From the moment we found out our child would be differently-abled, our hearts changed forever. It takes some time to get used to this transformation-- At first, we do everything and anything we can to find services and supports that may help, and we don’t stop—what I call “survival mode.” Survival mode is our body’s way of adjusting to the way this new heart feels—the rhythm of the beats, and what makes it tick.
As time goes by and our child makes progress, we know that this new heart was meant to be inside of us, we may even admit we actually like the way it feels. It’s easy when things are going well—decisions that we have made turn out to actually be what they needed, some goals are met etc,….
But when things aren’t always going good, and we can’t see any progress of our efforts, it is easy to get discouraged.
So much of the day-to-day routines and concerns for our kids can weight us down—sap us of our energy and strength, and eventually our hope.
Facing the challenges with our kids on a regular basis can be very overwhelming and can deter even the most optimistic and positive parent on any given day.
The weariness that goes along with this journey can make our once energized heart beat become sluggish.
Many days, our hearts need revived.
What do you do when your heart feels like it can’t go another step on this journey? Who do you turn to when you need a special parent lift, to put the spring back into your step to endure the bumps along this road?
Sometimes the smallest thing can help us get through an hour---and we all know that some weeks or months are definitely hour by hour--- even minute by minute.
I heard a special mom say recently that just by hearing an inspirational song revived her strength to get through that day. Another spoke of a night when family came to give her a night of uninterrupted sleep was all she needed to get back on track.
Depending on the status of your child at any given moment, these lulls in the state of our emotions can take over even the best day.
In my experience, most of the time, a third party that is supportive of my journey helps soothe my heart when it is feeling calloused. I am blessed to have many understanding, good friends that “get it” and an awesome, loving family that sees me through no matter what…
I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the strength that comes from my heavenly Father and the promises of His Word. His love and strength renewed my heart when I was a brand new special mom, and I don’t know where I would be if He hadn’t intervened and given me hope through my first few years on this journey….and He continues to remind me that He chose me for this task.
What about you?
Have you found other special parents that reassure you that you are not alone? Do you have some true friends that realize the parenting role you have is a little different from theirs, and support you?
If you don’t, my prayer for you this month is that you will seek out the opportunities in the community that are available—or get online and search for others that have children with some of the same issues that your child faces. Even if their child has a completely different diagnosis than yours, you must know that the feelings we face are all the same. We all share the same fears as well as hopes for our kids—so don’t be afraid to seek out other special parents—we all need each other. The professionals that your child sees on a regular basis may be the key to linking you to local families that are in need of support, too. I know first-hand that when we are feeling discouraged and don’t want to take another step forward, that is when you need to reach out to others the most.
Let the supportive people in your life to help you. A good friend that gets your world would be elated if you asked them for their help—and sometimes all we need is an understanding, listening ear.
Allow yourself to be renewed—don’t let your heart become so discouraged that you won’t let anyone in. We need each other—our kids depend on our strength and courage so they can continue to press on and fight—when we revive our hearts, our kids benefit the most.
Revive your heart, renew your spirit—your child is waiting.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.
1 Chronicles 28:20 NLT.
An actor in the movie “Ladder 49” said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear.” Obviously, he was referring to the courage firefighters have when risking their lives for others. When I heard this statement, it instantly resounded in my soul that the courage he was speaking of lives inside me, and in you…as special parents.
No matter how long you’ve been on your journey of special parenting, I’m sure someone has said to you, “I don’t know how you do it, I could never have the energy or courage to do what you do every day.” And I used to be one of those people, until my daughter came into my world.
I know I say it often but I strongly feel that we were chosen by God to parent our kids. He gave us the skills we were going to need as parents the day we were born…think about that! The thoughts overwhelm me sometimes…When all of a sudden, usually without warning, you have to go into a mode of yourself that you never knew existed, you can do nothing but have courage. You gather the strength from somewhere deep inside that was waiting, lying dormant, for your child to enter your life. He planned it that way.
Then, this little precious person becomes the thing that precedes everything in your life up until that moment, which is so much more important than any kind of fear that would like to take over.
What can be more important than your child? Whether you planned this life to be part of your family naturally, or traveled to another city or country to make him your own, the love you have for this child is without measure. Fear is not an option.
Fear creates chaos and distance. It breeds worry and uncertainty. We don’t have time for such thoughts or actions. We usually have too many appointments, meetings, and unexpected challenges that come up to allow any of those words into our vocabulary.
Think about how natural these things come to you-- You have become better at multi-tasking that you ever thought possible. You have become your very own crisis intervention specialist. You took (or maybe still are taking) a crash course on your child’s diagnosis or disability; you quickly became the therapist, physician, specialist, and parent….all at the same time. We don’t have time to live by fear. Fear is the opposite of faith.
I choose to live by faith. Faith breeds answers, peace and hope. Hope for our children’s future, and ours. Faith creates the environment for healing, progress, and accomplishments for our kids on a day-to-day basis. Can you imagine what our world would be like if firefighters lived by fear? We have their courage-- Courage to go where not many would choose to go, with faith, hope, and expectancy---for the life of another.
So, my prayer is that you realize how so very valuable your journey as a special parent has become. So valuable, that your life parallels that of a firefighter. Regardless of limitation, different abilities, or challenges, our children have taught us how to fight the fires of their disability, and face the heat with faith and courage.