Monday, October 03, 2016

Trusting God While Raising Children with Special Needs

For some leisure fiction reading, I picked up Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst. It's pretty vulgar in places and I'm not recommending it, but it was thought-provoking. It tells of the great lengths a family is willing to go to in order to help their teen daughter who has Aspergers.

I feel one quote in particular sums up the feelings of desperation many parents raising children with special needs experience, that desire to find the one thing that will unlock the key and make things better:

You are lucky to have this child. You wouldn't trade her for anything, and that's not just a platitude, an easy greeting-card sound bite; it's a position you question and revisit with some frequency. She's yours and you're hers and you don't have endless time. If you can't find a way to help your daughter . . .  If you can't do that, then you failed at the most important task you've ever been given.

Of course, for those of us with faith, that looming feeling of potential failure is accompanied by the belief that God knows what He is doing, that He created your child this way for a reason and that this child has a God-given role to play in the world. Our job as a parent is to help him or her discern and fulfill that role. We also believe that God gives us the grace to get through each day and helps us discover the road He wants us to trod one step at a time provided we ask Him to.

But, none of that makes it easy. Parenting any child is difficult. Parenting children with special needs has its own set of challenges, but the stakes can feel so high, especially as adulthood looms ever closer. What if despite all our best efforts, we have failed? Trusting God when it seems like we have come up so short is an exercise in great faith.


Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

That last paragraph really says it all. I have a teen with diabetes. It's a minute by minute challenge some days. You don't get time off, and you never know what the next 5 minutes will bring. The stakes ARE high and I worry about what will happen to him when we're not there to wake him at 4 AM with juice in hand to battle a low...that could kill him. I get the feelings of desperation.

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur said...

Barb, sending prayers your way!

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