Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Encouragement vs. Support

As my husband and I walk this road of having a special needs child, we’ve come to realize something. People can comfort, console and encourage us the best they know how, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.

Encouragement is standing on the sidelines cheering someone on in their race. “C’mon, you can do it!" It's needed but not quite as vital as support. Support, on the other hand, is getting in the race with that person and running alongside them, being there to pick them up if they fall down. Support is getting in the mud and muck of having a special needs child and not being afraid of getting dirty. It’s messy sometimes! Special needs children do not always come neatly contained in a pretty box. Some are loud and have no social cues. Some aren’t toilet trained. Some have behavioral issues. Some have a quirkiness about them that annoys people. But God bless the friends who come alongside us and support us in our journey. God bless the ones who pick us up when we are down and the ones who offer to help carry our extra burdens. God bless the ones who are simply there for us!

My friend Melissa is one such friend! She has truly shared in the bitter and messy moments of our lives with Andrew. She didn’t lecture us on how to be better parents when Andrew scratched her newborn. She didn’t stop giving me a break by watching him when he put a hole in her couch with his Hot Wheel car. She was THERE! She was there for me to cry with and there for me to laugh with. She GOT IT! She was a constant support in my life when I needed it the most.

Find that one person who will be there for you! Be on the lookout for them! God has a way of bringing them into our lives to help us on our journey. Since my friend, Melissa, has moved out of state, I no longer have her support. She is still very encouraging. But because of distance, she can’t be as big of a support as she was.

Hopeful Parents is kind of filling that gap right now until the next person comes along. You all get it! In one way or another, we all share the common bond of having a special needs child. We’ve all been there! Because we can share in each other’s burdens, we can also share in each other’s joys! We are HOPEFUL PARENTS!!!