If there's one thing I've learned from special needs ... pray. Pray. Before everything else. Pray. When I'm overwhelmed and in the midst of the chaos. Pray. When there's nothing else. Pray.
With my eldest I can remember two distinct times of prayer when he was a baby. Two times. Two times I cried out to God in need in those early years. I'm sure I prayed, but life was just easier with a typical baby. Or I was clueless. It's very possible I just had no idea how desperately I needed God's help with even the easiest of babies. But two times?
This is what the world of disability did to us. It threw us face forward into prayer. My husband and I knew right off we weren't going anywhere without God in this journey. We hit our knees fast. Pray. I distinctly remember those first prayers. The, "Dear God, No." The, "Please, Jesus. Just let <fill in the blank>." To this day I get a knot in my throat, my eyes well up, when I remember those first days and first prayers.
"... the Lord hears when I call to him." Psalm 4:3
Praying has since become a peace, a calming presence. While we still have our times of desperate prayers, prayer itself is a time that brings Christ closer. A chance for the Holy Spirit to utter words we cannot.
"... the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." Romans 8:26
Prayer is a constant conversation on many days. We recognize our inadequacy in this special needs walk. We have to release our constant eye on our son and rely on God's. We pray and trust his protection more now than ever. I look to the Psalms and see this same constant conversation with God. The pleading, the valleys, the need for God's intervention. But I also see rejoicing ...
And we rejoice in prayer now more than ever. In the beginning of this walk we only saw the struggle. Now we thank God often for this path. This road has shown us how to go to God in prayer for not only our child with special needs, but our other children as well.
Christ himself taught us to pray (Matthew 6:9-13). It must be important. It took special needs to show me just how important it really is. Pray. It's my lifeline. My instant communication with the only one who can truly offer protection, healing and peace in our special needs world. Before, in the midst and when there is nothing else, I pray.
My husband and I are parents of all boys. One of whom is a young adult with both physical and intellectual disabilities. I don't always know what I'm doing as I parent these guys. But what I do know is God is teaching me big things through our trials that I probably would have never learned without them. You can find more from me at www.mostlyeandme.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @stefmckeever.