Have there been times when you were afraid/ fearful? This is obviously a rhetorical question, but what I want you to think about is what you did or didn’t do about that fear?
When I think about being fearful, a sweet memory comes to mind. It was my first trip to Oklahoma to visit with my dear friend, Kim. We had become close friends when we lived in Prosper, Texas together. Gathering daily for a walk once we dropped off our children at school, we would talk and talk and talk as we walked.
Now there’s just one thing you need to know about Kim before we go any further. Kim has four children, all adopted from Korea. Kim and her husband, Joe, adopted each one of these children with the understanding that more than one of them had some special needs. While God blessed her with four beautiful children, there were, in fact, two of the children who have life-altering special needs. Over the years, Kim and I had talked about all of our children and their needs, trials, and how we deal with the ups and downs of parenting. I felt familiar with many of her family’s challenges. Still, I had only visited with her children minimally, an hour here or there at birthday parties or little visits at her home, but nothing truly immersed. This particular visit would be a three-day adventure, and I would be staying in her home.
Some of you may not think this is a big deal, but as Kim shared with me, many parents with children who have special needs can sometimes feel apologetic if their child has behavior issues that could be wrongly interpreted as poor parenting, such as unruly or abrasive behavior, destructive tantrums, and so on.
I want to confess that as I had agreed to come and visit, I was, in fact, afraid. Specifically, Kim shared one of her daughters was in the middle of a medicine change and dealing with side effects of moodiness and increased agitation. I wasn’t afraid of her daughter’s behavior, but rather of the uncertainty I may say something or do the wrong thing that would upset her daughter. Afraid that I may witness a meltdown. Afraid that I would witness something I couldn’t help change or fix. Also, I was fearful that our friendship would be tested, and I wouldn’t measure up as a friend who could handle, accept, or understand her special needs children.
Before the visit, Kim called me with that much-needed intel about how the children were doing, what I might expect to see, and some simple do’s and don’ts. She even asked me if I was sure I wanted to come. I was afraid, but instead of backing out of the visit, I went anyway. I wanted to love on my friend who had moved away and whom I had missed. I wanted to show her love by loving on her family the best way I could, and I prayed it would be enough.
It’s when we are most afraid that we have to lean into love. Fear is going to come, and fear will go, but LOVE is constant. So when you’re afraid, when you are most fearful of all the what if’s, make sure you look inside and remember why you’re going to do what it is you’re going to do. LOVE.
I thank God that love does not require perfection. The trip to see Kim and her family was a success. I learned a lot more about living with children who have special needs. After the trip, my friend shared she had also been afraid. She said it’s a lot to ask a friend to come alongside the chaos that can, on occasion, be her life, and that she felt more love for me because I was willing to take on the challenge.
So remember, when you are afraid or filled with fear, GO ANYWAY. Show love the best way you can and gather all the precious moments with your loved ones.
Need a spiritual lift? We’d love for you to join us for our next POP Chat, tomorrow, Wednesday, January 27th from 6:30-7:30 p.m. CST. Our guest speaker is former Principal, Current Life Coach and Ministry Leader, Starlet Bell, and her topic is “Praying and Fasting for a Turnabout Year.” Our guest Worship Leader is Author, Singer-Songwriter and “Bible Chicks” Podcast Host, Carole Brewer. It’s one hour of Worship, Teaching, Discussion and Prayer. The entire Pearls of Promise Team will be there as well! Here’s the link to sign up: