Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Struggles and Blessings of Being a Special Needs Parent - Part 3 of 3

This is the conclusion of my 3-part post of my struggles and blessings of being a special needs parents.  Feel free to read part 1 and part 2 if you haven't done so already.

Struggle #6:
I struggle with guilt.  I feel guilty that I'm not doing enough for my children.  I feel guilty that most of my time and energy goes into my children making me feel like I am letting my husband down.  I hate being so exhausted that I have nothing left to give him at the end of the day.  I also feel guilty if and when I take time to care for myself.

Feeling guilty when I do something for myself seems to be the most problematic for me.  With the many therapists coming in and out of our house and the visits with Josh's developmental pediatrician and psychologist, I have heard, "Make sure you take time for yourself.  That's important!" way too often!  However, I rarely heed the advice.  I'm too busy.  Then, when I do take an evening to go out, I don't enjoy myself because I am thinking of all of the housework I could be doing or how I should be helping Tim put the boys to bed.  Often, my mind is my worst enemy.  It is very hard for me to do something for myself.  For my own well-being and that of my family's, this struggle needs significant work.  It's just so hard to find time in our crazy schedules for me to have "me" time.

My husband and I would love to get out more often and enjoy more frequent dates, but duty calls, and because the needs of both boys are complicated, it's not as if is capable of caring for them.  It takes a special and understanding person to know how to meet Josh's needs.  Those kinds of people are hard to come by in our circles, but slowly, we are seeing doors opening in this area.  Now, we need to figure out how to carve out the time to have "us" times.  

Blessing #6:
I am blessed to be used of God to minister to others.  It has been so difficult to go through life feeling the burden to answer God's call in long-term missions when God has seemingly put so many hurdles and obstacles in the way.  There were times when I felt like time was wasting away and I couldn't be serving God.  God has shown me time and time again that He's using me for Kingdom-work in every circumstance He places me.  I don't have to be in a foreign country to be His vessel of ministry.  He gladly uses me in the ordinary details of my everyday life.  More and more, I am amazed by the ways in which I am able to minister to others as a result of the struggles I have faced in my life personally or with Josh or David.  From people I meet in a waiting room, to doctors and therapists, to neighbors and friends, to someone reading my blog...the list could go on for a while.  I am humbled by the knowledge that God chooses to use me in all of my imperfections to be a blessing and ministry to those around me.   

Struggle #7:
I struggle with fears -- fear about whether I am making the right medical decision for my child, fear that I'm not choosing the right consequence for my son's actions, fear about the next bacterial infection, fear of what others will think about me, fear about the future for my sons, fear about whether I am doing enough as a mother or wife, fear about whether I am doing enough for God, fear that I will forget something important in our busy schedule, fear that I am just not good enough for the roles in which I find myself.  I hate the doubts that creep up on me all of the time.  Satan has a way of catching me off guard all too frequently.  On the positive side, I have been driven to trust in God no matter how tough the situation appears.  The more I rely on God to work out the details of my life, it becomes easier to release the fears and cast my burdens and fears on the Lord, for He truly cares for me and will sustain me (Psalm 55:22, I Peter 5:7).

Blessing #7:
I am blessed with peace that passes all understanding.  As a result of facing my fears and difficulties in God's strength and casting my cares on the Lord, I am filled with His perfect peace and rest (Isaiah 26:3, Matthew 11:28-30, John 14:27, Philippians 4:4-7).  Often, I get the question, "How do you manage everything and not get overwhelmed?"  I always answer, "God!" then go on to explain that God gives me His strength and grace to make it through each day and that even in the midst of the scariest of times, God fills me with His peace.  With God, I can truly have peace in the midst of the storm.  My heart can be calm when life's circumstances could fill it with anxiety.  There's no better place to be than resting beside God's quiet waters where even if I find myself in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because God is with me filling me with His love and wondrous peace (Psalm 23).

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