the overwhelmed life

It's 4:54 AM and I can hear crying on the monitor. I stumble out of bed half asleep, yet used to this routine. I race down the steps and reach my son's room.

First, I take in the statistics on his monitors and then silence the alarms. The beeping alone can make my blood pressure reach the ceiling. Then I turn to my son, and try to figure out what's wrong.

He's flushed, his heart is racing and his face is a grimace. I go through the checklist: take of his brace (maybe he's just uncomfortable), check his pupils (in case of seizures), adjust his hips (they move in and out of joint), take his temperature (maybe he has an earache)...and on and on.

Twenty minutes later his heart rate begins to come down, the crying stops and he settles in. He's off to sleep but I'm wide awake.

This is just one of the hundreds of interventions that happens every single day caring for a child with special needs. It's no surprise then, that there's a crisis among special needs parents--we're living in constant overwhelm.

It's a place where we painfully realize we are never enough and the needs are endless. It can feels like we are living in a vicious cycle each day of running frantically just to keep things from completely apart.

People tell us to take care of ourselves but our hands are so full, we have no idea how to do that. Sometimes it just feels like we're desperately treading water, but other times it feels like we are almost drowning.

I've been there countless seasons in the past seven years and there is one thing I know: this is a dangerous place to stay.

Thankfully, God is familiar with overwhelmed people, and has provided a refuge for us: "From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I." Psalm 61:2. The rock is not an arbitrary geological feature; it is referring to The Rock: Jesus Christ.

Christ is higher than us: he sees our circumstances, his grace allows us to navigate them, his Spirit gives us perseverance through them.  God is so gracious, he even leads us to Him when we are blinded by our own pain or too overwhelmed to even find our way back to Him. 

Christ is with us: he carries our burdens, he makes them light, he intercedes for us and presents us to the Father. He is Emmanuel, God with us, right in the middle of your overwhelmed moments and seasons. He is touched by the things that touch us, he is our High Priest.

This is foundational for us to find true rest for our overwhelmed hearts. In addition, there are practical ways we can wisely pursue rest that will help us climb out of the pit of overwhelm in our lives.

Simply put, we must build the reserves in our lives to keep us back from the edge of overwhelm. When we set our feet up on the Rock and seek to live wisely, only then can we find our way out of overwhelm.

Kara Dedert is a mom to five kids, one with severe disabilities. As creator and leader of the Live Better Members Club, she seeks to encourage moms and help them navigate the bumpy path of special needs parenting. You can connect with her in a vibrant free FB group for moms: Live Better - Special Needs Parents.