Monday, May 10, 2010

THE SECRET SUPER POWERS OF PARENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS

"Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have, but answer in a gentle way and with respect." (1 Peter 3:15-16, NCV)

In this politically correct age, there is a pervasive struggle going on in Christian communities across this nation. People who believe in Jesus as the saving Son of God are feeling inhibited when it comes to sharing their faith. They wonder how they can tell others about what they hold as true without being brash or offensive. Christians walk in such fear of telling others about the Gospel, that complete series and volumes have been written on the topic, attempting to break through such barriers.

Yet, this is the one area where life is far simpler for those of us who have children with special needs than it is for the typical world. If our faith in Jesus has been our strength, our encouragement, our hope, then we have a unique opportunity to share it with other people because of our children's special needs. In fact, when our son was smaller, we used to tell him that his diagnosis was his "secret super power to tell others about Jesus"!

How is this so? Well, when bystanders see us going through incredible heartache, physical demands, and financial woes in living with a serious diagnosis, we stick out. And when they see us in what would be considered by most to be one of the darkest situations of life, but still shining with the hope of Jesus, they really take note. It is hard for others to ignore a person who is filled with an unspoken peace, joy, love and hope, despite their grave circumstances. Witnesses to such grace when there should be bitterness are left wondering. They can't help but be attracted and desire the same goodness in their own lives. This is the personification of St. Francis of Assisi's admonition to, "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words."

When we do need to use words, our situation gives us amazing credibility. You see, our suffering turns the guidance of the Bible from mere cheap talk into tested faith. People, seeing our persistence in the midst of our circumstances will often comment, "I don't know how you do it!" That presents the gentle opportunity for us to exclaim, "But by God," and to share our own story of hope. And no one can argue with your personal experience. Belonging to you alone, no words can negate what you've lived.

Does this mean that we never fall apart, do everything perfectly or have no concerns? Absolutely not! What it does mean is that we keep putting one foot in front of the other and by faith, continue to believe in that which we do not always see or feel. We live out that wordless hope, pressing on, knowing that we have One who gets us through the worst of times on this earth and who has prepared a perfect place for us in eternity. Our experiences increase our mercy, compassion and understanding towards the world around us, and makes us a source of wisdom to those who lack such knowledge.

Our suffering should sand off the rough edges of sharing our faith and open doors that are closed to others. My son never fails to ask me to pray with him right in front of medical personnel before he will ever let them near him with a needle. We parents are all imbued with those same secret super powers. What an awesome chance we miss when we fail to exercise those powers uniquely granted to us! May we always be prepared to gently and respectfully use that tool that God has so graciously equipped us with.

3 comments:

  1. I'm proud of my Super Powers!

    ...you make my heart glad today...thank you! xoxo

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  2. You nailed this! Truly inspiring...

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  3. Great post. Praise God for His power in our lives. Love ya, Amy

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