Thursday, May 16, 2013

Being Positive and Realistic

For a while I had chosen not to write very much about Trenton and his special needs. I did not want to "use" him as a means of writing, and I was not ready to share the difficulties we have been encountering. I came to the point though where I needed to write about it. It had been hard. I was trusting God with our situation, but there were times when I struggled to trust. I wanted to help others, but I also needed the help myself, and sharing was a way to soothe my own spirit as well.

In my life, I have known many people who had special needs or had children with them. I was even a nanny for a young girl with cerebral palsy and mental delays. All of the cases that I had encountered personally with children who had special needs were fairly positive. The parents were positive, and the kids, although delayed, were happy children. I felt drawn to this field even to the point of writing a major paper in grad school on autism. I remember thinking that I would be okay with having a child who had special needs. My view of this was through rose-colored glasses.

When I write to you all, I want to be positive. I'm not going to share every worry and struggle, but I also want to be realistic. I do not want someone who is in the same situation as myself to feel that there must be something wrong with them because they do not feel happy and full of faith at all times. I want those who are going through this or who may in the future to realize that the reality of these situations are difficult, but that they can do all things through Christ (Phil. 4), and that He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we could ask or think (Eph. 3).

You will probably struggle in many ways. You might question "why?" at some point. Your heart might feel heavy and overloaded with a burden of fear at the future, but in all of this, you can look to the Lord and remember that He is in control. You might feel depressed, but when that happens, you need to push out the depressed thoughts and think on the thoughts that honor God (Phil. 4:8). You might have daily struggles, and you might not know where to turn, but ultimately you can turn to the Lord. There is nothing you can be concerned with that the Lord will not understand.

There are many blessings involved with having a child with special needs. I know many of those blessings will become more clear over time, but many will be obvious right away. You will likely have seen the hand of God on the life of your child from the beginning, and that is a reassurance in and of itself. Look for the blessings, but know that you do have someone when the struggles come. You're not strange. You're human. You're a sinner saved by grace. If you are not saved by grace, you can be (Ephesians 2:8-9). Just tell God that you are sorry for your sins, that you want to live for him, and ask Him to take them away and allow you to go to heaven someday. Once you trust Him, you have access to the throne of grace at any moment.

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