I’m not proud to admit it, but it’s happened to me before.
Sitting at our autism support group meeting, I listen to the mother of a ten year old go on and on about how her son talks about Star Wars and nothing else. “You poor thing,” I think to myself. “Must be so hard on you to have a son who talks so much. I’ll just be busy over here trying to get my son to answer a question with yes or no.”
Or in an online group of special needs parents, when one mom says her child struggles with eating issues. “What? Just eating issues? What about the issues I deal with every day? Eating issues, sleeping issues, social issues, speech issues, fine-motor issues, gross-motor issues, and safety issues.”
It seems the typical mommy wars are mostly about how much better my kid is than your kid. But the special-needs mommy wars are often about how much harder my child’s special needs are than your child’s special needs.
Deep down, we don’t really want to fight with other parents about who has it the hardest. We just want someone to acknowledge how hard we work. Someone to see the extra effort it takes. Someone to say, “I know it’s tough and you’re doing a great job.”
In Scripture we meet a woman who just wanted to be seen as well. Hagar had obeyed her mistress Sarai and did what she was supposed to do. She agreed to step in for Sarai and carry Abram’s child. Then when she found out Hagar was pregnant, Sarai turned on her. Hagar fled to the wilderness. But the angel of the Lord met her there. He told her she would bear a son and name him Ishmael, which means “God hears.”
Hagar responded, “So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen him who looks after me’” (Genesis 16:13).
She called Him El Roi, the God who sees me. She named her son Ishmael, God hears.
Friends, we don’t have to compete with each other for attention and sympathy. We have a God who sees. He hears. He knows.