My own father had been a great role model in my life and I had many mentors and friends who had recently experienced the joys of fatherhood.
But…I didn’t know anyone who was the dad of a child with profound special needs.
I wasn’t ready.
When my own son was born, I went into a tailspin of despair, blame, denial, anger, and confusion.
I was lost.
It’s no wonder these days that we have an epidemic of dads walking out on their families in the special-needs community.
“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.” 1
I wrote those words in my new book , No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches: a father, a son with special needs, and their journey with God, to describe the anger, depression, and angst I felt only a couple of years into my journey of raising a child with profound special needs.
I felt like God had ruined my life and had purposed to harm me.
Now that- some sixteen years into this journey- my family is on with God, I have learned to see things from a Godly perspective.
As a result, I am in awe of the gift and blessing that God bestowed on us.
I’m on a mission now to be God’s messenger to the special-needs community and share what He had revealed and taught me though this experience.
When I began this journey, there wasn’t a resource that could speak to me from this perspective. I wrote No More Butter Sandwiches because God has called me to write it. I pray it reaches special-needs families across the country.
“I wish that the thirty-year-old me with the newly diagnosed son had known the now forty-seven-year-old me with a son with special needs. I wish the thirty-year-old me could have heard me say, ‘This journey is going to be the hardest journey you can imagine. But it’s going to be one of the most richly rewarding experiences of your life.’ I would tell him there is purpose in the pain. There will be a message in the mess and every trial will produce a triumph. I would tell him if he surrenders his pain to God, then God will reveal Himself to him in unspeakable ways.
The world sees a nonverbal young man crippled by cerebral palsy, challenged cognitively, and affected by autism. The world sees a boy who cannot talk, cannot walk, and cannot function independently.
I don’t see that. I see a beautiful masterpiece. I see a tapestry of God’s grace, God’s beauty, and God’s love woven together on a human canvas.
The world sees paint on damp plaster. I see the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The world sees a broken vessel. I see Michelangelo’s David. The world sees a damaged canvas. God sees a magnum opus.” 2
For we are God’s masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
What broken things in your life do you need to surrender to God in order to allow Him to create a masterpiece out of your brokenness?
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
1. Jeff Davidson, No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches, (Rapid City: Crosslink Publishing, 2014), 6.
2. Jeff Davidson, No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches, (Rapid City: Crosslink Publishing, 2014), 201, 216.
Click here to find No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches on Amazon.