"When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required." ~ Luke 12:48, NLT
For the past year, a small committee of dedicated servants have been working on a tool to benefit parents of children with special needs. Our passion is to equip parents to grow from a place of despair and sadness to a life of hope and purpose. With that in mind, we set forth to build a program to train parents of children with special needs to mentor others who are struggling. We have opened up the opportunity for individuals to begin applying as mentors.
Today, I am going to share a few key reasons why you may want to explore stepping up to this role yourself:
- Jesus was a mentor. If God Himself left us a model of how to disciple one another, then shouldn't we follow that model in our own lives? Christ spent three years of his earthly life walking side-by-side with twelve men to whom he would eventually pass on the mantle of leadership. While they may have seemed like thick-skulled fools, that mentoring eventually became an essential part of what they needed to go forth and build the Church.
- You remember how hard it was and can still be. Because you have walked more than a mile down this dusty road of parenting a child with some challenges, you have a good understanding of how tough the daily living can be. Battles with doctors, schools and insurance companies are second nature to you. That nod of acknowledgement offers great comfort to those who are stressed by these things. While others not living this type of life may be dismissive, make hurtful comments or simply be ignorant, you have a level of compassion that can only come from one who has experienced similar circumstances.
- When you mentor another person, you both grow. Coming alongside another person helps them to witness how you "do life." This not only helps that person to see that life can be manageable, but stretches the one modeling. The mentoree may have improved ideas on how to take what the mentor is doing, and make it better. And when questions arise, both the mentor and the mentoree learn together.
- Because you have been given much, you have much to offer. Rich in experience, you have a gift too amazing to keep to yourself! As you grow to a point where you are capable of being a mentor, you gain wisdom and knowledge of the nuances involved with raising a child who has a diagnosis. In your own unique way, you have become a specialist, an expert in navigating this sort of thing. That expertise wasn't granted to you merely to use on your own family, but also to bless others.
- You have been given a renewed hope. When we first recognize something is not quite as it should be with our children, there is grieving and heartbreak. There are many uphill battles along the way. In time, by God's grace, we realize the truth of Romans 8:28. God can and does use even the most anguishing parts of special needs for our good and His glory. We see that we are given a unique platform as we pass through this world on our journey home. And we get to know our children as the remarkable people they are, equipped with special abilities and infinite value. Our lives become richer, deeper. And we get to identify with our Savior through the privilege of any suffering we endure. Our kids are not burdens, but blessings. We are not living in tragedy, but triumph. This is a story that needs to be shared with those who are hopeless.
Classes begin on Thursday, September 13 from 9 AM - 11:30 AM (central). Over the 12 weeks of this class (held via video-conferencing) you will learn how to mentor others, manage crises, and know where to point people for resources. Upon completion, you will be equipped to begin your own Parent Mentor Small Group in your area. The cost is $120 and includes books and materials.