It never ends…
I mentioned in my first post that I really want this blog to be a community where we can be honest about being a parent who has a child with special needs. So here goes…
If you read the last post you definitely saw that Jack loves boats … he also loves cars, especially mine. This past weekend I was outside doing yard work and since Jack loves to be outside with me I thought it would be safe to let him play in the car (no keys provided and windows down for airflow). Constantly checking on him, after a while I noticed that he wasn’t climbing between the front and the back of the car. Following further investigation discovered a wardrobe malfunction along with a bathroom mishap (#2 if you know what I mean). Pause on the mowing; time to clean up Jack … the car can wait.
When will it end? The 6 1/2 years of potty training (and counting), the sensory processing issues, flopping to the ground when he is either confused or just plain stubborn and/or the constant obsession with trying to escape. I sit here and laugh about it now, yet with all our techniques for behavior modification there is a constant wearing on our emotions as parents and at some point we run out of steam. Can you relate?
The constant paradox of emotionally loving your child so much that you would fix anything for them verses mentally understanding a diagnosis that most likely will never be cured is a never ending battle within ourselves … and I just wish that there would be a winner instead of going back and forth.
As I was driving today (of which I do a lot for my work) and in the midst one of these emotional/mental battles I was reminded of Jesus speaking to crowds as he traveled through the Galilean region:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”
Matthew 11:27-30 (ESV)
My reality…maybe it’s similar to yours…but I do get tired managing a home, paying bills, performing as expected at my job, keeping children and dogs alive and volunteering at church and other places. These things are good but takes patience and practice to keep them in balance.
Robert Morgan writes a fantastic book titled, “Mastering Life before it’s too late” which I highly recommend. It basically looks at different aspects of life and discovers how Jesus handled them while He was here on earth. Morgan spends a whole chapter discussing what biblical rest looks and feels like. This is the promise that we see in Matthew 11:28. If we are weary and burdened (ie: emotionally worn out, physically over-exhausted, dog-tired, wits end, breaking from the pressure…you get the idea), when we come to Jesus and truly spending time in His presence to seek His face, and not a hand-out, we are promised rest.
In fact, Jesus takes it one step further! He says for us to take His burden…in exchange for our own burden. The word picture is that I am taking all the pressure off my shoulders like a big nap-sack, putting it on the ground and then picking up Jesus’ yoke (or His load to carry). If you’ve ever read ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’, it is just like the when the Pilgrim finally gets to the Cross of Christ and his large pack of worries and cares of the world fall to the ground at the foot of the cross. The encouragement is that HE will take the stress and the worry and figure out the I.E.P situation, the difficult therapy schedule, the emotional loneliness AND replace it with REST!
Can you imagine what that would feel like? Being able to take a deep breath and actually feel the air fill your lungs. Being able to lay your head down and actually go to sleep…not just suspended in awake-sleep mode…and getting up in the morning refreshed.
Rest doesn’t mean we are no longer required to work at life. In verse 30 Jesus finishes with “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. We are still required walk through life and fulfill our responsibilities, however Jesus walks beside us in tandem (or yoke) in and through our journey. We learn from Him.
To me, the most encouraging statement from Jesus here is in verse 27, Jesus tells me that He is gentle and humble in heart. I just love the fact that He doesn’t beat me down with guilt for the decisions that I’ve made…for the times I’ve lost my cool or fallen in hopelessness.
Oh Friend, having a child with special needs is amazingly wonderful and super difficult all at the same time … and I know you know this. We need to remember that God did not put us in this situation all by our lonesome. He allowed for this situation so that we could REST in Jesus more and more each day as we go through this journey.
P.S. – As always, please leave a comment to continue to encourage others.