To finish our series, I asked Rosemarie to write a letter to the "friends" of women struggling with Mother's Day. She originally wrote this letter to friends of moms that have special-needs children. But this letter is SO applicable for ALL situations, I decided to end with it. Don't forget to check out her blog: Raylens Journey - Rejoice in the PresentDear Moms,
"Rejoicing" has asked me to write this letter as a follow up for those of you out there that may know some mother who has a child with a disability or special needs but who are not necessarily dealing with the same thing yourself.
How can you be an encouragement, a blessing, a prayer warrior, a friend, a shoulder? So many moms have come to my side through the process of caring for my son, and with each one I have learned what I can and cannot handle and what I do and do not need them to say and do. We have all come through a learning experience together, so I’d like to share just a few things I’ve learned along my journey and hope they are a blessing and a help to you in yours.
1. Listen, but then learn to communicate past “what’s wrong”: Let me explain. Every day we can get into a rut of explaining our child’s condition to the world and it becomes almost a mundane but necessary chore (kinda like doing the dishes or folding laundry). Whether it is at the doctor’s office, the insurance company, the in-laws, the neighbor, or the inquisitive old lady at the grocery store, we are ALWAYS talking about “what’s wrong” with our child and never moving past that. Guaranteed, if you have a friend with a child in this way, she is going through some sort of yoga exercise for her aching jaw.
Being a friend sometimes means, a change of subject. Listen to her, let her vent, but then help her remember, she has a life full of things to talk about outside of “what’s wrong”. Don’t scold or nag, just inspire her! Trust me, she may not understand what you’re doing, but she will thank you!
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
2. Her acceptance of her child’s condition is not a lack of faith or desire to see her child healed! Oh ladies! One of the greatest stretches of your faith is to see your child going through something you cannot take away and put them fully in the hands of your Almighty Father and trust He knows what He’s doing. There is no small leap in this journey of continual surrender. But in this daily struggle, we find our peace and rest in acceptance.
Do you have a child that struggles in school, has extremely curly hair or freckles, is shy or too outspoken? Would you change any of this for them? Certainly not, because it is part of what makes them fearfully and wonderfully made. So it goes with our little ones. I am asked almost daily, “Will it go away? Will it get any better? Can he outgrow his skin condition?” All of which I answer ‘no’, but a resounding 90% of the time I am met with the very well-intentioned answer of “Well, God can do anything! Don’t you think He can’t heal your son!”
No sweeter answer can we receive than a resounding, “God is always perfect in all His ways and has a plan for all He does and allows. I will pray God continues to give you grace and peace for everyday, no matter where His journey leads you!”
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:11-13
3. Do not let your fear or lack of understanding keep you away. Life should go on in the same fashion as it did before baby arrived or their child was diagnosed. Of course if you are sick there will be those days you keep your distance, but she needs you now more than she ever did before and she needs to know nothing has changed.
When a child is born with or becomes disabled, the world of “normal” shifts to an alternate one for everyone involved. Routines change, sometimes jobs and positions change, knowledge and understanding certainly changes and time management looks like a daily planner on steroids. Constants mean the world to us. When everything else has taken on a massive change, knowing she has a friend who will come to the rescue, favorite drink in hand, and just be there, you have just made her day!
Sure, the diagnosis could be a little frightening, you’re not sure what is appropriate to say or do and you are afraid your face will give your state of “shock” away, but trust me, she will clue you in, and soon, you won’t even notice it anymore.
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. - Proverbs 27:17
There are so many other things I could say, but these take the cake on my importance list. You all make amazing prayer warriors and confidence boosters! No matter what your mommy friend is facing, the best thing she could possibly have is YOU! So don’t be afraid, ladies! Step up to the plate and swing with all you’ve got!
Beautifully and Sincerely Yours,