The Milestone Elephant

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Editor’s note: Here’s the second post in Jeff Davidson’s series… Facing the Elephants in the Room, in which he looks at the overwhelming, but unspoken challenges confronting parents of kids with special needs. Last week’s post on The Anger Elephant may be found here. Today’s post from Jeff…

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Psalms 56:8 (NLT)

Some of the biggest struggles for so many special-needs parents are the emotions we experience when our children don’t reach typical milestones in the manner or time of other children.

We can begin to experience grief, sorrow, disappointment, sadness, and lament each time another milestone is missed. I once wrote these words about my own feelings:

“Secretly, I fantasized about building a massive bonfire out of those baby milestone books and having a giant book-burning party. I could see myself silhouetted against the shadows of this massive fire and I would invite all parents of children with special needs to come throw their milestone books on the fire as it stretched towards a blood-red sky. We would feel the glow of the fire against our faces as we shook our fists and raged at an unseen God.”

shutterstock_370768415If we are not careful, we can slip into feelings of loneliness, despair, and begin to isolate our families and ourselves.

In our struggle watching other children, we began to withdraw from attending other children’s parties or social outings because watching the other kids do things my son couldn’t do became unbearable. Withdrawal is a dangerous way of coping.

Grieving is a very natural response, and nothing we should feel guilty about or any shame over. But we should always remind ourselves of the flip side and find the little things in the journey that we can celebrate, find joy in, and focus our thoughts on.

This journey as special-needs parents will produce a roller coaster of emotions. The decision of how we handle the ride is up to us.

Joy can be found in the simple things.

Contentment can be found in the small things.

We should always in every situation remind ourselves that God sees our pain and grief. It does not go unnoticed. That’s why I love the Scripture above from Psalm 56:8 so much. It speaks of a God who notices every little bit of pain and sorrow in our lives.

It’s a reminder that we do not go on this journey alone. God is always watching over us. He is always with us.

And the day will come when there will be no more mourning, crying, or pain.

Revelation 21:4 (NLT)

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IMG_8478Jeff Davidson is an author and pastor who enjoys speaking at churches, conferences, events and to groups, ministering to special needs families and individuals. Jeff and his wife Becky started Rising Above Ministries when they realized the incredible gift and blessing their own son with special needs (Jon Alex) was to them. Jeff’s book, No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches, is available through Crosslink Publishing, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

 

About Dr. G

Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as President and Founder of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University. He is a faculty member in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at two medical schools, leads a group practice in suburban Cleveland (Family Center by the Falls), and continues to be involved in research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed to children for ADHD, anxiety and depression. He is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Dr. Grcevich was recently recognized by Sharecare as one of the top ten online influencers in children’s mental health. His blog for Key Ministry, www.church4everychild.org was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
This entry was posted in Advocacy, Families, Inclusion, Jeff Davidson, Parents, Special Needs Ministry and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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