Sunday, March 20, 2011

Special Needs Church

What a great weekend we had in Moab but now it is back to reality.

On the way back to Lehi I wrote my talk that I am giving in church today. Nicole and I are speaking in another ward. We are speaking with the Special Needs Mutual Group.

Nicole attends Special Needs Mutual each week which is such a highlight in her week. 2 weeks they work on YW things. It is either a lesson or maybe one of the values. 1 week another ward comes and gives mutual to them. Activities, games, crafts are all included and other things too. One week is usually a dance. When the other ward comes and shares mutual with Special Needs then the following Sunday Special Needs goes to their ward and does the sacrament program.

2 special needs "kids" speak plus their buddy as well as a leader from the YW and YM organization and 1 parent. I am the parent this week. My topic is:

"How is having a Special Needs child blessed our lives."

How can I even do justice to this topic? We have had many blessings come into our lives from the moment Nicole took her first breath. How can I look into her beautiful face and not see the miracle of God working in our lives.

Nicole was born with the umbilical cord wrapped 3 times around her neck. She was being strangled but before the cord could get tightened she aspirated in the birth canal. We didn't know it at the time but that was the beginning of our journey with Nicole and the brain injury that occurred which has caused her to have the many difficulties she has suffered with during her life time.

Nicole has Christ-like love. She loves everyone. From a young age she would say this or that person was her friend and she loved them. 99% of the time she didn't even know them. It didn't matter who they were, the color of their skin or economic circumstance, she loved them.

Nicole has taught us patience, kindness, trust, love, understanding, determination, humility, hope, faith and peace. No, life has not been a rosy path. We have had many trials and tribulations stemming from her underlying condition. She has been stubborn, trying, unreasonable and sometimes a down right pill to parent but she can also be the sunniest sunshiny spot of my day.

Schedules are a must for us. We have to plan way in advance and talk about changes in advance to help Nicole become familiar with the change. Not that we can't do something at the spur of the moment but our days go more smoothly when it is planned out. For many years we couldn't live day to day or even hour to hour, it was more like minute by minute or moment by moment.

YES, having a Special Needs Child can be frustrating at times, many times I even want to pull my hair out or even just go in my closet and scream and cry, but, there are also many days when I laugh at the funny things she does or says. I also love teaching her new things even if I have taught those things to her in the past many times.

She is a gentle reminder everyday of serving and loving the least of these....

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