Grace for Special Needs Families: Day Five
grace to ask for help
READ: Exodus 17, Psalm 121:1-2, Matthew 7:7, Proverbs 3:5-6
We’ve all heard the saying, “The days are long but the years are short.” Well in the world of a special needs parent, it’s more like, “The days are long and the years are long.” Sometimes we get so overwhelmed just trying to make it through each day that we fail to see the bigger picture. We go to bed exhausted because we’ve just spent the last of our emotional energy on either our healthy children or our spouse and by the time we get a moment to focus on ourselves, our eyelids have shut, and we’ve sunk into a rest that will inevitably be rattled awake at some point in the night as we care for our child.
We’re so tired and weary because we’ve neglected to care for ourselves.
We’ve neglected to care for ourselves because we’ve been trying to be everything to everyone in our home.
We’ve neglected to ask for help.
The book of Exodus reminds us of the story of Moses in chapter seventeen where Joshua and his men are trying to defeat an enemy. Whenever Moses raises the staff in his hand, Israel wins, but whenever he lowers his staff of God, the enemy wins. But Moses is very old and tired and cannot keep holding his arms up on his own. At this point, his friends Aaron and Hur go to him, place a rock under him for him to sit down, and hold his arms up for him so that Joshua can lead the Israelites to victory.
We weave through the pages of Scripture and find ourselves in the Psalms, which are saturated with prayers for help in times of need. Psalm 121 begins with, “I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made Heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2, ESV). Here the psalmist is beginning a trek to Jerusalem for the Festival of Feasts. But he must start his journey far from his destination and finds himself looking both literally and figuratively to the hills and asking himself where his help truly comes from. He then answers his own reflective question that his help comes from the Lord.
Our fingers trace the pages of text as Old Testament turns to New Testament, and Jesus’ life shows us how to love and show compassion to others. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus reminds us that if we ask, much will be given.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock , and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7, ESV). We are to come to Jesus’ feet asking for whatever our need is, be it wisdom as we care for our children or even physical help from friends, even if just for a warm meal to be delivered on a long day. We’re to seek God with our whole heart, leaning not on our own understanding, but trusting in His will (Proverbs 3:5-6). And we’re to knock so that it will be opened. If we humbly bring our needs to the Lord, He will meet us and provide.
It’s time to give ourselves grace and permission to humbly ask for help, both from the Lord and from our motherhood community, as we meet the daily challenges of raising our beautiful children.
1. We are not meant to walk this road alone. Think of a friend who the Lord has placed in your life that has helped you on your journey as you raise your special needs and/or medically fragile child. Write them a letter of gratitude for all they’ve done.
2. Think through your list of current needs. Pray over one or two specific needs that need to be met, coming humbly before the Lord.
3. Ask yourself how you’re really doing. Are you trying to do it all, or have you found healthy ways to meet your family’s extra needs? Consider how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Pray over where you’re at on each of these, and then take the steps toward your own health.