Friday, June 1, 2012


“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5, NIV)

Life as the parent of a child with special needs is anything but predictable.  Traumas are unexpected and perhaps more frequent than in the average family.  Adjustments seem continual.  Medical professionals may finally figure out a medication regime or treatment that is optimal for a child, and then that child grows, throwing off the entire routine, setting the process back to square one.  Despite our best efforts, we can find ourselves the unwanted recipients of meltdowns and melodrama. 

If you're anything like me, you would be rich if you had a dollar for every time someone has proclaimed, "I don't know how you do it," to you.  What is your response to people when they throw such a comment at you?  Is it a polite, bashful smile?  Is it a dismissive, Oh, it's really nothing?

My response to such a comment is always, "I couldn't do it without Jesus!"  Nothing makes me more keenly aware of my ineptitude quite like mothering children with special needs.  I can't control my temper apart from Christ.  I can't make good decisions without Christ.  I can't make myself push through every heartbreaking, tough piece of the journey, but for the continual influence of Christ.

Take this morning.  I am in the midst of orchestrating the sale of my parents' house.  I have several medical appointments I am trying to coordinate.  And I have several overdue projects for work.  I was up late working on all of this, so I overslept today.  When I oversleep, the entire family oversleeps.  Today is an infusion day, so we hurriedly went through the sterile process of reconstituting the medicine and preparing the IV to treat our son.  However, he doesn't do well in a rush, so a total anxiety meltdown ensued.  Meanwhile, our extra-grace-required daughter with her various diagnoses is shouting for our attention from her bedroom.  And did I mention that we woke up to discover there was no coffee in the house?

On days like this it is virtually impossible to keep from having a complete adult breakdown...  But for God.  Staying grafted in to Jesus, continually talking to Him through the insanity, asking Him to control my behavior and thought life is "how (I) do it!"  Or the days when I am depressed or beyond weary and can't take another step, that whispered prayer, "Jesus, apart from you, I cannot even take a breath today," helps me to press on.

Because of every challenge we face, we are left with the gift of perspective.  Every inch of success is to God's great credit.  I realize that the small victories of a good IEP or a family trip without constant arguing in the car are all the result of our constant clinging to Jesus.  An "easy", routine infusion has the Father's fingerprints all over it.  Everyone sleeping in their own beds at night are a precious, simple gift from God.  Knowing that my help comes from the Lord makes my heart swell with gratitude, pushing out life's darkness and yielding sweet fruit.

Persistently remaining as a grafted-in branch to the True Vine, is what keeps my head above water.  Even on the days where I'm plodding, barely moving one foot in front of the other, I know I'm moving in the right direction.  And on my better days, when I can sense the strength of the Risen Christ coursing through my veins, I can confidently proclaim, "In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall." (Psalm 18:29, NLT)  That's how I "do it".  How about you?

PRAY:  Lord, I realize my total foolishness in thinking I can do a single thing apart from You.  Help me to remain in You, so I can bear good fruit in my life.

1 comment:

  1. GREAT reminder and post, Barb! AND keep that desert island in mind as well!