Some of the biggest struggles for so many special-needs parents are the emotions we experience when our children don’t reach typical milestones in the manner or time of other children.
We can begin to experience grief, sorrow, disappointment, sadness, and lament each time another milestone is missed. I once wrote these words about my own feelings.
“Secretly, I fantasized about building a massive bonfire out of those baby milestone books and having a giant book-burning party. I could see myself silhouetted against the shadows of this massive fire and I would invite all parents of children with special needs to come throw their milestone books on the fire as it stretched towards a blood-red sky.
We would feel the glow of the fire against our faces as we shook our fists and raged at an unseen God.”
If we are not careful, we can slip into feelings of loneliness, despair, and begin to isolate our families and ourselves.
Grieving is a very natural response, and nothing for which we should feel guilty or any shame over. But we should always remind ourselves of the flip side and find the little things in the journey that we can celebrate, find joy, and focus our thoughts.
This journey as special-needs parents will produce a roller coaster of emotions. The decision on how we handle the ride is up to us.
Joy can be found in the simple things.
Contentment can be found in the small things.
We should always in every situation, remind ourselves that God sees our pain and grief. It does not go unnoticed. That’s why I love this scripture above from Psalm 56:8 so much. It speaks of a God who notices every little bit of pain and sorrow in our lives.
It’s a reminder that we do not go on this journey alone. God is always watching over us, he is always with us. And the day will come when there will be no more mourning, crying or pain. (Revelation 21:4)
Father thank you that we are never alone in this journey raising children with special needs. Thank you that you see our struggles, and that you hear our cries. Thank you for coming alongside us and wrapping your arms of love, grace, and compassion around us. Amen.
By Jeff Davidson
Husband to Becky, Father of one
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Rising Above Ministries
Author of No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches: a father, a son with special needs, and their journey with God.