Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.~Galatians 6:2 ESV
Do you have a special needs child, or know someone who does?
My son is twenty-five years old, but there are still times I get emotional talking about what life was like during his first ten to twelve years.
I don’t cry for him, but for the thirty-year-old I was when I didn’t know what I didn’t know or the emotional toll it would have on my family, marriage, and my other children.
Matthew is a twin of my daughter, Alexandria. Both were born at twenty-seven weeks—that’s thirteen weeks early! While both had their fair share of complications, Matthew’s were also long-term. Because of some brain damage, Matthew has cerebral palsy. Now, he is very high functioning—he can walk well and only uses a cane. However, there were many surgeries and doctor appointments over these years.
Thank God most of that is behind me, but sometimes I mourn for my younger self. I tried to be so strong by putting a smile on my face and always saying, “I’m good” when someone asked me how I was, when in truth I was lonely, afraid, and weak. I had guilt about my frustrations and the anger that would erupt out of nowhere. I felt exhausted most of the time—but I didn’t want to complain.
Special needs children are special! Matthew, my son, is such a kind-hearted person. These kids have more compassion than you can imagine. They give love freely and just want to be loved in return. Do not fear these children or let their disabilities intimidate you. They are people made in God’s image who want everything you and I do.
Be sensitive to the mom of a special needs child. The dreams she once had for this child have changed dramatically. She may be unsure about their future or who will care for him or her when they are old or die.
She may put on a strong face, but she feels weak and lonely. Listen to her and let her be mad, angry, and sad—it won’t last for long. She just needs a friend who will let her be her.
Isaiah 35:3 says, “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble” (NASB).
Ask about her child—get to know their needs. Let her educate you about their condition. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to be her friend.
Educate your children, too. Special needs children are not objects to make fun of or bully. It could have been your child. Think about what you would want people to know or how you would want that child treated if your child was the one with special needs. Then do it.
Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.~Ephesians 6:18 ESV
We are all children of God with special needs. Only Jesus knows what they are. Life or insensitive people may have hurt, wounded, or left you bitter. We all need a little TLC. No one knows the battles we have fought and won or lost or the ones we are still fighting.
Pray for one another and show love for those who are different. Because to someone else, you may be the “different” one.
How can you help a special needs child feel accepted?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for life. Thank You for our children, our families, and friends. Thank You, Lord, that You know the brokenhearted families who have children with terminal illnesses, with special needs, or a prodigal child. I lift them to You right now. Please comfort these families and give them strength. Remind me to encourage and be helpful to those in need. Thank You.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright 2021: God Specializes in Special Needs: Stephanie Pavlantos: All Rights Reserved