When I’m being a rational, logical mom I know that I have done absolutely nothing wrong to so drastically alter the course of my firstborn’s life. When I’m being an emotional, dramatic mess of a mom I fully believe I have wrecked my son’s life for all of eternity and am solely to blame for what he has ahead of him because of his brother’s special needs. It’s the absolute worst kind of mom guilt.
I often start to believe this lie when I think toward the future. I imagine all of the ways Mac will be challenged to defend his brother or the shame he will feel if he chooses not to stand up for him. Growing up is hard. I can still vividly remember the terrible emotions of my middle school experience and I assume Mac’s will be exponentially harder than mine.
God, in His patient and grace-filled ways, keeps assuring me that Mac will be just fine. Not free of pain, but ultimately he’ll be okay. God’s ways are not my ways for Mac. What I assume will be for the worse, He is using for the better. I encountered another one of His loving reminders a couple of weeks ago.
I went to a kindergarten orientation at Mac’s school. In the middle of one teacher’s presentation she said “I do a whole unit on special needs.”
My ears perked up.
She went on to say that she thinks it’s very important for kids to understand from an early age that God works through our weaknesses. We all have weaknesses, or disabilities. It’s just that some people’s disabilities are more visible than others.
Tears welled up in my eyes.
She spoke of how exciting it was to see these five-year-olds inspired by the stories of people with obvious disabilities. As part of the unit she does a fundraiser for the Joni and Friends ministry, Wheels for the World, where they help raise money to send a refurbished wheelchair to another part of the world. She said these students begin to learn from people with disabilities. They discover that when they are weak, God can be strong.
This is a foundational truth.
I want Mac to know this to his core.
I want, I need, to know this more myself.
After the presentation I was able to talk to her for a little bit. We realized that we had already discovered each other online. Her name is Deana Boggess and she writes and does training to help people develop special needs ministries within their churches. She gave me a copy of her new book, Grace Without Margins, which I devoured in two days. Then she wrote an encouraging post about siblings of special needs kids.
God keeps right on assuring me friends. I am going to keep on grasping for His assurances and let go of guilt.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9
My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!