My sister-in-law heads an Ashram for autistic children and was approached by a famous TV anchor for admission for her son who was autistic. Unfortunately she had to gently turn down her request, as there was no space in the ashram. But as they got talking this mother shared how her husband had left her, as he was not able to handle the situation with their son. She was really struggling to stay sane and was going through depression.
My sister in law suggested she talk to a counselor. A few weeks later she saw a news flash that this TV anchor has jumped off from a building, committing suicide. This news shattered my sister in law and she shared this story with me with much pain urging me to do something for parents who have children with special needs. While I was considering this, the head of another special school approached me and urged me to do something to build up the parents of her school children. She felt many parents were struggling and often they even abandoned their partners, as they cannot handle the situation.
When I expressed that we are quite ill-equipped to handle parenting of children with special needs, she quickly said “Don’t just focus on their crisis, teach them the importance of their marriage, their time with one another and all the other aspects of their lives rather than just their special needs”. What she said next really struck me, “Don’t treat them differently, treat them as normal parents”.
This was truly an eyeopener for me and we will be engaging with the parents from this school June onwards. Through both these incidents, I realized that the need among parents of children with special needs are on the increase and they require special attention. The society and our culture have made it worse as some people/ communities see this as a result of a bad karma. This has led to some parents being unwilling to accept reality and end up blaming each other or blaming themselves and most often end up blaming God.
On coming across a blind man, Jesus was asked by his disciples, “Why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the glory of God would be displayed in him.” This was too strange a thought for the disciples as they had always judged sickness as a cause of some sin or curse! How can God be glorified through a man born blind? Jesus was bringing out a very important truth through this incident.
It is necessary for every human to realize that the worst of situations can be used for God’s glory, based on how we see it. We are not born into a perfect world where everything is perfect. It was human sin that brought imperfection to this world. Perfection is only possible when we leave this world and reach God in heaven. If you see your special needs child as a result of bad karma, you will keep blaming, crying and grumbling and make your life and the lives of those around you miserable.
Instead, if you try to see how God can be glorified through this, you will begin to see how many things can turn out for good through this child that God brought into your life. He has refined you, changed you, made you a better human being, made you appreciate life and every little aspect of God’s creation and the list can go on. The key is to seek God’s glory rather than your own glory.
The God who gave this child to you will give you the needed grace to bring up this child.
Strength can be found only when you seek His grace and His glory. The more you rely on your strength or the more you focus on your child’s disabilities and the struggles, the more discontent and angry you will become. The focus instead should be on how your situation can glorify God and His purposes for your life