3 Gifts in the What Ifs

This life of a special needs mom is full of what ifs. Early on with our girlie, the what ifs included

  • “What if she dies?”
  • “What if we can’t care for her?”
  • “What if she ends up in the hospital?”
  • “What if we can’t stop the seizures?”
  • “What if we can’t feed her?”  

And now we ask,

  • “What if she becomes too big for me to lift?”
  • “What if we can’t get others to help us care for her?”
  • “What if something happens to her during the night?”
  • “What if her brothers can't help us as they get older?”
  • “What happens to her when we die?”

This life with a special needs child is filled with so many fears. Mostly revolving around fear of the future. Typical children grow up, move out, and move on with their lives. Fears are a normal part of this journey with our children who may not be doing that.

But what happens when those fears control me? I become overwhelmed with it, overwhelmed with the enormity of it. My heart becomes absorbed, and it is all I think about.

Several weeks ago, during a particularly rough patch with my daughter, I broke down sobbing.  Satan was feeding me lies in the midst of my fear. I had kept my daughter home from school for a time of increased seizures, with weather change and puberty. During that time with her home came my breaking point—the point when I realized she will be home with me all day every day in just a few short years when school is over. That fear of being trapped overwhelmed me.  

But, when I let my fears change me instead of control me, I find gifts in the what ifs:

3 gifts I have come to cherish:

  • The gift of focus. When the fear of the future overwhelms, I choose to start focusing on just today, on this moment I am in with my children. This gift is an indulgent one for me, holding each moment as precious, as wonderful. Allowing my heart to just enjoy where we are with each child: girlie’s funny teenage faces, my youngest’s enthusiasm about life, and my oldest’s drive to succeed in all he does. Just enjoying each time and cherishing each moment. Fear of the future has produced a good kind of tunnel vision.
  • The gift of trust.When my fear overwhelms, I turn to my Creator, whom I know I can trust.  From past circumstances He has proven He is faithful, always present, always available, and always kind. Years ago, my husband and I went through a very bad season in our marriage.  I had to live moment by moment trusting in God's leading of the next right thing. Those circumstances have taught me what to do in the hard places—just trust. I trust that God knows, that He cares, and that He is leading me every day, every moment. That trust leads to the peace that I need to keep walking. I can keep walking with the peace and the presence God gives when I am placing my full trust in Him.
  • The gift of knowing God’s character. My fear, when I let it change me, pushes me into the Scriptures, where I find out just who God is. I find that He is full of loving kindness for me, full of compassion (Psalm 31:7). I find that He loves me so much He wants me to change (Isaiah 55:8). I find that He cares for my daughter even more than I do (Psalm 139). I find that His faithfulness is everlasting (Psalm 100:5). He is the God who provides. He is the God who upholds. He is the God of justice. He is the God who shepherds.

Thankfulness overwhelms my heart when I think of how God has worked and continues to work, even in the hard days. Girlie's life is a blessing in the chaos of the hard days. He has changed my what ifs into His gifts.

Melanie Durity - my life with the girlie