Raising any child has its difficulties, but parenting a special needs child can take those same difficulties and make them seem monumental. Each stage brings new challenges, especially socially. How many of you and your children have experienced awkward moments, scorn, and exclusion because of your child’s disability?

Recently, while having dinner with my autism support sisters, I listened to each of them talk about the new difficulties (and difficult people) they faced with each stage of their child’s development. I realized, in some ways, my journey is still in the beginning stages. My heart felt a bit heavy with that thought — more challenges on the horizon and another mountain to climb. As I drove home, I pondered their words and wondered: How can we find joy amidst the great weight of responsibility that parenting these special children can bring?

Something I read the other day helped. In Matthew 18, Jesus spoke of children and said, “’See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven‘” (Matthew 18:10–11).

I have reread those same verses over and over. Why? Because it reminds me that God holds children special, and my daughter with autism is a special child. In many ways, her autism has prolonged her childlike innocence. To think about how important she is to the Father is beyond comforting. And it makes the days ahead seem easier by thinking that God has her future in His hands and He has a special interest in her. So maybe the next time I think of her as having “special” needs, it will remind me, instead of her handicaps and difficulties, that she has a very special place in the heart and eyes of God.

Image Credit: Louise Docker