian would involve. But here’s the really cool part: This family had been regularly coming to Family Retreat for years – they informed Kahla of what a wonderful experience it was, knowing that this mother and daughter would really benefit. And what do you know, when Lillian turned three years old, Kahla and her came to camp.

And for the last few years, Lillian has thrived at our Family Retreats. She simply cannot wait for the chance to go back – she loves her volunteer and she loves all the fun activities. And Kahla, her mother, is always blessed by Family Retreat, too – for her, there at retreat she doesn’t have to field questions about “What’s wrong with your child?” or “Why does she have to use a walker?” No, for her it’s a place of acceptance and understanding. Now I could tell you more, but you just have to see this child for yourself – and I’ve posted a wonderful video of Lillian at our Family Retreat. The happiness in this little girl will brighten your day, I just know it will. So please when you have a chance, go to and visit my radio page, and be blessed to watch Lillian at our Family Retreat. And if you like the video, share it on your Facebook page and spread the joy.

Finally, let me add that Kahla is a single mom raising her daughter with her disability. Life is not easy, but Psalm 68, verse 6 says that, “God sets the lonely in families.” Kahla has found support, comfort and encouragement at our Family Retreat. The loneliness of raising Lillian with all her challenges has dissipated through the many friends she’s made with other families. Friend, if you know a single mother with a child who has a disability, please share Lillian’s video with her and tell that mother about Kahla’s story -- tell her about Family Retreat, spread the word to as many special-needs families as you can. Because there is heaven-sent love and Christ-centered encouragement for women like Kahla and their disabled children like Lillian. It’s all for them and it might be all for you at our Joni and Friends’ Family Retreats.

© Joni and Friends


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