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Miles to Go—Wonderfully Made

By Marianne Miles

“Oh, Lord, you have searched me and known me…For it was you who formed my inward parts, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalms 139:1, 13-14)

The young mother smiled thinly as we put on our coats at the end of the party. “May I ask you something?” she said.

My curiosity piqued. “Sure,” I replied, “What’s up?”

She maneuvered me away from the group. “It’s about Timothy.”

I mentally put on my older-mother-of-a-special-needs-child hat.

“What’s wrong, Sweetie?” I asked her. I had heard that Timothy was doing well since they began seeing a counselor.

At six, Timothy was incontinent most days and every night. His family served as missionaries, and they planned to leave for the back country soon. The mom, Connie, wondered how they could take a year’s worth of Pull-ups with them. In addition, Timothy was tall for his age so Pull-ups would be too small soon. We talked about solutions, and more importantly, how Timothy was thinking of himself and his disability.

As we ended our conversation, I encouraged her with words we both knew to be true. “Connie, you know that God made Timothy this way for a purpose.”

She bit her lip and nodded her head but did not answer.

“Tell him that,” I urged her. “Admit that you didn’t choose this for him—and still would not—but that God loves him and knows better than you what he needs.” I added, “And remember, this is not your fault.”

Connie’s reserve broke and she cried heartily on my shoulder. “Everyone says we’re doing it wrong,” she whispered, “But nothing we try works.”

“I know,” I said, and I did. “One says you’re too strict and another says you’re too lenient, followed by another saying you’re not consistent enough?”

She smiled and nodded.

“You’ve tried alarms, ignoring him, rewards and punishment?”

“We’ve tried it all,” she agreed. “But I still feel so guilty, like I could have done better.”

I rubbed her back as I spoke, “We could all be better parents. When I was pregnant with Jon (my special needs son) I worked in an office and became tired in the afternoons. So, I ate a Snickers every day on my break to have enough energy to complete my shift. Don’t you know that I’ve often wrangled with guilt, wondering if those candy bars did something to cause Jon’s kidney defect?”

“A Snickers?” she asked incredulously.

“I know, it’s unlikely,” I said, still feeling the guilt. “But here’s the truth, Connie. God knit Timothy together in your womb—with a defective bladder. This was God’s intent—not a mistake, not something you can fix. Not right now—maybe not ever.”

“Doctor’s keep telling me he won’t go to college in diapers.”

“Probably not,” I said, “But maybe. Don’t have expectations and set up standards that he can’t meet. It will create a wall between you and him because he won’t like failing you. Stay connected to him. God wants you to teach him a lot more than how to be dry.”

Connie nodded and wiped her eyes with a tissue.

I continued, “You know, I’ve often wondered why God brought these sorrows to our son and I can’t say I understand even yet, but I trust God with not knowing.”

“Your Jon is wonderful.”

“Thanks,” I said, but felt uncertain as I rarely receive praise about Jon.

“Really,” she assured me, “I see amazing sensitivity and compassion in your Jon. Don’t you think that has a lot to do with the pain he’s suffered?” Connie asked. “I’ve even noticed him being particularly sweet to our Timothy. That means so much to us.”

I nodded but was unable to speak with the lump in my throat. I finally squeaked. “Yes, and I know he loves the Lord. Is there really anything better in one’s life?”

We left the party that night closer than when we came, all because of our last ten minutes of mutual encouragement. I find myself remembering those words and praying for Timothy and his family. I’m thinking of ways to help this family; to come along side with new ideas about ways to cope. However, I know that this family will find their best comfort in the arms of our Lord—when they turn to The Creator and One who called Timothy to bear this disability. Is there really anything else of importance in their lives?

©2009 Marianne Miles. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Bio:
Marianne Miles is a free lance writer intent on bringing comfort to mom’s of special needs kids. As she and her husband raised their children, including a son with special needs, Marianne developed a passion to support hurting mothers. Her message revolves around the love and provision of God, even in times of trial. Marianne has worked as a volunteer in the public schools, home school mom, and a teacher in a private school. She writes on the subjects of family and education in the form of devotionals, magazine articles, and poetry. Marianne welcomes reader’s comments and publisher’s questions at Marianne_Miles@yahoo.com.