If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Special Needs … Pray

If there’s one thing I’ve learned to do as a special needs mom it’s to pray.  Pray. Before everything else. Pray. When I’m overwhelmed and in the midst of the chaos. Pray. When there’s nothing else. Pray.


With my eldest I can remember two distinct times of prayer when he was a baby. Two times. Two times I cried out to God in need in those early years. I’m sure I prayed, but life was just easier with a typical baby. Or I was clueless. It’s very possible I just had no idea how desperately I needed God’s help with even the easiest of babies. But two times?

This is what the world of disability did to us. It threw us face forward into prayer. My husband and I knew right off we weren’t going anywhere without God in this journey. We hit our knees fast. Pray. I distinctly remember those first prayers. The, “Dear God, No.” The, “Please, Jesus. Just let <fill in the blank>.” To this day I get a knot in my throat, my eyes well up, when I remember those first days and first prayers.

“… the Lord hears when I call to him.” Psalm 4:3

Praying has since become a peace, a calming presence. While we still have our times of desperate prayers, prayer itself is a time that brings Christ closer. A chance for the Holy Spirit to utter words we cannot.

“… the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26

Prayer is a constant conversation on many days. We recognize our inadequacy in this special needs walk. We have to release our constant eye on our son and rely on God’s. We pray and trust his protection more now than ever. I look to the Psalms and see this same constant conversation with God. The pleading, the valleys, the need for God’s intervention. But I also see rejoicing …

And we rejoice in prayer now more than ever. In the beginning of this walk we only saw the struggle. Now we thank God often for this path. This road has shown us how to go to God in prayer for not only our child with special needs, but our other children as well.

Christ himself taught us to pray (Matthew 6:9-13). It must be important. It took special needs to show me just how important it really is. Pray. It’s my lifeline. My instant communication with the only one who can truly offer protection, healing and peace in our special needs world. Before, in the midst and when there is nothing else, I pray.

 

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Somebody’s Always Watching …

We all know disability draws the attention of others. I get it. I look, too. We often feel like everybody is Evan’s friend. (Mostly, pretty girls. Evan has moves like Jagger. Be jealous.) People we don’t recognize will stop to talk to Evan because they know him from somewhere. Occasionally, they will tell us how they are acquainted with him. But usually, we go without ever discovering how our celebrity son knows these people. This has made us more aware, whether we realize it or not, somebody’s always watching. (Que music: “I always feel like … somebody’s wAtching me.” Did I just give away my age again?)

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From Acts 16:22-24Msg – After Paul and Silas had been beaten, thrown in jail, under heavy guard and clamped in leg irons: “Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears.”

Somebody was watching Paul and Silas that night.

After an earthquake, the jailer thought the prisoners had escaped. Because of this, he wanted to kill himself. Paul and Silas showed him they were all accounted for. Not only did this moment bring the jailer to belief in Jesus, but later, his entire family. (There is so much more great detail to this story. Read it all in Acts 16:16-40)

Paul and Silas had reason to complain. They had reason to whine and moan and even run away when given the opportunity. But they stayed. They sang hymns to God. And people were watching.

What if people were watching a different story? What if Paul and Silas were bemoaning their situation that night? From the looks of things they had every right to groan about being beaten up, complain about being thrown in jail, among several other things. Why didn’t they run after the earthquake? I wonder if the jailer would have been as interested in hearing what they had to say about Jesus after listening to them complain? Would the whole jailer’s family be praising Jesus right now if we heard only of Paul and Silas’ struggles?

Does anyone want to hear about what Jesus has done in my life after only complaining about the weight of special needs?

I won’t stop being honest about the challenges of this life. Paul and Silas’ story was honest. They had a rough go, for sure. Acts 16 doesn’t shy away from being truthful about their day. But at the end of that hard day, they sang robust hymns to God. Acts 16 goes on to tell us they encouraged their friends in the faith, as well.

Be honest. Praise God. Encourage others.

My hard days shouldn’t be an excuse to whine and moan, but all the more reason to turn to prayer and singing to God. My hard days should be a conduit for encouraging others, building others up in the faith.

Because you never know who is watching.