Verse of the Day

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."

~II Corinthians 4:17

Today's Devotional Thought

December 30, 2013 by Rachel Piferi


Special Needs

It has been over a month since we have written to you all. For four years, we have written to you every day, but over the last couple of months things in life became very full and we found ourselves unable to write. For me {Rachel}, it was not just because of time, but was because sometimes the words don't come easily when life is full.

But isn't that just how life is?


Full of good and bad. Victories and defeats. Stumblings and growth moments.

And through all the fullness, the Lord speaks.

Today, I want to share with you something that the Lord has been speaking into me over the last couple of months. It is something that is very hard to write because the Lord is still speaking into it in my life, but this morning I really felt the Lord impress upon my heart to write about it to you all.

And when I say, "impress upon my heart," He literally woke me up this morning at 3am with these thoughts and a strong desire to share them with you all today. I've learned that when the Lord impresses something upon your heart, it is best to do it! So, here goes...

Over the past few months, I have really been struggling with Isabella's special needs. I know many of you out there are mothers or grandmothers to children of special needs. These needs come in all forms and require all sorts of different interventions. Isabella's needs are dietary and concern her kidneys and maintaining good kidney function for as long as we can. There is a long list of foods that she cannot eat and she takes a daily medicine to help with some of the levels of certain elements in her blood. For those of you out there who have children with more complicated or serious special needs, I know her needs are not going to seem that big a deal. But for us, her special dietary needs make her feel different and make her feel excluded from certain things. Every day, she is reminded that she is different and can't do things that other kids can do. And as a mama, that just breaks my heart.

About a month ago, I overheard a conversation between her and my husband. Out of nowhere, she said to him, "You wouldn't want to be me." When he asked her why, she said it again, "You wouldn't want to be me." When prodded for more information, she said, "I have to go to the doctor a lot and get shots. You wouldn't want to be me."

As I listened to their conversation, tears filled my eyes at the realization that she is beginning to understand that her life is different than everyone's around her. I think it has likely come because she is now in school and there are pieces of her day that are different from her classmates. She can't partake of the daily snack that they all have and at class parties, her plate always looks different than her friends. I could cry when I think about her taking the chocolate at a class party recently and telling her teacher, "I wish I could have this, but because I can't, I am going to take it for my sister."

On Facebook recently, someone posted a story that had a cover picture that said, "God gives special needs children to special people." I'm not sure if that is entirely true as I don't feel any more special than any other parent who has been given the responsibility to raise a child, but I do feel that God gives special needs children a special purpose along with their needs. A purpose that I feel is my responsibility to help Isabella find.

As Isabella went into the world this fall and started Kindergarten, I found myself struggling right alongside her because her life looked different than those around her. And I cried many tears behind closed doors at the end of each day that she told me a story about school that led me to believe she was starting to feel "different." And with each one of those tears, I laid before the throne of grace and asked the Lord to show me what we were supposed to do with this journey.

How do I help her understand? How do we live this journey, with all of its difficulties, anxieties, and struggles, out loud for you?

And over the last few months, the Lord has shown me through Scripture and other things that each one of us has been given a journey to walk in this life. And everyone's journey looks a little different. And, regardless of what that journey looks like, or how much it may hurt, we are all called to live it in a way that points to Jesus. Isabella's journey looks different than other's journeys, but my heart's desire is to help Isabella see how her story points to Jesus. And how she can use her special needs to point to a very special Savior.

If you are the parent of a special needs child, I want you to know that I have prayed for you this morning. Many tears and prayers have gone into the sentiments of this post. Many hours asking God to help me accept this journey that she has. Many prayers asking for wisdom to know how to help her understand her journey {not just now, but in the years to come}. And I pray that you also feel peace on the path you are on with your child and that you find opportunities to share your struggles as a parent in a way that points to Jesus.

And to those of you who are not a parent of a child of special needs, I urge you to pray for your brothers and sisters who deal daily with it. Drop them a note of encouragement. Stop and pray with them. Give them a hug. Regardless of how big or small their child's special need seems to you, I guarantee you that it is a big part of their life and requires encouragement from those around them.

The Lord has been so good to us and I never want the struggles of this life to overshadow the miracles. We have much to be thankful for. And at the top of the list is our gratitude for a Savior who loves us so much that he walks with us through every challenge, every need, and every heartbreak. Both now and forever.

Wishing you a great final few days of 2013 and much strength, comfort, and peace going into 2014. Fight on sweet sisters...

Memorize this verse today:

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."
~II Corinthians 4:17

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