Love, Hope, Joy: Inspiration and Support for Parents of Children with Special Needs

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Children become spoiled when we substitute presents for presence. And make no mistake; our kids will model what they see much more than what we say.

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Even if we just change one child's life, we're changing the world. They deserve to be cherished and to know they are valuable. It takes virtue and good parenting for children to understanding why they should respect you. They are fruits of His labour, through acts of love in the bond of marriage. Because they grow up having to share your time and attention as well as the family possessions, they'll have to learn how to negotiate and compromise when there are the inevitable conflicts of interest.

As a teacher I know it is important to build others confidence in themselves. I say simply, let your child be. What a worthy endeavor. Lee is fueled by worship and loved by community, so she serves out of the overflow. Consider how many families of children with special needs are running dry.

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They pour themselves out in unique ways as they advocate daily for their children. Their days are often long, while their rests are short.

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While there are beautifully unique joys in raising a child with special needs, it is also difficult. If you could see Lee in her 3-year-old classroom, you would see poetry in motion. She sings, dances and interacts in a way that expresses love from the Father. She demonstrates a heart that is filled to overflowing. Meanwhile, while she pours out in service, Misha is down the hall being cared for by other members who are serving out of an overflow.

As each serves, they are being filled up again. So, then, as our times and places have been determined, let us interact with those in our body in intentional ways, particularly those caring for someone with special needs. At The Village, we want to strengthen and push forward our special needs ministry.

We want to provide an environment where people of all needs can hear the gospel and be healthy church members. Let us be people who are fueled by worship, involved in community, overflowing with service and living intentionally to multiply the gospel—for the glory of God. Let us be a church where every member of a special needs family finds acceptance, the ability to participate, the support of community and the gift of service from those who overflow with the joy of the gospel.

Our hope for family discipleship at The Village is that we might equip and empower parents to lead their children in spiritual formation and discipleship.

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Kids Village consists of both small groups and large groups. It can also be extra rewarding. Make us extra passionate. And will almost always make life extra interesting. With the challenges come the rewards. Sometimes you have to search your heart for the rewards but they are there if you look for them. For those folks who are trying to win a marathon, there are no breaks.

If you want to stay in the race, you eat, drink and even pee while running. But our marathon will go on for the foreseeable future and beyond. The guy who comes in last place in the marathon, he took breaks, he stood and drank some water, grabbed a quick bite and used the porta-john for his business, then got back on the road. Give yourself those moments—however brief—that are for yourself. Goodness, you might even get to pee in peace every now and then.

An Interview with Linda Atwell

We are many things, being the parent to a child with special needs is part of our identity. When you focus all of your life, all of your contacts, all of yourself around your child and their needs, who you are can get lost. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, because making mistakes is a natural part of living.

Every day is different. She will find her way of doing so many things. She will never cease to amaze you along with turning you grey with worry. Some of these mantras may by very positive, but we all have some that cause us pain. Having a child with special needs brings about inner tension that may force us to examine and challenge our mantras.

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It can be frightening to relinquish control enough to wonder if the foundation upon which you lay your intellectual, cultural, and perhaps spiritual beliefs, are up for revision. However, as I help Maya find the places and ideas where she may anchor herself, I realize the potential for me to become healthier and more at peace, and naturally discard my own worn out mantras.

I can take the next thing that comes along. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Our daughter has only just turned three. She has a lovely and determined little spirit and I have focused on that to keep me going. Also to focus on what she can do right now not what we are missing out on…that will come…We are all the more determined to give her what she needs.

I had to start doing stuff for myself even if its only 30mins. How you manage your pain and the meaning you attribute to it influences your greater experience of life. It also affects how you approach other people. What do you do with your pain? Do you hide it in the recesses of your heart and mind hoping it will never be discovered by yourself or another? Do you internalize it and punish yourself further?

Do you approach others harshly? Do you exercise it out of you? Do you transform it into something loving and offer it to another? All of the above? What pains you and why?

Be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with others.

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Some of the greatest blessings brought to this earth have emerged through people moving through and seeing through their pain, and working to ease the pain of another in a similar situation. She makes it her business to try and tug at our heart strings just to see what can happen. Finally realized how important I am to the whole picture, and without me, she would crumple. She needs her mama, main caregiver, to be healthy and strong! Thats my main focus other than her right now! I am definitely guilty of fixing!