Special Needs

Special: How the Gospel Shapes the Unique Journey of Special Needs Parenting

Special: How the Gospel Shapes the Unique Journey of Special Needs Parenting

See miss, he’s not even looking up at me,’ the doctor bluntly observed. ‘All the signs of autism, and that is my diagnosis. I will go write this up.’ He shut the door behind him, and the numbness set in.

I was not surprised at his words—they were confirming something we had been fairly sure of for the better part of a year. But I also knew in the moment they left his mouth that everything was changing, and changing for the long haul.

So many mothers know this moment, when the paradoxes of walking with a perfect Savior in a far-from-perfect world set in. Everything changes and nothing changes. Your dreamed of future fades quickly out of sight for one that is impossible to picture, but your day-to-day life goes on as it always has—changing diapers and making dinners and folding clothes.

And then the hard questions come: ‘If God only does what is right, why would he allow something so wrong?’

Rest assured, mamas, that we are not the first to ask the hard questions.

This is our bent as humans: we want the answers. We want to know why God would allow us to carry hard things; we want the reason he feels far away, and we want someone or something to blame. But God does not always answer us with why.

He does, however, always remind us Who.

Jesus’ response to the limited perspective of his disciples introduces an entire new paradigm when it comes to disability. It’s as if Jesus is telling us to think about the circumstance differently. ‘Don’t look for the cause,’ he implies, ‘look for the future purpose.’

For a special needs mama, the parenting journey does look different, and in so many ways it is uniquely challenging. But God is completing his work for his perfect purposes so that his glory might be displayed in the broken vessels of an unqualified mom and a differently-abled child.

The most beautiful and honoring thing we can offer to a perfect Savior is not well-performing children but simply the acknowledgment that apart from Jesus, we can do nothing.

When we are at the end of ourselves, which is easily where special needs parenting—well, all parenting—can bring us, we are right where God wants us.”




As moms, we hold our tiny, new babies and wonder what they might do in their lives, what their giggles may sound like, who they may marry, and if they’ll live near to or far from us one day. We dream and we hope from our cultural understanding of a productive or contributive life.

Once we become a mom of a child with special needs, we are often reassured by others of the unexpected achievements, or performance, that may await. Our children with special needs may speak and write, act or compete in sporting activities...But is that the basis of their value and their worth? And what happens when they don't, or indeed can't?
To be a human being is to carry what C. S. Lewis called 'the weight of glory,' the imprint of the 'I AM who I AM' God. We will never meet, talk to, or care for a mere mortal...We have value not because of what we do, but because of who we are, and whose we are.

So we look towards the one who made our children in his beautiful image. We find the hope and standard of worth in the words of the Almighty.

When You Can't Protect Your Children

When You Can't Protect Your Children

My children are young, so young that they mostly live in a Pleasantville-like bubble. But over the past year, that bubble has been pushed and poked a few times. There have been a few holes here and there, but I work quickly to patch them. And for the most part, the bubble remains.

But that is not the point of this. The point is just the opposite. The point is that the bubble will inevitably burst, no matter how I try to support it. The point is, I am realizing very quickly that I cannot protect my children from everything.