Most of us on this special needs journey put on a good face in public, but often behind closed doors we are weary, tired, sometimes frustrated, along with other challenging word choices. But we are most thankful and grateful for the stress, because of all we have learned in the midst of it. We realize that if everything went smoothly, if everything was simple and easy, we wouldn’t have any need for or room for God in our lives. We’d go with the flow, enjoy the smooth ride on the river of life, and seldom need to paddle because the ride would be so effortless.
The new device will help my son be more aware of himself, his actions and words, so he can communicate better, conduct himself in socially acceptable ways with others, and as a believer, become more Christ-like. But I'm not off the hook just because I'm a neurotypical person. More than the frustration my son feels with therapies and resources to make his life better, I felt like this tool was a sanctification device that maybe we should all use.
It seemed to me that the experience of learning how to hitch and tow a trailer was a lot like my journey as a special needs parent, and in reality it was the perfect analogy for our lives. So here are some takeaways from my time in relative isolation driving to Ontario to have our trailer hitch installed. I hope that some of these may ring true for you as well.
I felt awkward. I couldn’t join the conversation several other church volunteers were having about their children’s accomplishments. After one night of serving and feeling a mix of emotions, I felt impressed to examine myself in prayer. Why was I allowing this to get me down? This wasn’t a reason to quit serving at church or shrink my circle of acquaintances, as I have done in the past. It was, however, an opportunity to push into God and thank Him for the things my daughter had accomplished.
Nothing I did as a mom seemed to help my son. None of the therapies; none of the love; none of the counseling—personal, marital, and family. Nothing could “fix” our son. But daily, as I sat and whispered Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus, the Lord showed up. He let me know that I was more than Joel’s mom, Matt and Justin’s mom, Wally’s wife. I belonged to God. I was rooted and grounded in God. My life had purpose. My true self began emerging.