I have had to learn that God has a unique way for each of us to serve Him.
I have two adult children with various disabilities. My second son Caleb was born prematurely and spent the first three and a half weeks of his life in intensive care. He was eventually diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. Two years later, my daughter Alice was born and within eight months, we knew that she also had developmental delays.
Early on, I had to learn to advocate for my children. While navigating many of Caleb’s medical issues, I learned to question doctors and even argue with them when necessary. I also began to learn the rights of parents in the education system. I insisted that Alice (who hears but is not able to speak) get sign language instruction. I refused to sign the IEP until that was incorporated into her learning.
As my children were growing up, I learned to be honest in prayer. Sometimes, I’d say, “Lord, I don’t think I can handle this.” And He taught me. He taught me that we can handle more than we think if we let Him hold us up.
Also, when we say we want to do great things for God, “great” doesn’t always look the way we expect. For me, service to the Lord consisted of loving and serving my family. It was enjoying them for who they are, and it was praying that they would reach new heights. It was letting them fight their battles independently too, even though I always let them know how much I cared.
James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault…” I frequently had to ask for wisdom. Wisdom to know when to give praise where praise was due and correction when necessary.
I also needed to trust God to guide them when they were out in the world, starting when they were small and later when they became adults with adult challenges. I pray daily for my oldest son. I pray for Caleb who has moved into a lifesharing home with a caregiver. I pray for Alice doing data compilation and secretarial work from home.
I pray that each of my children know Jesus as Lord and Savior and continually grow in their faith. There was a moment in the gospels where Peter asked Jesus what fate John would have (in contrast to himself), and Jesus mildly reminded him that it wasn’t necessary for him to know it. (John 22) I see that as a lesson for us: everyone has his own field in which to serve and in which to love. I am learning to embrace mine.