I’m not a special needs mom. Or I didn’t think I was until therapy has become our norm. Until I began to notice the quick glances at the grocery store. Eyes darting away in embarrassment as they catch sight of the drool. Or her weak neck muscles. Or maybe its the tiny pink braces or lack of eye contact. She is considered different by our world’s standards. Different can mean not good enough. When I realized she will not reach the milestones at the appropriate ages, I finally had to admit I was a mom to a special needs daughter. And a little part of me didn’t like that label…..
When I began my journey of special-needs parenting, I was scared. Guilt and loneliness settled in my heart. I had so many questions, mostly about myself. Would I be enough? Could I really do this? I didn’t want to be a special needs mom. I didn’t think I wanted to walk this road. I felt pushed into the deep end.
We’ve all seen the stories of special-needs students getting their moment to shine. The boy who was faithful on the football team all year, and the coach letting the student score a touchdown during the last game. Or the girl who was asked to prom by the popular student. The dress and smile shine as she gets to be beautiful, even by the world’s standards, for one night.
The other players will not remember any game through their high school career, but they will remember their teammate’s joy as he passes the end zone. The dress may not be remembered, but the smile will be. Why do other children see these students as special and treasured? Why are those people remembered in our lives?
Because there is beauty found in the heart. There is worthiness found in the ordinary. The small milestones are celebrated with joyful enthusiasm. Laughter becomes contagious. Their joy is full, and so is ours. We see beauty in the simple…..all because of her…..
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
This year I’ve discovered heavenly treasure. A girl has come alive before our very eyes. She giggles. Acts silly. Shows preferences. Communicates. Loves big, and with risk. Cries. Tantrums. Eats. Sleeps. Watches TinkerBell. Her worth to us goes beyond her ability.
If my daughter’s ability to walk determines her worth, she is sadly lacking.
If my daughter’s ability to talk is what gives her life merit, she is incomplete.
If my daughter’s outward abilities are a reflection of her worth, she is not enough.
If value is placed on her ability to feel and give love, she measures up.
If worthiness is based on her soul, she is eternally cherished.
Even if she never walks or speaks a word….she is still worthy.
Every child, even those with disabilities, will live forever. And they matter. They are the treasures that do not rust or fade away. My daughter matters. And she gives me hope, as a special-needs mom. Hope in the eternal. Hope in a God who looks at the heart. The invisible things truly are more valuable than the visible. I matter, too. My worth is not based on a character flaw or physical limitation I might see in the mirror. My worth is not even based on what I own or the failures or accomplishments of my life.
Even though I didn’t want to be a special needs mom……and I still find it hard….I give praise to my Father everyday for giving me this child. I get to witness something I would have never witnessed otherwise: we all matter to God. We are all valuable. Every soul. We are valuable because we are precious to the Father. The Son. And the Spirit. Precious. Wanted. Worthy because of our Creator.
Join me as I journey in my daily life in Appalachia.
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