Don't Label Me

It so easy as caregivers and special needs parents to feel like all we can do is help the ones we take care of because God knows that in and of itself is enough. Meeting the needs of a special needs child can be a 24/7 job everyday that can take over our life and thoughts because they need so much care and attention. To think of helping others who are in need when our needs are so great just does not seem possible. It's our life ... or is it?

Have you ever thought that we can get so focused on our child with special needs that we lose perspective on who we are? That God has an even bigger plan than just taking care of our special needs child? He didn't give us our children to smother us, he gave us our children to see life from a different perspective. To understand and give unconditional love. To view life in a way that is so much deeper than most we'll never see. I believe God wants us at times to not be so focused on being a special needs parent and open our hearts to other dreams.  I love my son Connor with all of my heart. I'm so honored to be his dad. As important as he is to me if I only focused on him and didn't point my attention to anything else I would not be the best I could be for him, me or others. I would have a limited and possibly unhealthy perspective of life.

Our children are just a part of our destiny they are not our only destiny.

There are gifts and talents in you that were put there to still be used at the right time and season. Being a special needs parent cannot be the only thing that defines you. We are more than that. I don't know about you but I don't want to be labeled as one thing. I'm proud of being a special needs parent but special needs does not define me. I'm a husband, a pastor, a foodie, a baseball fan, a son, a Disney fanatic, a team builder, a writer, a father of two kids without special needs and one child with special needs and hopefully so much more. We have to allow ourselves the grace to do other things without feeling condemnation that if we aren't serving our special needs child all the time we are doing something wrong. I know there are seasons we have to focus most of our attention on the one we are being a caregiver too but if it becomes all we do we may look back with regrets of how we could have done it differently and better while still meeting all the needs of our child. If were in a better frame of mind and heart how much better does that benefit our families.

Don't let people or yourself label you. Remove the labels in your mind that just because you care for a special needs individual you can't still get that degree, run that marathon, or fulfill your dream.

Psalm 139:14 says, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…

Throughout life, people are constantly sticking labels on us, telling us what we can and cannot become. And sometimes this is good. People speak faith into us. They encourage us. But then, there are times that people put negative labels on us. You cannot stop the negative comments. You can’t prevent the negative labels, but you can choose to remove them.

As a teenager, Walt Disney was told by his art instructor that he wasn’t creative. He didn’t have any imagination. Disney was smart enough to remove that label. He went on to do pretty well. Lucille Ball was told that she didn’t have any acting skills. She should try a different profession. She removed that label. Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade. He was told he wasn’t smart enough. He went on to become one of the greatest Prime Ministers that ever lived. Helen Keller was told she was a throw away and wouldn't amount to anything in life but she got multiple degrees and became an icon of hope for those with special needs or without. The common denominator in the success of these people is that they chose to remove the labels. It’s the same way today. Don't let people label you that this is your lot in life. Don’t focus on what others say; focus on what God says. Don't look at your circumstances, look at your problem solver. 

Have you stuck a label on yourself because of your circumstance? Have you stopped dreaming? Take that label off. Start believing again that you were made for more. Yes, it may look different and the path may be harder but God didn't give you a special needs child to squelch your dreams. He will give you the strength and help you need to accomplish your goals and still help you care for your special needs child.

Take the labels off of you and your family and be all of who God has created you to be.