The Long Road Ahead
When you’re in the trenches of parenthood, it can be easy to become discouraged as you stare down the struggles and difficulties of the long road ahead. In this brief video, Andrew Wilson gives some advice to parents of children with special needs, offering a simple, yet helpful insight.
What’s Really Going On?
Tell me what’s going on, how does it feel? What are the various things that are taking place? Often, there’s a manifesting issue—such as a financial collapse or relational difficulty—but there are many layers of grief, sadness, fear, and anxiety underneath it.
It can be helpful to manage your expectations of what normal life can and should be, and recognize that the season you’re in is intensely difficult in a particular way and that it won’t always be that way. This is bound up with the idea of waiting for redemption and for things to be fixed. It’s very important.
Everything was going to have to be adapted dramatically in light of our new ordinary.
Consider Paring Back
My wife and I were very different in this, but [when we learned about our children’s special needs] I just carried on as if our experience was a blip that we could press on through. She would always say that we needed to go into what she called survival zone—to retreat and pare back our devotional lives, work, travel, the way we disciplined our children, and everything else that she thought of as normal. Everything was going to have to be adapted dramatically in light of our new ordinary.
I don’t know how that would apply to many other parenting situations, but I’m certain it will in many cases. The expectations of the way in which you were hoping to raise a family often need to die, or at least be adapted. But on first meeting someone, I wouldn’t say that. I would ask What’s it like to be you? What is it like to walk in your shoes? Is there anything I can do to be a listening ear or an encouragement in some way? I’d love to be able to help.
In our situation, we just needed to lower our expectations about what we could handle at home and what else we could do at the same time.
We realized just how much we had assumed we would have, how many things we believed were almost rights of ours.
In a sense, our story was really one of reconsidering every aspect of our lives.
The longer you live in this fallen world, the more kinds of trouble you face.