As young parents on this special needs journey, we retired at the end of every day waving our white surrender flag! It wasn’t that we were quitting but we certainly knew we were done and had nothing left at the end of that day. There were no more reserves and no more fight in us. Collapsed until tomorrow!
In our recent blog Different Trenches, Same Battle , we shared the beauty of having others get in the trenches with us, helping us to stay faithful to the battle and to win at this life journey. We value having others in our life who can give us support when we are battle weary, but often others in a similar situation can only do so much. They need as much help in their own trenches or as we do. They want to help but can’t, due to their own circumstances and situations.
This is where the church can be an invaluable source of help. There are those who are at a place in life where they can offer assistance like they never could before. Empty-nesters are one such group. Widows and widowers might also have a lot to offer. Those nearing retirement or those already retired may have time available and be looking for places to serve, in ways that fit their free time and physical abilities.
It doesn’t always take the strongest person to do the work needed. Often it’s the willing heart and simple availability. Things that can be helpful to families caring for special needs can be as simple as:
· Mowing their lawn to give them some free time to do something else
· Offering to stay at their home when the children are asleep so the parents can go on a date—alone!
· Bringing a meal. Oh, to have two hours in one day to do that paperwork that needs to get done!
· Coming over to read the children stories, while mom and dad get a break to take a walk and talk.
· Asking what special needs families need, then try to provide it. Their needs might surprise you by how simple they are.
· Making a basket of snacks, coffees, etc. for the mom and dad to enjoy at the end of the day with a movie is something they might really enjoy. It’s a little too much work and they are a little too overwhelmed and tired to be so creative themselves.
Some of the things others have done for us have been the greatest blessings. When the children are little and the person with special needs or medical frailties requires so much attention and time, the littlest things are huge in the eyes of the one to receive it. Consider ways you can help. Make a phone call; send a text or email and take the time you have in your place of life right now to bless young special needs family. They may be waving a white flag that you can’t see. They will be forever grateful and hopefully pass along the generosity someday when their life looks different than it does right now.
Dr. Joe and Cindi Ferrini are authors, speakers, and bloggers for several blogging sites on family and special needs. They speak nationally for FamilyLife Weekend To Remember Marriage Get-a-Ways, authored Unexpected Journey – When Special Needs Change our Course, and have been interviewed on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, and various other radio and television venues. Connect with them at www.cindiferrini.com and social media at: www.facebook.com/cindi.ferrini, www.facebook.com/UnexpectedJourney/, www.facebook.com/MyMarriageMatters/