Monday, June 21, 2010

Special Needs: Growing in the Gospel

Families who have children with special needs are burdened with much higher stress levels, and marriages have an increased rate of failure.  The tendency is to focus an unhealthy balance of time, energy, and resources on the child with special needs, leaving the marriage relationship wanting and suffering.  It is absolutely crucial for the husband and wife to be intentional and diligent to keep their marriage strong.  What any child needs from his parents, more than anything else, is for his parents to love each other and grow in their walk with God.

We must also consider the effect of having a child with special needs on the parent himself or herself.  For most parents, having a child with special needs involves some level of grief, and this is absolutely normal.  With all of life's hardships and challenges, there are unmet expectations and disappointments.  Furthermore, experiencing and working through this grief is not a one-time event, but a process of learning to depend on and trust in Christ more and more.  The key thing is to continually move forward, to move towards God, and not hide or retreat from Him or from the body of Christ.  Our children need us to pursue Christ, and this happens best in the context of true community.

We believe that God wants us to use the challenges in our life as a tool to refine and grow us.  When we encounter hardships and go through grief, we should ask questions like, "What do I want?" and "Where is my hope?"  We must learn that Christ alone is our hope, and that only in a relationship with Him can we find joy and peace.  We must remember that the gospel meets special needs.

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