A Special Connection
Those nurturing a child with special needs often encounter the heart of God in ways that can only be described as a spiritual mystery. While these children may be unable to participate in certain physical and/or academic pursuits, they can thrive in the most important arena of life – the spirit. Even those who can’t understand the written word of God embody what it means to love and be loved as one totally dependent upon the Giver and Sustainer of life. Those honored to serve these children are given a unique connection with the God whose image they bear – seen in a gazing smile, a joyful laugh, or an unspoken moment of delight that proclaims to all “the refreshing water of God’s joy is available to us all.”
Laying Down Your Life
You have one of the most difficult yet vital callings in the kingdom of God. How can you maintain the ongoing energy and passion needed to parent a child with special needs?
There’s no other way to do it than to daily embrace the call to lay down your life. Philippians 2:5-8 says:
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality
with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!
All Christian parents are called to mirror Jesus by taking on “the very nature of a servant” at home. But it is especially real in the midst of the never-ending sacrifices demanded of those caring for special needs children. Even if those around you never understand the load you bear, you play a part that is immensely important from God’s perspective and is credited as serving Christ himself (Matthew 25:40).
Finding Support and Replenishment
Whether your child has mild or severe needs, you require replenishment in order to stay faithful and avoid burnout. You need practical help and spiritual nourishment. Stephen Covey talks about the importance of “sharpening the saw” – of prioritizing physical, emotional, and spiritual restoration so that your efforts can be fueled with new strength and purpose that can only come from God.