for when your child doesn’t fit in

While we all have those parenting moments when we notice something a little quirky about our kids – not all of us have the privilege of anxiously wondering how much that quirk will hold them back socially. And then the day comes when it does.  And that cute little quirk becomes a massive elephant in the room of your child’s social life.  Others notice the quirk(s) and begin to act as if… As if your child couldn’t possibly be liked by very many people because she/he is different. As if they are already on the path to Outcast. As if they are not worth the effort.

And it cuts. Deep.
Then, another worry sets in. You’re just waiting for the day to come when other children, maybe even the ones that now call themselves “friend”, will start to tell your child how he or she is different.  And, sure enough, that horrid day arrives.  You overhear another child utter words to describe your child that flitted across your heart, but only in shadowed whispers.
And that heart of yours… it shatters.  Into a million pieces. One for each thought that comes at you about the social road ahead.  And that road is paved with the shards of your heart.
It’s hard work. Raising kids.  It’s hard work, with an emotional cherry on top, raising a child with special needs. Whether those needs are social, physical, emotionally, or some combination, it doesn’t matter.  It’s just hard work. But, like all things that require extra effort, the rewards can be huge.
The rewards can be outrageously great on some days, and barely identifiable on others. Staring deeply into the eyes of the one you call “child” and seeing love reflected back there is an incredible reward. Hearing words of love from this same child? There simply is no greater reward, this side of heaven, for the tantrums and all-nighters you’ve put up with or put in.
But, for those barely identifiable days when you’re sure that your heart has not one single shard left to spare, and in those moments when you rail against the “gift” of being the parent of this child, remember this:
Not_Alone_Creationswap_Richard_Sherrill_Missindeedy
You just look to your right and you’ll see me.  I may need you to put your arm around me and forget about your tattered heart for a moment while you scramble to help me pick up a few shards of my own.  And on the days that I’m feeling strong and seeing the joy in this journey, look to your left.  Let’s promise to link arms and head over there and help that friend up as she struggles under the suffocating weight of learning that her child might never “fit in”, for the very first time.
One thing is certain – we do have to walk this road. It was chosen for us for reasons we may never be able to understand, this side of glory.  But we must always be willing to link arms and remember that we don’t walk it alone.
No.
Never alone.
Sincerely Indeed,
Missy
Today’s post is from dear, sweet Missy.  You can find Missy writing anonymously about the mishaps of daily life with an Engineer, a child with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and a preschooler who’s convinced she’s 14.  She is a Southern transplant living the dream in the New England area.  The mishaps are a’plenty.
 

the body of Christ

In April, I was asked to share our family’s story with a group of folks who have financially and prayerfully supported our schools by giving to the Educational Support Services fund.

While I have often written about our journey at Apple Pie, Anyone?, I had never given a speech before. It was no small joy and even honor to stand before so many who have walked with us for so long. I considered it an opportunity to say ‘Thank you.’

But, as I was writing everything down, another Truth came through loud and clear:

The body of Christ is incomplete without my special-needs child.
The body of Christ is incomplete without my imperfect self.
The body of Christ is incomplete without You.

Hear me, Friends. Whatever your cross, however tall the weeds you are pushing through right now…

The body of Christ is incomplete without you. He does not make mistakes and He is not sorry. He is sovereign and holy and just. Grace and peace to you today.

He guides every step

There are days on this journey of special needs motherhood that my heart is plagued by worries and doubts.

My daughter is almost nine, but my mind is still flooded with memories from the early years of her life.  As I think back on those years, guilt washes over me and I begin to question what I could have done differently.

What if I’d known this?  Or done that? Are thoughts that replay often in my mind.

I feel as if I’ve been learning as I go.

And I have.

Because no one handed me a manual explaining how it was going to be, mapping out the path I was supposed to follow.

But there was always Someone, guiding every step.
Looking back I ponder
Questions plague my heart
Did I fight my hardest
Did I do my part?
The days in the beginning
Have grown into a blur
“What ifs” and “should haves”
Make me feel unsure
Dwelling on the past
Causes too much pain
If I could start over
Would I do the same?
But hindsight’s twenty-twenty
When viewing from today
Through worries of tomorrow
Doubts also try to sway
It’s dangerous to wallow
Allowing fears to win
Because it’s now we’re living
Not in the might have been
And then I pause to thank Him
For leading all the way
He’s guided every moment
Of every yesterday

“This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”   Isaiah 48:17

~Rachel

Rachel is a child of God, blessed wife and stay-at-home mom to three, the oldest of whom has a variety of needs surrounding her visual impairment (resulting from her severe prematurity) and mild intellectual disability.  She blogs at This Journey Our Life, to share her personal journey of special needs parenting, encouraging others who find themselves on a similar path.