Monday, April 21, 2014
Raising Special Needs Children ; Finding Hope In The Sorrow
I'm running from the darkness. Out of breath. Frantically looking for an escape. But the darkness continues to pursue me. Fast becoming haggard from the chase, there are times when I want to sit down, out in the open, with my arms raised up to the sky, allowing my enemy to capture me. I imagine myself screaming: "Go ahead, throw me into your foul pit, slam the door, and swallow the key. I don't care anymore!" Wouldn't I then be free in a curious sort of way?
But I don't do it. Though tempted and exhausted, I carry on the race because I believe there is a God. I question His ways at every turn only to find my faith is as tangible as my legs. Though my head tries to deceive me, my legs keep on moving toward the shadow of the Almighty, where beneath His pinions I will find refuge and strength.
The enemy's name? Sorrow.
I've been fighting the good fight for more years than I'd like to admit. Being a mom to three special needs children is, to be quite honest, much tougher than I'd ever imagined. It is so much more than a full time job that yields no pay. It is being on your toes, fully in, at all times, while simultaneously juggling the unyielding scrutiny of others.
Last night, I found myself sitting all alone on the bed with a very giggly girl. She turns nine in September, but is the size of a six or seven year old. And she still can't speak. After a few minutes of wrestling with "The Tickle Monster", she gently rubbed my hair with her little fingers, gave me a big hug, and finally cuddled up to settle in my lap. Looking down, I noticed a small bruise on the top center of her forehead and kissed it.
"Why do you bang your head when you get frustrated?" I asked.
She pursed her lips, and for the one billionth time, melted my heart with those gigantic puppy dog eyes.
"I want you to talk," I continued, "so I can know all the thoughts in that cute little head....then you won't be frustrated anymore." I again placed a peck on top of her head.
The one way discussion was going well, or so I thought. Like a light switching on in the darkness, Hope rose from my lap and shot straight up. At once she went from a snuggly momma's girl to wide-eyed wild child. Her eyes darted about the room as she gave out full bursts of belly laughs.
"Your angels?" I questioned, allowing my own eyes to follow in the direction of hers. "Hello angels. Thanks for interrupting," My words flat, bearing more than a hint of mockery. "Why don't you tell your Commander I'd rather He send Hope a few words instead of play mates."
Hope ignored me completely. The angels probably did too, for all I know, because she continued to laugh out loud and flap her arms all around.
I felt aggravated. I felt sorrowful. I felt like a momma who desperately wants to communicate with her child.
Hope flipped up to her feet, and totally uninhibited, began jumping up and down with abandon. Giggling and bouncing. Giggling and bouncing. Playing with her angels....and no longer playing with me. Feeling that familiar tinge of jealousy, I decided to enter her world.
Standing up on the King sized bed that had been made with care earlier in the day, I jumped with her, holding her hands. She forgot the angels and totally engaged with me. Her eyes on my eyes. Her laughter directed at me. And I, too, forgot everything else in life except for her.
I found Hope in the sorrow.
In that moment, I'd like to think God saw the two of us as His little girls communicating with the same heart of "JOY", drowning out the sorrow as children often do, with play. Perhaps He even sent His angels to goad me toward it.
Hope and I ended our day the way we have many times before, learning the same lesson we've both been taught over and over and over again: words are not needed when you have an abundance of love.
Our race is not going to be an easy one. We will continue to be met with challenges along the course that has been laid out for us. However, if we'll remember to "come to Him as little children"....to laugh...to faith....and to love....we'll make it. In fact, I believe we'll MORE than make it!
"I have fought the good fight, I have stayed on course and have finished the race. And through it all, I have kept believing."
(1 Timothy 4:7)