I originally wrote this post one year ago, but didn’t feel right about posting it so I didn’t. I stumbled upon it again today and didn’t change a single word (besides adding this intro). May it encourage you today as reading it again encouraged me. God is the God of perfect timing.
I’ve often considered what I would say to this 👆🏽girl if I could go back. What would I wish she knew? Would I simply hug her? (Not likely, I'm not a big hugger.) What wisdom could I give her, me, coming up on three years on this unfamiliar journey?
So, this is my letter to myself, but this is my letter to you as well, special needs parent or not. It's what I wish we all knew about ourselves, because I can promise you that the enemy of your soul knows it well. Even as I write he trembles... He trembles because he's afraid of me and he's also afraid of you. He's afraid that you'll realize what this journey you're on means about you. He's afraid you'll see why the pain is so important.
Dear Special Needs Parent...
Dear Anyone at all....
I can see you and I know that you're deeply afraid. The doctors are saying words you don't know and talking about functions of the body that you've always taken for granted.
It's a processing issue with the brain... we call it autism.
Have you noticed your daughter's unusual limbs? We believe she may have a form of dwarfism...
Cerebral palsy.... from a birth injury.
Craniosynostosis... airway issues... pressure on the brain...
SMA... Osteogenesis imperfecta... Spina bifida... Downs... Cleft lip and palate... Turner syndrome... I could go on for longer than anyone would care to read.
Or perhaps your fight is of a different nature?
Divorce, depression, death of a loved one, deployment, betrayal, bankruptcy, barrenness, cancer, career loss, chronic disease...
You feel like you're standing at the edge of a mountain, staring up at seemingly unscalable terrain. You know your future is on the other side of this precipice, but you're scared to death of the climb.
The climb will be long and arduous. There will be more sleepless nights than restful ones at first and more pain and tears than good news for a time.
Your bleery eyes will widen and you'll see a whole new world of suffering that will change you. You may become a little calloused for a time, robotic to protect yourself from all the loss around you. You'll neglect yourself for a time and forget who you are.
You'll sit on the floor sobbing from time to time, hands clutched into fists that you wish you could sink into pain’s face, if it had one.
I could give you all the medical advice and warn you of how much you will hurt, but what I'd rather you know is that the sharpness of the ascent before you is a direct reflection of the strength in your legs and the Might of the One who climbs ahead of you and behind you.
What I need you to hear is that to the degree that you will have lost, you will be restored and the mountain in front of you is a direct reflection of your calling. Its sheer magnitude should tell you who you are and Whose you are. It should tell you of the greatness to which you have been called, for such a time as this.
The opposition will be fierce, but so are you. The enemy knows your name and his one job is to stop you from climbing well or from climbing at all. He knows that if you'll look straight up at the cliff above you and sink your hand into a hold, hoisting yourself from the ground with all the bravery in your heart, he'll lose.
He knows that if you'll face the struggle with a joyful, trusting heart, the grace you'll find will silence his whispers of death.
He knows that if you'll allow Jesus to heal the pain of the loss of your child, you'll have direct access to THAT level of the healing Name of Jesus for yourself and others.
He knows that if you'll find the water of life in the desert of your infertility, then you'll have access to that well for everyone in your life.
Not only will you crush him, but the power of Jesus in your life will seep out to the ends of the earth to His great, great Glory.
Oh Dear Meg, the pain will not overwhelm you, because you will not be taken over. Like blood soaking the floor of the surgical field, so the blood of Jesus will pour all over your life and family. No power of evil can steal your baby from the His hands. The end result will never be riding on your actions - you are not in control. You have only been called to be a faithful servant. You have been called to carry this cross, the weight of which should give you great courage. You have been made and equipped for what's ahead.
We'll be better at proclaiming good news to the poor if we've heard bad news and laid it at the feet of Jesus.
We'll more powerfully bind up the broken-hearted, if we, ourselves, know the pain of a broken heart.
We can't proclaim freedom to captives, until we've known and been released from captivity ourselves.
We can demand, with authority, release from darkness for prisoners after we've faced the darkness ourselves.
Where you now see ashes will one day be a crown of beauty.
You may be mourning now and you may feel despair, but you will receive the oil of joy and a garment of praise for the display of His splendor.
It's time to adjust our climbing equipment, friends. Belay on.
(Isaiah 61 NIV)