Embracing God's Love As A Special Needs Parent

Special needs Parenting

One day I was experiencing an unusually hard day. I was frustrated with my children who had missed their nap because we had been at an appointment that lasted way longer than it should have and now they were fussy and tired. I spent over an hour on the phone with a doctor's office and insurance and still hadn't gotten the issue resolved. I was tired and cranky myself and I asked God, "Where are you in all of this? Why aren't you helping me?" I desperately wanted to be alone with God, but the kiddos needed dinner and attention. And then, bedtime rolled around.

God gave us Jesus

After my older son, about four years old at the time, was all snuggled in bed and we had read his book before bed, we prayed together. Sometimes I did the praying, sometimes I did it fill in the blank style as he could only say one or two-word phrases. I decided to go with the fill-in-the-blank prayer.

Me: "Thank you God for ____." He said his name in response. "Me," I corrected. "And thank you God for _____." "Eesus!" he said with a grin.

I choked back tears as I told him, "Yes, thank you God for Jesus." I've never had any indication that he understood anything relating to God, Jesus or Bible stories, except for identifying "baby Eesus" at Christmas time. I've never prayed before using the words "Thank you God for Jesus." It was his own spontaneous thought and it filled my heart with hope and joy.

We finished our prayers and I kissed that precious little guy goodnight and as I left his room it hit me: God had answered my angry prayers through the mouth of a child who would need years of speech therapy to be able to talk like his peers. I had demanded God tell me where He was and why it felt like He wasn't caring for us. And He gently reminded me that He loved me and my children enough He gave us Jesus.

"God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him." 1 John 4:9

Oh, how amazing, how incredible is that?

And not only that, I realized that the Creator of our universe can relate to our special needs parenting journey in three ways:

God treasured His child, even before His child did a single thing.

After his baptism, Jesus came up out of the water and the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy." (Matthew 3:16-17).

Jesus hadn't yet done a single thing, ministry-wise, and yet God was proud of Him. He called Jesus His beloved Son. He found great joy in Him.

And as parents, we do the same thing. Before we even met our child, we loved them and excitedly prepared for their arrival. When they are born and as they grow and need us to do everything for them, even though they cannot do a single thing for us in return, we love them. No matter how much care they need in their lifetime, we will still love and treasure our child.

God watched His child be rejected, struggle, and suffer and longed to take it away.

God knows what it's like to see your own child suffer and struggle. He watched people not understand His son, watched them mock and test His son. He witnessed His child get beaten and whipped, carry a heavy wooden cross, and then have nails hammered through His wrists and ankles pinning Him to that cross. His son suffered for hours, and I'm sure God longed to take His son off of that cross, to hold Him tight in His arms, and take His beloved, innocent son far away from the cross. Oh, yes thank you God for Jesus!

And so, He understands our pain when we watch our children go through medical procedures. He knows what it's like to watch our children struggle to do things that come so effortlessly to other children. He knows what it is like to long to change the circumstances for our children, but helpless to do so because there is a plan and a reason you can't always see. He fully understands our pain when we see our children not be understood by others or mocked and excluded by others. He knows how much we love our children, and He loves them even more than we do!

God knew there was a greater plan.

But God had a plan, He knew there was a glorious purpose in His child's struggles and suffering. I'm sure that didn't make the pain and helplessness any less for Him though. His love for His son was still as strong as ever, but His love for you and me and for our children kept Him going with the plan.

We may not see the greater plan on this side of eternity. We will see glimpses of it here and there. For example, I see how much stronger God has made me, not just in my faith, but in life, as a mother to two children with special needs. I see how God took my love of writing and gave me a topic and an audience to write about–encouraging other mothers of children with special needs with the things that God is teaching me on this journey. It is knowing that there is a greater plan that brings hope, purpose, and meaning to this special needs parenting journey.

God’s Salvation Message Is For Our Special Needs Children, Too

For those whose children may be nonverbal or cognitively delayed and you are worried they may never be able to accept Christ and experience salvation, I wanted to reassure you of two things. First of all, God is very loving and merciful.

"The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made." Psalm 145:9

He will not forsake the child He lovingly and uniquely created. In fact, He loves our children even more than we do. God does not require our children to do something they are unable to do to gain access to salvation, but rather because of His infinite love and mercy and grace, He meets them at their level of ability and welcomes them into His family and eternity. That’s what grace is all about.

Also, He knows what is in the hearts and minds of our children, which is a lot more than we may ever realize. We often think that our children must have an adult-like understanding of grace and salvation to be able to be saved, but the Bible tells us otherwise:

"He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." Matthew 18:2-5

Your child, whether an adult or a young child has an innocent faith like the little children He loved so dearly and invited to come to Him. He used them as an example of what true faith is like and tells us that they are welcome in the kingdom of heaven.

Yes, I think my son was on to something. Thank you God for Jesus!

May we always be reminded of God's unstoppable, never-ending, reckless love not just for his beloved son, Jesus, but for each of us as well. We are all His beloved children.

P.S. We'd love to have you join us in our Christian Special Needs Moms Embracing This Special Life online community on Facebook. We support each other through sharing our journeys, frustrations, resources, advice, hope, encouragement, and fun memes about special needs parenting. Because no one should go this journey alone.