Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Special Life

I just got off the phone with my friend, Tammy. We're making plans for tomorrow night. Our church has their Awana awards night on the last Sun. night in April every year. Neither her 8 or my 4 participate in Awana, so we don't go to our church on that evening. Normally, we go visit other area churches, which can be fun. Our assistant pastor took the senior pastorate job in Pella a few months ago so we are all going to head over there. Tammy's family has this huge van (it used to a prison van, actually!) so they are going to swing by our house, pick us up, we'll ride together over to Pella, and then afterwards we're all going to descend on the local Dairy Queen. It will be fun!

A couple of weeks ago I went to a new beautician. I am mentally crossing my fingers that this gal may be the one I've been searching for! A lot of women in my church go to her and she just set up shop across the street from our church, actually. I was very pleased with the work she did on me and I'll definitely be back to see her. We were chatting and I was telling her about my kids. When I told her about Ben she immediately asked if I was involved in some sort of support group. She attends Valley Church in West Des Moines. They have a Christian support group for mothers of special needs children. I didn't know there was such a thing! She gave me the email contact for the gal that heads this up. Long story short - I went to my first meeting this past Tues. night. It was awesome! There were 7 of us, sitting around a table, sharing. They are going through a study book written for moms like me. I found it to be so uplifting to be able to talk about our children within the context of viewing them as gifts from a sovereign God - a view that is not shared by those who don't know the Lord. The mom sitting to my left that night had a grown son with disabilities and it was such a blessing to chat with her as she has gotten through the teen and early adult years with him. I left with such a light heart afterwards! Next month we are having a special speaker come in, a woman from Boone, who wrote a book entitled, "A Different Dream for my Child." I'm really looking forward to that! I see joining this group as a way to not only gain and give support in our similar endeavors of raising children with special needs, but as another way to make some friends.

And on the subject of special needs: I'm actually formulating an entire post related to this. You'll see that later. My friend Jenny from church gave birth last Sunday to a very special little girl, Rebekah. Midway through the pregnancy a routine ultrasound indicated that Rebekah might not be developing normally. Tests did not reveal any answers so Jenny and her husband, Matt, were really left in the dark for the remainder of the pregnancy. Rebekah was born normally and at the right time, but the doctors were right - something is wrong. She is still alive, hooked up to ventilator, and undergoing numerous tests as the doctors seek to find a diagnosis for her. Right now, if she does continue to live, it looks like she'll be having some probable life-long physical disabilities and it's possible there could be some neurological issues as well.

I spent a lot of last Monday up at the hospital with Jenny's family. I felt like, in some ways, I was re-living what happened to us 13 years ago. We were in the same position. Ben was more than 2 weeks old before we even knew if he would live. All we could do was stroke him through the incubator and try not to wince at all the tubes and wires connected to his body. We were getting all these negative reports from the NICU staff and doctors (even being told that perhaps we ought to think about removing him from the ventilator and letting him go). We didn't know if we were bringing home a handicapped baby, a healed baby, or if we were going to bring him home at all. It was a very "numb" time in my life, as I recall. I got to see little Rebekah (she's beautiful!) and I immediately flashed back to seeing Ben all those years ago. I have this intense desire to reach out to Matt and Jenny and hold their hands during this awful time because I know what they are going through. But really, the best thing I can do is to pray for them during this time of trial. And I can be there for Jenny and help her as her heart begins to process what all this will mean for their family. I ache for them because I understand. But at the same time, I also know, that whatever happens, it is not the end of the world, and they will smile again someday. But I'll leave the rest of my thoughts for a later post. Pray for them, as you think of this young family.

Well, I'm off to roll meatballs - kind of a yukky chore. But they will taste so good tomorrow!

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