The special needs parenting road is long, and often bumpy. (By "bumpy" I mean, the road is filled with the kind of potholes that you don't see until you are too close and going too fast to avoid them, and when you do hit them, you lose a hubcap or a tire. It's that kind of "bumpy".)
Maybe you are on it too?
Maybe you feel like the bumps never end and you are tired.
Maybe you have taken a couple of smooth detours, gotten a break here and there, and your battery is recharged.
Maybe you are ready to get back behind the wheel and take on the bumps again.
Maybe you only thought you were ready...
Maybe once you found yourself back on that soul-jarring road to wherever you were headed, you immediately felt panicked and unprepared.
Maybe you feel like life is speeding out of control and hitting every pot hole and taking every curve at top speed.
Or maybe you feel like your car is out if gas and you are stranded on a cold and dark road, waiting for help to arrive?
Maybe you felt pretty good about your journey until you read this, and now you're nervous.
I don't mean to worry you or sound like parenting a child with a disability is a horrible path to be on, because it's not. Our children, every last one of them, are incredible gifts. They are pictures of life that we would never be permitted to otherwise experience if they did not exist. Those pictures and experiences include a world; while beautiful and interesting, it is, in fact, imperfect and broken. This is where we encounter our biggest bumps.
One of the hardest things to do, no matter where you find yourself, is to evaluate your surroundings.
The first thing you have to do is STOP.
Yes, even if you are at that "out of gas," stuck on the side of the road point of your trip...
You still need to STOP.
Your focus has to change. You need to take time to reorient yourself, get your balance and remember how you've gotten as far as you have on this journey. This is how you will find the strength to get going again, and you will get going again. Trust me, and remember these words:
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!"
Psalm 46:10 ESV
At a time when I considered myself to be on a smooth and recharging path, I received a phone call that shoved me right back on that bumpy road. I think I have felt all of those feelings listed above and in that moment, I think I felt all of those things at once.
I didn't stop.
I wasn't still.
I was scared, not just for where we found ourselves, I was scared by my reaction. I am generally not one to panic. I know God loves me and my family and I know we have a purpose. I believe these things with my whole heart. This is a key component of a foundation of faith in parenting.
Parenting is everything we are capable of feeling and experiencing; placed before our eyes, in a living breathing form. We have a front row seat to the most amazing and the most devastating parts of life, and everything in between. It's a long bumpy road. We find ourselves smiling and dusty. We get tired and worn from our travels, but we are ever grateful for the incredible experience of the journey. We are acutely aware and frequently oblivious, of the gift we have been given.
Every single child has unique needs. They are fearfully and wonderfully created by a God who loves and cares about the tiniest details of their existence, and ours too.
The power of that knowledge warrants nothing less than every ounce of energy we have left, exerted in the effort to "Be still and know..."
Sometimes I think we just have to remind ourselves of that fact. Everyone is different, unique and arrives on this planet with their own special set of plans and purposes. So to delude ourselves with thinking that we can somehow figure this all out and be "prepared" for everything...
Well, we are just creating our own bumps and potholes sometimes.
Dear Heavenly Father, You know we often feel we are constantly dodging and hitting potholes, You know how we struggle to be still, to be quiet and remember. God, we thank You for Your words, reminding us to "Be still and know that You are God". When we are bumped and shaken during our journey parenting these precious souls you have entrusted us with, I pray the Holy Spirit will guide us to Your words so that we remember to be still and know You are a powerful and present God. Amen.