I didn’t understand how much becoming a parent would change my relationships. And being a parent to a child with special needs impacts that even more greatly. I don’t even just mean earthly relationships but my connection with God too.
Before I had my daughter Emmaus I got up early most mornings to spend time with God. It is something I saw my parents do and something I strived to be faithful in doing. And then I had a baby, which lead to less sleep. And that didn’t end in a typical time frame. In fact, due to her diagnosis and her disease process my oldest daughter didn’t sleep through the night till she was four. FOUR.
So as you can imagine getting up a minute
before ABSOLUTELY necessary was out.
But like I talked about in part one planning is important even in the unpredictability of having a child with special needs. I had to adjust to my new reality and my time spent with God had to adjust as well. I am thankful to live in the age of podcasts. I made it a priority to listen to biblically sound podcasts, or sermon podcasts. Things that pushed me forward in my relationship with God but that I could do while driving in the car or while on the go.
But, I had to PLAN to use my spare moments. The key is intentionality.
Another relationship that changed greatly is the one with my husband. We do not have a typical family so our relationship doesn’t function like a lot of marriages. It is easy to let the relationship get away from us. We have had to become intentional about investing in it.
We aim to schedule some kind of “date” EVERY WEEK. Now that might mean we put the kids to bed and play a board game. If we can get out of the house we try to but it just isn’t always possible. For a while we had a sitter and went to breakfast together each week.
Yearly, we try to get away together just the two of us. It is hard, and a bit scary to hand over the reigns of our crazy lives and step out to focus on each other, but we come back rested and reconnected. It doesn’t have to be long, or pricey, but it has been invaluable to us.
Whether you are just starting your special needs journey or you are just needing to breathe life into it, try to remember that relationships will change. Remember to allow space and grace for that change to take place. Be encouraged that there are ways to still engage even if it looks much different than before.
Written by Laurisa Ballew