I am so glad that you are reading this book! If you’re here, you are most likely a parent or caregiver of a child with special needs. You may feel isolated, confused, desperate, and afraid. Man, have I been there. Sometimes I still feel every one of those emotions! But one of the things that has given me peace in the dark days is knowing that even though our children's special needs may be very different from one another, we are all in this together. We can all relate to feeling like we don’t belong, that no one gets the brokenness we feel inside, and that no one could understand our pain. Our journey has taken a major detour off the beaten path. We’ve been slung through the mud, dragged down into the ditch, and watched our dreams fade into the dust of the path we’d so blissfully been traveling.
I understand what its like to hold on to hope and assurances with every ounce of strength you’ve got, only to realize you’d hoped in the wrong thing, and you’d sought assurances where none were ever given. Boy, do I get it. What’s most important is our heavenly Father gets it. He understands how you feel. He is not taken by surprise that you are facing the painful issues you are. He knew this new normal was coming for you. And He, alone, is our solid foundation for the trials we will face. He is what we need. He is who we live for. We can find assurance, through God’s promises, that whatever we may be facing with our special needs child, it is not out of His hands. He has our back on our new journey and is walking the path along side us.
My son Liam is severely, multiply disabled. He is a surviving micro-preemie twin; a term used to describe a very low birthweight baby. Only 24 weeks into my pregnancy my boys were born unexpectedly. Both weighed only one pound and could fit in the palm of our hands. Brady died a day and a half later. Death’s door sat waiting, open and welcoming with baited breath, every time Liam had to be revived, but Liam wouldn’t enter in. Liam survived against the odds. But, other statistics stood waiting in line for a chance at him, and have a go at him they did. They have torn his life apart. Liam can not walk, can not talk, in fact he can not take care of himself in anyway at all. He is fully dependent on others to do everything for him. He is wheelchair dependent but mostly enjoys life from his preferred view from down on the floor. Down there, his body doesn’t have to work against his ever present enemy: gravity. He has numerous diagnoses from his very early start at life. His rare form of cerebral palsy is the most significant and impacting. Our family was thrown into utter chaos when he arrived and it’s taken years for us to get to any kind of normalcy. It’s still completely off kilter. Our life is still very much not normal in consideration of how we used to be. Life was irreversibly and forever changed that day; thrown off course in a whirlwind. Little did we know, at the time, by just how much.
God will lead us to scary broken places, hard places, with a love for us that’s so deep, our doe-eyed faces can’t even begin to take it all in at first. We are a piece of work. Broken in places we didn’t even know until we witness up close the brokenness in others.
What we have encountered over the years since Liam’s birth, as we’ve grappled with significant challenges driving us to the cross, is God’s abundant grace, ever flowing out to us even in the darkest of days. We have witnessed God showing up when we least expected it, but needed it most. We have grown as individuals in far greater ways than we ever could have before Liam came along and have learned with deeper understanding that the plans we make can be devastatingly destroyed yet beauty can come from the ashes of the life we leave behind. Everything has a purpose, including you, your child with special needs, and your individual journey. Your story matters.
My prayer for you is that you will be able to draw nearer to God in the midst of your battles and find a deep, abiding love for the Lord in your circumstances, in spite of the pain and the dark. I pray this study would strengthen your trust in the One who created such a unique child as yours and that even though your life may be a thousand miles away from where you were, that you would know God has your back and is holding your hand on your perfectly broken and bumpy road.
You are not alone.