This morning I woke up early. Not my plan as we have a big day ahead of us. Then to top it off Princess did not get to sleep until after 12 a.m. (Long story.) Since I was awake already I chose to check Facebook while I was getting the sleep out of my eyes. That's when I spotted it: a post from another mom of a Special Needs kid. She was feeling discouraged. Just simple things really but for us who have Special Needs kiddos and deal with so much already, things can be magnified. It can be easy to let that attitude of discouragement eat at you. She was trying hard to be positive but needed some additional encouragement. I offered up some words of encouragement. Then I ended by saying that I would be praying for her.
I literally felt compelled to come write this post instead of trying to go back to sleep. Somehow I knew that everything will be alright if I don't get more sleep but that I needed to share how I look for God in the rough times. Some of you might know how it is when it comes to writing, you've got to get it out while the thoughts are swirling otherwise you will forget them or lose the opportunity.
I often wonder where the heck I come up with some of my thoughts because to me they sound like they are coming from a much wiser, older woman. Then I look back at my life and think "Yeah well I have lived quite a few lives in my short time here on earth." With that being said I do feel qualified to impart some wisdom.
One of the things that I struggled with early on when we first got the diagnosis for Princess was "Why me?" I have already had more than my fair share of pain and suffering. I was a good kid. I never did anything to really deserve a less than perfect child. Then God reminded me (and continues to remind me) "Why not you? I chose this special child for you to raise because I knew that you and your husband would be the perfect parents because of the trials and adversities you have faced." I have learned to embrace my calling. I consider it an honor to have been entrusted with this very special child.
The other day I was at a meeting with other moms of kids with special needs at my church. It was a small group so we went around and told a little bit about ourselves and our child. I mentioned some of the struggles that we had had recently with Princess. In response to this, one of the other moms said, " I bet you cry yourself to sleep at night." I wasn't sure how to reply to that because my answer would have taken time away from other peoples' sharing. At the time, I just gave a short answer and moved on.
As I reflect on the Facebook post from earlier today and the comment from the lady at the meeting, I can't help but see how the two are related.
To me it all boils down to my attitude. I can choose to stay in bed and cry "Woe is me!" I can choose to compare my child to other children and become bitter. I can choose to continue to ask "Why me?". Or I can choose to look for God's blessings in the midst of our struggles. I choose the latter.
How do I do that? Well, it ain't easy. It is something I work very hard at. Every. Single. Day.
I look for the hand of God and the face of God everywhere. You know what? Because I choose that, I often find it win places where others might miss it.
I see God's hand when I am looking for the matching sock while helping Princess get ready for school. God knows that we could have a meltdown on our hands if just the right sock is not found so He helped me find it just as I was about to tell Princess that she'd have to choose another pair of socks or wear her shoes without them.
I see God's face in my sweet friends. They encourage me and do not pass judgment. They don't try to tell me how to parent my child because they know that I have to parent my child differently than they do. They do simple things like make my child a PBJ instead of insisting that she eat what everyone else is eating. They know that because of her sensory issues and anxiety, she might not be willing to try something other than her old standby. They check in on me and let me know that they are praying for me just when I need to hear their voice.
I see the hand of God in the details of providing just the right people at just the right time. The care and compassion that we have experienced from professionals on some of Princess's roughest days just blows me away. Sure we have seen some people who were not very kind but those people are few and far between. When we encounter them, I try to have the mindset of "What would Jesus do?". Sometimes it is to stand up to them or to let their superiors know but other times it to just let their words and actions fall like water off of a duck.
It's interesting because this summer we had a less than stellar experience with one of our community helpers that really bugged me. This individual was able to see our daughter and our family several more times. He started to see and understand my daughter's issues were through no fault of her parenting. Kind of funny how God worked that one out.
Right as I am typing this it is beginning to rain. I had planned to go to an outdoor mall today with my daughter and her BFF. I can look and be discouraged or I can be encouraged that that means that we are going to have a low key day. This is probably what Princess needs after a busy day like yesterday. We can still have fun today. It will just be different.
I see the face of God in my dear husband daily. He is the perfect mate to travel this road with. He is so gentle and understanding. I am the one who gets caught up in the moment. He brings me back down and helps me to focus on the little things. I am so blessed that he chooses to walk this path right beside me.
Trust me. My life has many ups and downs. I can choose to let those ups and downs waiver my faith in God or I can choose to look for His handiwork on a daily basis.
What are you going to choose?