This week is full of fall festivals, and we’re scheduled to attend a few. While this usually doesn’t bother me, I have some reservations this year. We’ve had a rough month with a major plumbing project, both vehicles in the shop for repairs, illness, and the accompanying financial stress. As a result of the drama, my daughter has experienced some regression, especially in her sensory processing issues and the revival of her very real but irrational fear that we’re going to abandon her.
Fall festivals involve large crowds, which can be quite overwhelming to a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, and there’s always the potential for a temporary separation. So, while she loves the dressing up, candy, and idea of a party, I’m apprehensive.
Despite my misgivings, we’re going to attend the parties we’ve committed to. It won’t be the first time I’ve done something scared. I’ve had lots of moments on this special needs journey when I’ve been afraid and had to trust God and move forward. Sometimes it was sending my child into the operating room for another surgery or invasive procedure. Other times it involved leaving a familiar therapy facility for another facility because of insurance changes. I’ve sent her into extracurricular activities when she was unsure of herself and on the verge of a meltdown, and I’ve been afraid of how she would handle it—and how others would respond to her.
Some of these experiences have gone better than I ever dreamed, and others have hit snags. But God has been faithful to see us through everything. He has blessed us with specialists and therapists who listen and understand. We’ve gotten good Sunday school teachers and children’s ministers who take our explanations of hidden disabilities seriously and do what they can to make church a positive experience for our daughter and everyone else. We have dance instructors who are focused on having the kids learn and enjoy themselves instead of perfection, so they’re not rattled when she confuses her right with her left—again.
Despite all the challenges my daughter faces, we are tremendously blessed by people God has sent to walk the journey with us. Many of those people will attend the activities we’ve got planned for this week, and God is always with us, so I’m going to help my daughter get dressed up and take her to some parties. It might be a disaster, but like I’ve seen so many times in the past, it might turn out better than I ever imagined.
“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (HCSB)
Jennifer Janes lives in Arkansas with her husband Jeremy and their two daughters. Her younger daughter has special needs, although it took several years before the extent of those needs became evident. Jennifer has moved from denial to thriving in an alphabet soup of diagnoses. She spends her days in the Word, reading, writing in blue ink, homeschooling, and going back and forth between therapy sessions and specialist appointments. She manages all this and anything else that comes her way with God’s help. Jennifer writes about faith, family, homeschooling, and parenting a child with special needs on her blog.
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