This month my child with special needs celebrated his tenth birthday. The celebration of milestones encourages me to reflect. While I consider all God has done in the life of my child and the blessing he has been over this past decade, I have also reflected on what it has been like to parent a child with special needs.
Through this last decade we have experienced many times of victories. These victories are times where I have seen God provide for my child, experienced the immeasurable amount of love we have for each other, and celebrated as I see my child diligently work and then succeed at a new skill.
However, I have learned that victories rarely come without a battle. And if there is anything that a mom of a child with special needs quickly learns to do, it’s to fight battles. We battle for services for our child, we battle with insurance agencies for coverage, and we continually battles to advocate as a voice for our child.
While all these battles are important for us and our child, perhaps the greatest battles for parents of a child with special needs are fought within our minds. These are battles against things like exhaustion from the intense care required, grief from unmet expectations, and the battle I personally have fought the hardest over—the battle of worry.
Worries over future events can be numerous in the mind of a parent of a child with special needs because the path of the child’s future holds so many variables.
The worries we experience could be things happening in the immediate future:
› Will my the child stay close and remain safe during this outing?
› Will we have a day full of meltdowns?
› Will my child sleep well?
The worries could be over events in the near future:
› What will school look like for my child with special needs during a pandemic?
› Will my child learn to communicate his or her feelings to prevent frustration?
› Will other children treat my child with kindness?
Or the worries could come from events that will happen in the distant future:
› What what will happen as I age and can no longer care for my child?
› Will my child gain skills to be able to live independently
› Do I have things prepared so if something happens to my husband and me, my child is still cared for in the way we would want?
Many verses in the Bible that instruct us not to worry, but how do we stop when the things-to-worry-over list seems to be never-ending?
Battles of the mind are fought by keeping the right mindset.
The Message Bible explains in 1 Peter 4:19 how we can keep the right mindset when fighting the difficult battles of life.
“So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride.
Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it.”
The right mindset is found in trusting God. But it is impossible to trust someone that we do not know. Therefore, our greatest weapon in our battle for the right mindset is worship.
When we hear the word worship our minds often think of going to church, and that is a way to worship. However, worship should not just occur during the time when we go to church and sing; it also includes time spent in prayer, studying His Word, memorizing Scripture, or singing along to our favorite praise song alone in the car.
We worship not for selfish gain but because of who God is. He is holy and is due our worship because of His character and tremendous love for us—His creation. But in worship, we also receive from God, a sign of His graciousness to us as His children.
As a mom of a child with special needs, here are three benefits I have found through fighting battles of the mind with worship as a weapon.
1 • We spend time building our relationship with God. As we know God more, we are able to trust Him better with the unknown future parts of our life and our child’s life.
2 • We take our minds off of our worries and focus our hearts on God, the One who has control over every future circumstance.
3 • God strengthens us to fight the battles of our mind.
Theologian and author C.S. Lewis explained worship perfectly when he said,
“In worship, God imparts Himself to us.”
Worship is where God gives us the right mindset. He imparts Himself to us through the time we spend in worship. So, when we find ourselves feeling a bit battle-weary or struggling to have the right mindset during a difficult time, we can remember to go to Him in worship.
Cover photo courtesy of Gabriella Pinto/Flickr.com