Sunday, August 3, 2014
You don't realize the power of one little word
I was gifted the other night, with the opportunity to simply listen to a mom's story who has special needs children. This mom has a child severely affected with autism as well as some other special needs children in her family and is doing a remarkable job with a husband who works primarily out of town much of a year. Let there be no mistake about it. Parenting one special needs child is hard enough, but having two or more can be downright daunting for the average person who will remark, "I don't know how you do it!" Believe me, we don't really know, either, you just do what needs to be done and it's simply the love for one's children that drives parents.
What I have discovered working with special needs children and their families, each need to not only feel valued, but be valued. One mother said to me that her disabled child "saved my life" due to a tumor being discovered while pregnant with this child during a routine ultrasound.
The majority of the parents who have disabled or special needs children are suffering, however. Whether it's lack of sleep due to their children's health issues; lack of a social life for both the parents and their children; trying to get the proper treatment, in it's various forms for their children; struggling with the school system to provide a proper education for their children, which is federally mandated by law; or financially making it due to one parent often needing to stay home with their children due to the severity of the child's disability. Parents of special needs kids have to fight and advocate for EVERYTHING that most folks take for granted. Even simple childhood activities like teaching kids to swim or ride their bikes is a huge undertaking, not to mention being invited to a peer's birthday party or social activity put on at school. Sadly, some parents also report being asked not to come back to church due to their child's disruptive behavior. Many have simply stopped going because it's simply a huge ordeal to attend in even the best of circumstances. Our kids tend to get over stimulated and highly reactive and for those who don't feel supported they end up simply staying at home instead.
What we can't forget, however, is in order for parents of special needs kids to care the best for their kids, they need to be supported and refueled on a regular basis rather than what tends to happen; forgotten. We all tend to be wrapped up in our own worlds. Its all to easy to do.
What was such a blessing, however, to both me and this mom, was simply having a sacred space to talk and allow for her to pour her heart out; sharing unfulfilled plans and simply starting to express to another person the "wondering" as to how things can start to turn around for not only her kids, but for her, personally. Simply by asking questions and offering support, this mom was blessed and so much so, that she reported to me that she had later had the best sleep she had had in a long time. Wow! Makes me wonder what more the Lord wants to do through our talks.
As my kids are learning in our evening devotions, there is something to be said about "Hope"