As you hang up the phone, you don’t realize it at first. The grenade in your head takes a while before it explodes, and all of a sudden you feel the shock bangs reverberate through your mind and thoughts.
All you can think is, “I wish I had a DVR for my life so I could pause it here for a moment and process this.”
Some of my closet friends, so close I consider them my family actually, just experienced this sensation.
The story of their life just added a new, unexpected chapter that no one foresaw coming at this point in the plot.
Already having raised one son, and with another now a teenager, in the space of a phone call and the death of a relative, they became the guardians of a 25-year old disabled niece, with profound special needs.
The story of their life just got re-written. The plot just got switched, and the story will now be altered forever.
This isn’t the plan they had for their lives. This isn’t the path they would have chosen, or even foreseen. This is the unexpected chapter.
But they don’t get to edit the story. They never had permission to write it in the first place. It wasn’t their story.
God is telling his story around us all the time, and He invites us to play a part in His story. And that’s the part we keep forgetting. It’s His story.
We’re not even the main character in the story of our own lives.
My life story, according to God, is about Jesus. I just get to play my little supporting role while Christ stars in the story.
I didn’t want to be the parent of a child with special needs either.
But I realized my own son’s life story was just the pencil that God was using to write God’s own story.
Sometimes I struggle with accepting the role God has given me in the telling of his story. Oftentimes I don’t like the script. There are certain scenes of my life as a parent of a child with special needs that I would just soon leave out of the script altogether.
Don’t you wish life came with a DVR and a remote control?
So when the hard scenes in life happen, you could just push a button and skip ahead. Or you could hit a different button and just keep reliving a good moment in your life. Don’t like what’s happening in your life? Just press a button and skip ahead to a good time.
As I go further down this journey parenting a son with special needs, I’m finding that the hard scenes I often want to skip are the ones that end up mattering the most in my life.
I have to remember that everything God does, He does to accomplish His purposes, and to bring glory and honor to His name. So my struggles become His stage. My trials become his triumphs. My weaknesses reveal His strengths. My responses show His glory.
The way I respond to my challenges in parenting a child with special needs, the way I let God use my circumstances to accomplish His purposes, the way I react to the trials—it’s all part of the way I tell my story. And the way I tell my story becomes the way I live His story.
When they film a television show or a movie, they don’t film the scenes sequentially—meaning all the scenes that comprise the finished product aren’t necessarily shot in the order they will appear.
God’s purpose for your life is like that. Some scenes don’t make sense to us right now because we haven’t seen the finished product. And this side of heaven we may never know the purpose, the point, or the reason for all we endure.
But we know God is creating a masterpiece, an epic magnum opus. We were chosen to play our part. Our responsibility is to make sure we are a story worth telling.
Once you realize that God has a plan and a purpose, you shift your perspective. It was really a conscious choice I had to make. Once I decided to choose joy and receive this as a blessing not a burden, I found a way to cope with “my new normal.”
Normal is whatever I choose to define as normal. When I desired a typical family unit, I considered that my normal. Now that I parent a child with special-needs, this is now my “new normal.”
My friends will respond and adjust to their new normal as well. It will take some time, but their story isn’t finished.
They will learn to live their story one page at a time, one day at a time, and appreciate the Author.
And their story will definitely be one worth telling.
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
Psalm 139:16 NLT
What parts of your life as a parent do you need to surrender to God’s purposes and to the telling of God’s story?
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