I have a friend who was my friend before either of us became special needs moms.
It doesn’t usually happen that way. Usually you become a special needs mom first, then you find friends who have kids like yours. The common denominator of special needs kids is a powerful force in pulling families together who wouldn’t otherwise know each other.
God’s force is stronger however. The story of our particular friendship is one only God could write. We have suffered similar circumstances in our lives and often joke that it’s like we are living parallel stories to one another, only it’s not funny really. It’s quite eerie. The things which have happened in our lives and have reflected each other have been hard, agonizing trials involving our kid’s health and our own health. These are the sorts of things you don’t want to have happen to each other, but if they do you want a friend who “gets it.”
When my friend and I meet for lunch things get real intense, real quick. We are the type of friends who don’t see each other much, but go incredibly deep when we do.
One year ago we sat across from each other at Panera and she said, “I keep wondering if my story will end like Job who got everything back two-fold? Or, if it’s going to end like Hebrews 11 where all of the saints were sawed in two?”
I get that question. It’s an honest, descriptive way of asking, “Is it going to end good or bad down here?”
Like her, I also want to skip ahead to the end of the story and read the last paragraphs of the final chapter. I want to know how it all goes down. I know, I know that in the End with a capital “E” that the King comes back to rescue His bride and we all live happily ever after in His just and righteous Kingdom. But down here. What happens down here? The suffering is intense. It’s a pressure cooker and sometimes I think I may explode into a million pieces by the sheer intensity of it, the pace of it, the injustice and the evil of it. How long God? How long?
I recently found out that this dear friend of mine is moving to Colorado. On some level I knew this was coming. At that same very lunch at Panera, she was dreaming and praying about moving. She sensed that God was leading her and her family into a season of rest and refreshment after, what she calls, a long, prolonged season of death.
I don’t know if it’s possible to feel so happy for someone and so sad for me all at the same time. This dear woman, whose life is not my life, but who gets my life is leaving Texas to follow God to the mountains of Colorado. She told me other night, “Whether I want to go or not, I’m going. It’s been confirmed.”
Over the past several years I’ve watched her gracefully navigate the path of advocating for her kids medically, strategizing about her daughter’s therapy regime, partnering with her husband in non-conventional ways, and patiently listening to God when she could have been making her own plans. She is an inspiration to me. I want to follow God as boldly and as confidently as she does, and especially in the face of hard things like a special needs child.
The morning after her going away party, I sat down with my Bible at Starbucks and opened it up to Hebrews 11. I’m one-by-one studying each of the characters in the “Hall of Faith.” Verse eight says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance, and he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
We don’t know how it ends. We’ll never know how it ends. Sometimes we don’t even know where we are going, but God will lead us where He wants us.
Like Abraham, my friend had a calling and is obeying. She is obeying because she has faith. Not because there are guarentees that obeying will lead to a happy life, but because she has counted the cost and is waiving the present circumstances for the future inheritance. Into a season of death or a season of refreshment.
I don’t know if the events of our lives will continue to align in the way they have in the past, I only know that when God calls me, just like Abraham and just like my friend, and as much as it depends on me, I will obey and go.
By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise…for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” – Hebrews 11: 9-10
My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!