My child has special needs and needs me more than ever
I don’t think many of us dream of unexpected challenges when we think of having babies. We dream of snuggles and kisses, cuddly moments and grubby fingers holding crumbled daisies.
One of my friends, Molly, is a fearless mom to six children, and this is her story. She encourages us to embrace unexpected challenges and to know that parenting is our highest calling. It’s not the most glamorous of roles, but it is one of the most fulfilling ones on earth.
Parenting is like exploring unknown territories – it’s exciting, but can be a tad scary too.
As a parent, we prepare for and expect the best of and for our kids. What do you do when something completely unexpected happens? What do we do when something happens that doesn’t fit the DNA of your family, or even challenges your faith?
“I have always admired the strength of moms who have children with special needs. I have often wondered how they prepare for their day, manage to sleep at night, cope with the pressures of life all while dealing with the extra responsibility that comes with a child with special needs. After fifteen years of parenting and six children, I thought we had it more or less figured out,” explained Molly. She said that after their fifth child was born, they felt a strange restlessness, that God had a purpose in them having a sixth child.
Eden arrived just after midnight on New Year’s Eve to fireworks on the beach. She crawled at six months and walked at eight. Eden had a near- drowning accident at thirteen months, and God gave her back to us, wholly restored. “So when she entered a state of multiple seizures on a family road trip, we could scarcely cope with reality. We thought we were losing her again. After an ER visit, an EEG and an MRI we were given the diagnosis of epilepsy, ” revealed Molly.
With unexpected news comes unexpected moments of grief. “From experience, I understood the five stages of grief & loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance,” Molly explained. They are not necessarily linear and are a progression of emotional states experienced by people from all walks of life, across cultures. They could be a response to a terminal illness, loss of a relationship, or the death of a loved one. This brave mother said, “It’s unusual to recognize denial while you are busy denying. It doesn’t soften the despair to know you are going through the stage of depression. Each step is harsh and impossible to side-step. But through it all, our hope remains.”
As long as there is life, there is hope. As long as there is hope, there is life.
Molly recounts how her husband was away while much of this was happening, and one night she had a dream that she was lying in bed, nursing one of her newborn babies. “When I woke up, I knew God was telling me I needed to be fully present to nurture my children. My daughter needs me to nurture her right now. I understood what I needed to do in this specific season.”
If you are a mom, you know the power of nurturing your child when they are young and dependant upon you for sustenance. You are their life-giver. Moms, you are their champion of courage. Their warrior. You have arms of tenderness, and you’re a defeater of adversaries. Your voice is wisdom; your arms are a strength. You create beauty and celebrate life.
Making tough decisions
“I needed to disengage from other cares and pre-occupations. Let some responsibilities with work and friendships go. Eden has to go on a highly specialized diet, and that in itself is demanding. I understood that even if it meant that my full-time job is to prepare the correct food on her new menu, then I would do that. Right now, that is my place of ministry and highest calling, explains Molly. My daughter has special needs right now and I’m there to guide her and love her.
“Fear will never conquer me. I know that God will remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. His authority is my strength and peace. I’ve been clinging onto the promises in the Bible.”
“Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.” Psalm 23:4 TPT
Molly expresses that she has learned that adaptability and flexibility are wonderful qualities, but even that is not enough preparation for the unexpected. “While we draw a new map in unchartered territory, we know that God is the author of our faith. Each unexpected challenge we face as a parent is an opportunity to trust our God for greater capacity.”
Parenting takes courage and hope. When the unexpected happens, cling onto hope.
About Molly – She is a mom, a missionary, and a healthy lifestyle architect. You find her on Facebook and follow her journey there.