by Jennifer G.
I am the mother of a special needs son who is 6 years old. My son was diagnosed with severe Autism at age 2 while I was pregnant with our second son. This being my husband’s and my first child it really changed the dynamics of our “perfect” family and the plans we made for our future. Why would God do this to us? We wanted a “normal” child like everyone else. Even though my husband and I were both Christians, we just didn’t understand and felt completely helpless.
Having a new born, my husband and I learning about Autism (therapies, schools, resources, support groups, etc.), and trying to keep our sanity, we were so overwhelmed! Though we had love and support from our family, friends and church, for months I struggled with anxiety, depression, anger and loneliness. I would constantly say, “No one understands what we are going through and the life we have.” I didn’t feel happy or joyful when I looked in my child’s eyes.
One day my friend said something to me that really stuck with me. “Consider your son, like every other child, a blessing from God. Thank him for choosing you to be his mother. God would not have given him to you if he didn’t think you were strong enough.” Encouraging words can really change your perspective and soften your heart. I was at a point of brokenness in my faith. I realized my heart was so hard and I had turned my back on God when I needed him the most. My issues were not my children or my life; they were all with me. I started to truly cry out to God in prayer, “Lord, I am so sorry for turning my back on you! I know I need you to get through everything in my life! I don’t want to live this way anymore. Please give me the strength to change and show me how.” God has been so faithful to me when I have called on him. His Living Word has been the foundation of the changes in my life.
I have turned to God’s Word for my encouragement and it allows me to have Christ’s perspective. God loves me and through him all things are possible. Circumstances may never change, so I had to change and that was only through giving everything to Jesus Christ and trusting him. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not harm, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11. “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow” James 1: 2-3. These are just a couple of the many verses in my heart that have helped me gain Christ’s perspective. Through hardship I have been able to experience how powerful God’s word is.
My life is not perfect, but no one’s is. I don’t have a perfect walk with Christ either, but we are not supposed to because God wants us to continue to grow and trust him daily. God has made it possible for me to love my son regardless of his needs or how different my life is compared to everyone else’s! It is because of His love for me. A “Special Love” that can never be taken away. I can’t imagine where I would be today without having Christ in my life and seeking him daily. Though the world may claim to have all the answers to “fix” your life, there really is only one answer- God. One day when I am in Eternity with Christ and I look back at my life here on earth I will know the “why,” but we are incapable of seeing God’s big picture in this life. God always provides what I need and He will do the same for you! I absolutely love the poem below because it is a true depiction of “our lives.”
Welcome to Holland
“I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this…
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!" you say. "What do you mean, Holland?" I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower pace than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, and Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.
But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.”
Written by Emily Perl Kingsley