It's time to take your life back. No, this isn't the latest Beachbody exercise routine or a diet to have your body 'beach-ready' (whatever THAT means). What I mean is that it is time for us as parents to come back to live our own life.
Do you remember going through High School or College and daydreaming about what life would be like on the other side? You would have a great job, fun vacations, great friends and then settle down with an amazing blessing called "family."
You made decisions based upon the direction you wished your life to go. There is an old saying that goes, "You choose the life you live". It is true, you chose to make life decisions that would point you towards your desired destination in life.
And then you had a child with a disability.
Aside from the grief and struggle of adapting to an unexpected lifestyle, you have chosen to not be angry at God for your blessed child and you have chosen to move on with life in this new "normal."
But now, take a look at where you are. Perhaps your child is now 3 years old, 7 years old, or 16 years old. Doctors and therapies have moved onto IEP's which morph into life skills and job training.
Yet, you are still involved in every detail of everyday.
What ever happened to your identity? Did it get lost? Misplaced? Or did your identity get sucked into the vortex of your child's disability?
Let's be honest...if you looked in the mirror who would you see? A person or a caregiver?
Who are you? What is your identity?
In the Bible we see a very clear look at who we are as a person (individual) according to God, who is the one who created us. It says that we are HIS sons and daughters! Let that thought sink in into our harden hearts like a hard cookie into a cup of tea.
God looks at us as an individual child of His, who has been chosen according to His purpose (Ephesians 1:6).
The Bible does not identify anyone by WHAT they do. It consistently identifies us by WHO we are IN Christ alone.
It's true, once you finish reading this you will probably have to race back to working, parenting, cleaning, cooking, disciplining and a thousand other "-ings." But that is not what defines you.
It's worth noting that you do not need to feel guilty for NOT finding your identity in your child's disability. Remember, advocating is something that only a third party can do on behalf of someone else. Advocating for your child is something that we all must do. But it is easy to allow emotions to overrule the moment and give advocacy undue emotion which gets you stuck on the crazy cycle of "doing" parenting and eventually, somewhere in the years that pass, your identity is lost and your assume the identity of your child. You may have even taken control of you child's decisions.
Oh, dear fellow parents... let's rediscover who we are...it's not what we DO.
Yes, we are parents. But we are individuals primarily. We were babies before we grew into childhood. We were adolescent before growing into adults. We were single before finding the one we love.
You ARE a person.
Ephesians 3:19 tells us that we can pray, "to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God". You can't be filled in yourself if you are living someone else's life.
To take the thought even a step further, Ephesians 2:10 is very clear to let us know that the we are the result of God's workmanship. The idea that God expressly focuses on us as individuals for tasks that we are designed to do.
Parenting kids with special needs is a dichotomy of joy and struggle... however if we find our identity in Christ, and not in the never ending work load of responsibilities, we will discover the greater purpose in the work, which is to Glorify God...and that brings peace.
Dear God, I know that I have responsibilities, but please help me not to get confused between those responsibilities and who You created me to be as a person. You promise to keep working on me until Jesus returns...please help me in this area of my life so that I can be at peace with who I am and subsequently what I do. Amen.