Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Please.......Remember Me

Parenting a special needs child isn't for the faint of heart. It takes a real warrior to face the obstacles of doctors, therapies, government programs, insurance claims, public perceptions, schools, daily care living tasks and then the actual parenting. Then, you can throw in a husband, and a couple of "abled" children, and be totally at your wits end.

I bring this up because a good friend of mine called me last night and shared a heartbreaking story with me. Anne is the parent of another special needs child. Different disability than my child ........but equally as challenging. It seems that after an incredibly LONG week, she decided to make arrangements to attend a Praise and Worship service at her church. She got someone to watch her three other children and headed off to the service with the disabled child in tow. An exhausting feat all by its self.

She explained to me how moving the service was. The message seemed directed toward her. (I love when God reaches us this way!!) The music was powerful and she really felt God's presence with her there. She shed tears of anguish and joy as is often the case when you have our children. I was so excited just listening to her tell of her experience. Then............

It was time to pray in small groups. Her group prayed for many important things, political leaders, marriages, the church, missions...........but they didn't pray for her. She was there, holding an obviously disabled child in her arms and as she stated........."wiping tears and snot with the sleeve of her shirt." But, no one comforted, nobody prayed..........

Why?? Maybe they didn't see her pain, she didn't speak up and specifically ask for prayer. Maybe, they were embarrassed and felt the situation was too uncomfortable to reach out. I'm not sure why no one spoke up or reached out........I'm just not sure.

I know the pain and isolation my friend felt. I know because I live it too. It is so hard to reach out to others in your community when you have given everything you have just to meet the needs of your special child. Then, you still have to push on to meet the needs of your other children, and husband. There's not much left of you at the end of the day. It can be a very lonely existence.

We are called to serve and serving doesn't have to be complicated and become cumbersome. Serving can mean a five minute phone call.....a positive email.....a quick card in the offer to drive a child to an event........a hug and affirmation that the person really does matter. We all want to feel included and accepted because God meant us to live in communities. We sometimes just need a gentle reminder to step outside of remind those around us that they are indeed important and remembered!