Wednesday, September 18, 2013


But I gave up those things that were so important to me for Christ. Even more than that, I think of everything as worth nothing. It is so much better to know Christ Jesus my Lord. I have lost everything for Him. And I think of these things as worth nothing so that I can have Christ. I want to be as one with Him. I could not be right with God by what the Law said I must do. I was made right with God by faith in Christ.
~ Philippians 3:7-9, NLV ~

One of the hardest parts of raising a child with special needs is the loss.


There are times that it never seems to end.  Of course, when we speak of loss, most people think of that time when our children are initially diagnosed and dreams are smashed in a million glistening pieces.  Everything we had hoped for our children comes crashing to the ground.  I think of so many sports-loving fathers who have to come to terms with the notion that they will never toss a ball with their son or watch him attend their alma mater on an athletic scholarship.  

What most of the world doesn't realize is that the loss doesn't end at diagnosis.


There are almost continuous waves of grief that seem to wash over us as we raise our kids.  The departure of normalcy is one we must adjust to, creating a "new normal", while still being ever-aware of our differences.  We experience financial forfeiture as the bills begin to mount.  Certainly, our children are worth every penny we pour into them, but we would much rather be spending those funds on delightful birthday presents, family vacations and a terrific college education than on therapies and endless medical bills.  We also lose access -- to friends, to church, to inclusion at play dates, to a simple date with our spouse, and to countless public places we once wandered.

Yes, we just begin to recover from the buffeting of one wave of grief when another seems to inundate.  Raising children like ours is a lesson in perseverance to be sure, getting back up again, and again, and again.  At the same time, we are growing the skill of showing ourselves mercy, allowing for these times of sadness and departure from pleasant expectations.

I, for one, could certainly never bear these times without the firm foundation of Jesus Christ to lean on.  (See 1 Corinthians 3:11)  He is rock solid in our completely unstable world.  (See Deuteronomy 32:3-5)  He is hope to the hopeless and joy to the joyless.

Because of this, all of the loss that seems to subsequently march in waves through our lives presents a unique opportunity to have our eyes opened to a great gain.  That immense profit is none other than our Saving Lord.

The reality of our faith can be lived out in new ways because of our deficits.  Our loss has taught us that we can survive and even thrive without much of what the world counts as essential.  We have the opportunity to learn in a remarkable way that losing it all for the sake of Christ is, in fact, gain.  He becomes our treasure because we are stripped bare of the false gods that can so easily lead others to settle for a misplaced contentment -- health, financial stability, a smooth school career, social acceptance.  

My friend, let's support one another as we push through these waves of grief, taking encouragement in knowing that "weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5b, NIV)  As the modern adage states, "We may not have it all together, but together, we have it all."  In other words, our lives in this world may look like total loss to everyone around us, but because of Jesus, we are actually boundlessly blessed winners.  

PRAY:  Father, some days the loss in our lives seems to be more than we could ever bear.  Continue to bring to mind the fact that in Jesus, we are life's greatest winners.  Thank You for being the solid ground underneath our shifting lives, bringing us comfort and peace.

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  1. Hey Barb,

    I saw this post from Colleen Swindoll yesterday and thought of you...

    God's obviously preparing your family for some really big stuff.

    1. Read Colleen's post yesterday too. She shared absolute, unadulterated truth. That's how we get it done -- 20 seconds at a time.

      And in regards to your "big stuff" comment, that's what I tell my children when they complain about their circumstances... We're a big target because God has BIG plans for us.

      Thanks for caring!

  2. All I can say is, "Amen"!! I've felt this way many times, separated from everything I knew, and mountains of grief that come again and again as we face each trial with all 3 of our special needs kids. But God is good and continues to hold us close.

    Thank you for sharing!

    1. You are SO welcome! As I tell so many of my special needs parent friends, "We're all limping arm-in-arm to the finish line together." Thank GOD we don't have to go through so much loss alone!

  3. "Our loss has taught us that we can survive and even thrive without much of what the world counts as essential." That is truly one of the best-est parts of this journey. To honestly not care that my kitchen isn't to-the-minute or whatever else dominates the thoughts of families in our stage of life whose kids are "normal." Thanks for the reminder. :)

    1. Laurie, you would've laughed at one of my friends who stopped by today... We talked about the death of the "Better Homes & Gardens" look. Shifted priorities have now given us the "Love me, Love my dirt" look. You're welcome for the reminder. Glad you're on this journey with us!