Beautiful: the Heart of a Special Needs Child

Sweet child, lovely, innocent, and indeed a special gift from God

Jim Allen

When the doctor's report came back, the news was bad. My daughter in-law and son listened to every shocking word spoken by the doctor. Tears of heartbreak were real that day. The problems of everyday life faded away as the news of the moment seized their hearts. The baby girl in her womb would be born with Downs Syndrome, in need of special care for the rest of her life. They mourned the loss of a healthy child they had dreamed about but would never come to know.

Upon hearing the news, my wife wept. I sat down in my chair, thinking their best hope for normalcy would dissolve into unknown tomorrows. Even though we recognized such things could happen, we never thought it probable. We had prayed God would bless them with a healthy child. Why didn't He? Didn't God hear our prayers and theirs? It was hard for us to imagine how they would cope; so many other parents in the same situation have done the unthinkable and terminated the pregnancy. How would this young mother and father find the fortitude to deal with the prospect of so many special needs for this little one?

The reality of a "lifetime of care" for a special needs child is no small matter. The cognitive and physical delays in development are obvious challenges. But will the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of a Downs child growing up to enjoy the many wonders of God's creation be lessened somehow too? Is it fair to bring a child into the world who may never know a "normal" life? Some parents choose abortion as an alternative to caring for a special needs child. Others, like my daughter in-law and son, choose to embrace the burden with internal resolve and step bravely forward, knowing God will carry them through...which He has done most admirably.

After birth, my granddaughter spent nearly a month in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), barely clinging to life. The medical staff and her parents hovered over her, making sure the monitors were beeping good data while ensuring not a single need went unfulfilled. Just three months later (after a short stay at home), the little one returned to undergo heart surgery, going once again back in the ICU.
"It's not any fun watching someone you love suffer, and sometimes, when we're going through something like that, we can question God's goodness. But God is always good, in spite of the fact that we live in a fallen, broken world that's full of sickness and disease and crime and natural disasters and all sorts of other bad things.

"He demonstrates His goodness every time another person shows they care. And He works through us, every time we show kindness to others. Sometimes God moves mountains and works miracles, but most often, He makes His presence known through ordinary people like you and me, as we do what we can to share His love.

"In a way, we all spend time in God's ICU every day, for His care for us really is intensive. And honestly, God's ICU isn't really a bad place to be, at all." [1]
I am happy to report my granddaughter is doing fine, now home again with mom and dad. She is a very sweet child...beautiful, innocent, and a special gift from God. She grows every day and has been gifted with that special smile that steals my heart away. She is a special bundle who is loved by all who meet her. She is especially loved by God, who allowed her to be special for His special purposes. One of those purposes, I now believe, is to remind you and me that we too are children born with special needs, a need for the Savior, no less, to care for us during our times in His ICU (Joshua 1:9; Isaiah 40:31).

The inspiration for writing this article came from an online song thought up by a little boy named Matty who had a special message for his special needs sister. In a world filled with cruelty, these words from a child's heart are powerful. If only we could all see people through eyes like his.

Little Boy Dedicates a Sweet Song to His Sister With Special Needs from sharethemessage on GodTube.

[1] God, You & ICU by Renae Brumbaugh, Hope & Humor

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Published 1-16-13