Prayer, parenting and the special needs child

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I have another post in process, but a friend sent me an article from U.S. Catholic containing this quote, which I found so beautifully true that I wanted to post it here:

“It should not be considered ‘God’s will’ that a parent is given a disabled child, but it is God’s will that we all be saved, and that we are to use the circumstances of our lives to open ourselves more fully to God’s grace.”

              -Msgr. Richard Arnhols

The family diagnosed with a special needs child inevitably hears, “God gives these kids to the best parents,” or some variation thereof. I always accept that as the compliment it is intended to be, but at the same time, I’ve always felt that the idea of God deciding who are the best parents, and then giving them a special needs child, is a little suspicious. I prefer to think of Julianna as a gift, the same as  Alex and Nicholas. Her needs are different…or, more accurately, more acute…but she is not a “bigger” gift than her siblings, or a “better” one; her presence does not mark me as a better parent, or singled out for special attention from God.

On the other hand, I do think that God gives each of us circumstances that invite us to grow in holiness. For all parents, children are that opportunity–an invitation to die to self, to place someone else’s needs above our own, to learn about God as we teach about God. But for Christian and I, Julianna’s presence in our life has definitely served to intensify that opportunity.

Anyway, speaking of someone else’s needs ahead of our own, I have a baby wanting to nurse and a two year old griping about who knows what, so I’ll leave off profundity and go be a mom now.

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