Don’t Lose Hope: A Letter to Special Needs Parents


Dear Special Needs Parent,

This unexpected life is weird, wonderful, wild and ugly, isn’t it? I think we, of all people, are the ones who can rightly say, “It’s complicated.” Hang in there. You are brave, even when you don’t feel brave.

The best advice ever given me is what I offer you: Don’t ever give up hope.

It might not look great right now. In fact, things might look pretty bleak. You might not imagine how you’ll ever be lighthearted again. Your life is so intense, you can’t think about anything but big, heavy issues. Things you never used to think about. Things your friends never have to think about. Things you wish you didn’t have to think about, but you must. It’s not an option. It’s your life.

You may wonder how in the world you went from such a blessedly normal existence to this slightly bizarre life, where suddenly you understand medical terms without the benefit of a medical degree. At times, your existence seems surreal. You never thought life could be so different than what you expected.

You may have lost friends. Oh, not all at once. But little by little, the friendships fell by the wayside. Some you can trace back to relocation, some…you just lost. Maybe you saw their compassion turn to impatience, or maybe they couldn’t handle your pain. But some friends have faithfully stayed by your side. And new friends have joined you in your journey. These are the true friends.

And pain…pain is now part of your life, whether you like it or not. It’s like an unwelcome member of the family, speaking up at inconvenient times. Sometimes your pain is quietly managed in the private places and cover of night. But other times, your pain overwhelms, shouting for recognition in the sunshine of day. Pain is that ever-present thorn in your side that must be addressed. When it is, pain can be reasonable. When shoved aside, pain becomes a monster waiting to pounce, grown beyond proportion.

Why? you ask. Why me?

There are no easy answers to why. But take heart, friend. The best news is this: God is on your side. When you wonder if there is anything good left in this world, the answer is YES. Yes! Look in the mirror. You are God’s creation. Your child is God’s creation. You are the reason Jesus came to the earth to bridge the gap sin left between God and man. Because of Jesus, we have hope for our future. We have hope for our children. We have hope for our happiness. We have hope for our world. Jesus loves children, and He loves you. Even when we think our children suffer unimaginably, He never leaves them. He is faithful. We have hope through Him that we will never be alone. We will always be loved. Our struggle here on earth will not be in vain but for a purpose. His purpose.

Don’t lose hope, friend. You have Jesus.


12 thoughts on “Don’t Lose Hope: A Letter to Special Needs Parents”

  1. Marlene DeForrest

    Teresa, thank you for sharing this post! Hope is a message that parents need every day – and sometimes every hour. Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share your pain with us. As parents, we’re in this together and that lightens the load.

  2. Tiffany Dickinson

    Thanks Teresa. This is good.

    From: Turning the River To: Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2017 7:25 AM Subject: [New post] Don’t Lose Hope: A Letter to Special Needs Parents #yiv2975135559 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2975135559 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2975135559 a.yiv2975135559primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2975135559 a.yiv2975135559primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2975135559 a.yiv2975135559primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2975135559 a.yiv2975135559primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2975135559 | Teresa Wells posted: “Dear Special Needs Parent,This unexpected life is weird, wonderful, wild and ugly, isn’t it? I think we, of all people, are the ones who can rightly say, “It’s complicated.” Hang in there. You are brave, even when you don’t feel brave.The best” | |

    1. Tiffany, you’re welcome. Be blessed as you settle into your new community. I hope everything went smoothly and things are settling into a routine…? Big moves are challenging. 💕

  3. Pingback: Don’t Lose Hope: A Letter to Special Needs Parents – Wrestling with Faith – Dancing with Jesus

  4. Oh my Word! Did you read my mind this morning?? This is exactly how I feel day in and day out and yet, I find peace in Jesus and knowing that He is near despite it all. But the pain… oh heavens, the pain. Thank you for this post. It really highlighted something I need to accept; This is my life, even if I don’t want it to be.

    1. Wow, that’s amazing. How great is our God? You are not alone. He is with you, and there are many of us walking this path, trying to make a good life out of hard circumstances. I’ll be praying for you. So glad you connected, Lene.

      1. Glad you connected back!
        Making a good life in hard circumstances is nice way to put it. What I wouldn’t give for a break or even better, for a permanent cure, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. I so want to connect with other parents who knows how it feels to parent a child with special needs. As you wrote; Many friends fall away but those who stay are true friends. Yet, only a parent who has a struggling child understands another parent with a struggling child. Anyway, I really needed to read your letter this morning and I’m very grateful to the Lord for leading me here.
        I pressed it on my blog, BTW…

      2. That is the glory of the digital world. Years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed of conversing so easily with people so far from my geographical location. What a blessing to easily access other special needs parents from around the world. As for a cure, I too, have hoped my daughter would be cured, but things move slowly and we deal with the symptoms. Some days and weeks are challenges, some are joys. Thank you for sharing my post. I hope others are encouraged as well. I’m praying for you.

      3. Thank you for your prayers. I appreciate all I can get. How old is your daughter? Mine is 10.
        Living in Tokyo it’s really difficult to connect with other special needs parents and I have days when I just want to give up ;-), obviously I can’t… and you say, things move slowly and we deal with symptoms while praying the underlying cause will be revealed so we can deal with that.
        Thank you for writing. I look forward to more in the future.

      4. My daughter is 32, and she has tuberous sclerosis. We’ve been through many, many ups and downs. Lately, lots of downs specific to behavior. We live in close proximity to special needs families (one across the street), but as far as having conversations about our kids, that isn’t frequent. It’s been hard for our family, but God has been so faithful to give encouragement through His Word. I’ve learned a lot about God’s character. When you feel like giving up (and I get it, believe me), start looking for His character in the Word, especially the Psalms. It changed me.

      5. Thank you. Yes, it’s hard to talk about… But it’s just so nice to find someone who knows how it feels. I’m so sorry about your daughter. My Bible is open on Isaiah 44 most days. Especially verse 3-5. It brings such peace.

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