As a mother of a child with autism, I face discouragement daily. But I’ve been blessed with wonderful friends and family who lift my spirits. I thought I’d pass along a list of ways my friends have encouraged me starting with this one (that way y’all can share the love!):

The other day, a friend asked me how I was doing. I paused, sighed, and then started with a disclaimer. “I know everyone faces their own challenges, but …”

She looked sad. “You don’t have to protect me with those types of statements. I want to hear how you’re doing, not have you defend yourself.”

Wow. One of the fears I have as a parent of a special needs child is that I will come off as a complainer or as some sort of martyr. I worry people will grow tired of my life’s troubles. This friend gave me freedom to share my feelings and difficulties without fear of judgment. She is a gift.