I will never forget the day we got the special needs diagnosis.
It felt like a knife had been thrust into my heart, twisted around, and pulled back out.
I was bleeding, silently, painfully, yet invisibly.
Each breath was slow and heavy.
My sweet husband and I waited until we got home from the specialist’s office. We waited until we got all of the children fed and to bed.
Then we held each other close and wept.
Even thought that night was many years ago, I’ll never forget the raw pain and shock as we processed what felt like the death of a thousand dreams.
I don’t know where you are on your special needs parenting journey.
Maybe you’re an old pro at various needs. Maybe you can rattle off the list of letters after your child’s name without missing a beat.
I can do that now, too. 🙂
But maybe, just maybe, you’re in the days (and DAZE) of searching for answers, or maybe you’ve just walked out of that office with a new diagnosis and you’re feeling a weight on your chest that feels like the weight of the entire world, and you’re terrifyingly ALONE in your fear.
I wanted to share a few thoughts for YOU, today. Because I’ve been there. I get it.
First off, you WILL get through this. You will go to bed tonight, in tears, and get up tomorrow with bags under your eyes, but you WILL get through it.
It’s perfectly okay that you don’t have all the answers right now. Because even though it feels like you need to do it today, you have T-I-M-E to find those answers, to get your precious child every resource and help they need. So let yourself take the time to work through your feelings, without panicking over the FUTURE. 🙂
Once you’ve given yourself a little time to grieve the loss of what isn’t, remember that GOD has not forgotten you, nor has He forgotten your child. He is there, whispering in the seemingly empty silence, and He will equip and empower you to be all your child needs in the days ahead.
Now, take a deep breath, and get busy.
Research. Read. Get second opinions. Find a support group. Look for answers, solutions, techniques, and never be afraid to reach out for help.
I remember just a few days after our diagnosis, when I hesitantly shared details of behind-the-scenes struggles and the overwhelming feelings of my heart with a family friend. Their response? “I knew a family who had a child with Down Syndrome once and they just treated that child like it was a completely ‘normal’ child, disciplined it like a ‘normal’ child, and everything has been perfectly fine.”
This is not the kind of “help” I’m referring to. 🙂
But you do need to have a true friend, a confidante, a kindred sister, someone who will listen as you work through the next weeks and months.
Once you’ve worked through the initial shock, you’ve confided in your spouse, the LORD, and others who love and support you, and you’ve begun seeking resources and solutions that will make life sweeter, there’s one last thing that I truly believe will make such a difference in how the diagnosis defines your family from here on out:
Scoop up your darling child. Look deep into those little trusting eyes. And know this. God choose this child for YOU, only YOU, because He is the very essence of L-O-V-E and He wanted YOU to live out His love for this child.
And even if the path is long, and the road windy and bumpy, and the mountains seem remote and insurmountable, HE CHOOSE YOU for this journey.
Not because He sits in heaven playing games with us as His pawns, but because He sees the end from the beginning and He is working miracles through the pain and the tears and sleepless nights.
Because He loves you.
And He loves your child, the precious, amazing child—stripped of the diagnosis and the needs and the overwhelmingness of it all.
He loves even more than you do.
And you WILL get through this.