Grief is a tricky thing to understand. As parents, it's hard for us to even allow ourselves to grieve because we consider ourselves blessed to even have our kids. But it creeps in there when we least expect it.
When you have to fill out a milestone questionnaire for the pediatrician.
When a younger sibling passes up your SN kiddo developmentally.
When a child innocently asks why your kiddo can't play with them.
When your friends purposely don't invite you because you can't leave your kiddo with a babysitter.
When you have to bring your wheelchair to the car dealership to make sure it will fit.
When someone insensitively demands, "What's wrong with them?"
When your child is labeled with another diagnosis.
So many of us have learned to suppress this grief, thinking it makes us better parents. Thinking that hiding away those "wrong" feelings somehow makes us more able to care for our kiddos. The truth is, our hearts grieve because we love deeply.
Special needs parents experience God in a completely different way than others. We fully have to rely on God to get us through the day. We've experienced the community of praying believers joining us waiting for a miracle. We've watched our kids accomplish things no one ever thought they'd do.
Some of us have experienced God in a completely different way. We've wrestled with trusting that His way is good. We've struggled trusting Him to take care of our kid. We've experienced the intimacy with God that can only come from that struggle.
We know how Job felt when his friends offered unwarranted, unhelpful advice. We know the love of the four men who brought their friend and lowered him through a roof to see Jesus. We know how Jesus wept for his friend Lazarus, still knowing it would be alright in the end. We know how desperately the bleeding woman needed a miracle. We know the wait that feels never ending of the man at the pool of Bethesda.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
We don't have to hide from our grief. It allows us to experience God's comfort. But, we have to make sure that we don't live there. If we spend all of our time grieving for what could have been, we will miss out on what's right in front of us. The joyful smiles of a child blissfully unaware of what's going on. The word spoken out of a child deemed nonverbal. The friend who brought over a meal after a long hospital stay.
Experience your grief. Embrace the joy.