Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Journey of Marriage and Special Needs

The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man."  For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.    
Genesis 2:23,24


The way God envisioned it, was meant to be a spiritual melding of two separate lives coming together as one in purpose and unity. Man and Woman would come together, be fruitful in their lives, multiply the blessings God gave them and would take dominion over the earth.

And God, who is a refining fire, would forge them into something beautiful, a mystery.  By His purifying fire of love, He would fuse their passion and the two would become one.

But after the fall of mankind, another fire also came into this earth.  This fire kills, steals, and destroys unity and consumes lives.

Decisions, communication, bearing and raising children, becoming productive and working, taking "dominion" over life and everything it throws at you;   LIFE is the crucible where the fire begins to forge two lives into one essence- or it can be the fire that burns you to a crisp, destroying all that you once held sacred.

Having a child with special needs only heats up the fire in this journey called "marriage".  

It's probably one of the most challenging, ongoing, stress on a marriage. There's no road map.  It's completely unique to your child and the severity of their disability.  There are no guarantees to your child's future- or yours.  All your dreams and plans are put on hold as you try to navigate this newest challenge.

But one thing you shouldn't do is stop the journey of life together. Now is the time your marriage needs all the TLC it can get!  Let God keep doing His thing in your hearts and souls- forging your spirit and purposes into one!

When Special Needs came calling in our lives, I kicked into high protective mama bear identity.  I felt Bethany needed me most- more than our other children- and most certainly more than my husband did-(he was an adult after all I reasoned)

 Unfortunately,  I let special needs define our marriage and our family for a while.

I allowed the diagnosis of special needs become a wedge between the work of God- forging the two into one. 

I needed my husband more than ever when I heard the diagnosis of down syndrome, yet I isolated myself from him emotionally for several reasons.  1) we both dealt with the diagnosis differently and moved through the process at a different pace. and 2)  I was drained trying to be supermom for Bethany. I was thinking how most of Bethany's success or failure was going to be my responsibility.

Then, I began to realize, this wasn't all on me. In my grief, anxiety, and worry, I had somehow bypassed my life partner and love- my husband. We were supposed to be sojourning together- helping each other.

And so- we began to the forging process again.  Hand in hand, knees shaking, and with lots of questions about what the future would hold, we began to look to our Father to do His good work- in our lives and our family's.

The fire is still forging, melding, uniting us in surprising ways.  And though, in one sense, we will always have Bethany in our life in a very special way;

 It is Jeff and I that God is still making the two of us one.  

Our Prayer: Father God, heal our marriages.  Strengthen them.  Unite us to face our giants together and not alone.  Let us take every step together.  Superglue us together in this journey.  For Your Glory! Amen.

~ Cindy Barclay

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