By Anna Perlini
My son Jonathan was born in a small Indian village, during the time my husband and I were serving there as volunteers. Like many Indian kids, he grew up eating rice, dahl, chapatis, and the incredible, colorful variety of tropical fruit available at every street corner.
Although he wasn’t yet five when we moved back to Europe, it took him a while to get adjusted to the new environment and particularly the new foods. At first, he looked very suspiciously at and dissected every bit of pasta on his plate. He had always been a slow eater, but he surely took his time to embrace Italian cuisine! Eventually, his memories of India and Indian food did fade. In those days, globalization hadn’t quite kicked in yet, and the only produce available in Italian supermarkets was seasonal Italian produce.
However, passing by a newly opened delicacies store one day, I spotted a mango! It was quite expensive, but Jonathan’s 11th birthday was just around the corner, and I thought it would be such a great treat for him to get to savor one of his favorite early childhood fruits.
I bought and packaged the mango, and invited my preteen son for a walk. Then we stopped on a bench and I solemnly presented my gift, telling him it would bring back memories from the past. Jonathan slowly opened the package and held the colorful mango in his hands for what seemed like a long time. No reaction.
“Mom, I really can’t remember. Sorry.”
I felt a bit disappointed. “Well, you should still try it. I promise you, you loved them when you were small.” With the same suspicious look he’d given his first Italian dishes years before, Jonathan took a small bite. Then another one, then more. Still, no reaction. Then … the seed appeared, and Jonathan’s eyes lit up.
“Mom, now I remember! I do! I remember how fun it was sucking on the seed!” And along with that memory, many more started rushing through this thinker of a boy. We talked and talked, reminiscing on other events and memories from the past.
From this episode with my son, I remember thinking how important it is to hold on just a bit longer when things don’t seem to click or make sense. As a mother, it was another confirmation that whatever we sow in our children’s youngest years will never be forgotten. It might seem like it is at times … but wait till they get to the seed!
Courtesy of Activated magazine; used by permission. Photo by Free Images via Freepik.com
A six-year-old came home from school one day with a note from his teacher in which it was suggested that he be taken out of school as he was “too stupid to learn”. His name: Thomas Alva Edison.
If you have a boy who just can’t learn in your class, don’t despair. He may be a late bloomer. It has now come out that Dr. Wernher von Braun, the missile and satellite expert, flunked math and physics in his early teens.
A boy who was so slow to learn to talk that his parents thought him abnormal & his teachers called him a “misfit”. His classmates avoided him and seldom invited him to play with them. He failed his first college entrance exam at a college in Zurich, Switzerland. A year later he tried again. In time he became world famous as a scientist. His name: Albert Einstein.
A young English boy was called “Carrot Top” by other students & given “little chance of success” by some teachers. He ranked third lowest in class: grade averages for English was 95%, history 85%, mathematics 50%, Latin 30%.
His teacher’s report reads: “The boy is certainly no scholar and has repeated his grade twice. He has also a stubborn streak and is sometimes rebellious in nature. He seems to have little or no understanding of his school work, except in a most mechanical way. At times, he seems almost perverse in his ability to learn. He has not made the most of his opportunities.”
Later, the lad settled down to serious study and soon the world began to hear about Winston Churchill.
Compilation courtesy of TFI. Photo by Sasvasta Chatterjee via Flickr.
By a father of three exceptional children
I have been a special needs parent for over a decade and something that I learned along the way is that despite my very best efforts, at the end of the day, I’m only human. I get frustrated, overwhelmed, and on occasion say and do the wrong thing.
One of the things that happens quite often to special needs parents is that the demand on us simply exceeds the resources we have available, be it emotional, physical, or financial. This demand is constant in many cases, and the strain over time becomes more and more difficult to carry. The stress can really take its toll.
I feel that as special needs parents, we often don’t give ourselves enough credit or cut ourselves enough slack. Speaking for myself only, I have a tendency to be overly critical of myself, especially when I feel I’m failing at something, which is honestly, quite often. However, in reality, I’m failing to remember that I’m doing or trying to do things every day that most people simply couldn’t handle. We tend to become so accustomed to everything that we often focus more on our perceived losses or defeats than we do on our successes and victories.
One of the things that I have always encouraged people to do is share their feelings. Venting, or expressing what we are going through, is something that is extremely important in special needs parenting. Again, speaking only for myself, I’m under constant and unforgiving pressure. These pressures can range from health or behavioral issues to simply trying to make ends meet. Some of this pressure I put on myself, but most of it is inherent to special needs parenting in general.
There are times that my kids drive me crazy and I swear that my head is going to explode. For a long time this was like a double-edged sword. I would be so incredibly stressed out, overwhelmed, and frustrated. On top of that, I would feel an extreme sense of guilt for being stressed out, overwhelmed, and frustrated. The kids had no control over most of their behaviors, but I had this idea that, as their father, I was supposed to have this never-ending supply of patience. Instead I was always “a day late and a dollar short.”
There were times that I was so far gone that I would go through a drive-thru to pick up dinner and when asked, “Can I take your order?”, I would answer, “I’ll take some sanity with a side order of patience and some peace and quiet for desert…oh…and…supersize that.” Apparently, this kind of stuff is not on the menu…anywhere! Trust me, I’ve tried everywhere. You can ask my wife. She was always mortified when I would place my order.
Then one day, it hit me. I’m not sure how or why this happened, but I realized that I didn’t have to feel guilty for being frustrated, overwhelmed, and stressed out by my kids or their behavior. I guess I had felt like if I admitted that I was frustrated or overwhelmed by the challenges associated with raising three boys with special needs, that it somehow reflected poorly on them, or that I loved them less. I didn’t want anyone to think that about my kids because, while challenging, they are totally awesome, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.
Admitting frustration with those challenges, or even with any or all of my kids, doesn’t mean they are bad and it certainly doesn’t mean that I somehow love them any less. What admitting this did mean however, was that I was human. I learned that not only was it normal to feel these things, but it was also healthy. This was such a powerful realization for me, and it changed my perspective considerably. I discovered that acknowledging these feelings, and even embracing them, provided a much-needed sense of relief. The relief really kicked in when I became comfortable enough with these feelings to not only admit them to myself, but share them publicly as well. While that may not appeal to everyone, and understandably so, it helped me to keep myself centered.
I think that this is something particularly difficult for fathers. Society tells us that we are supposed to be almost emotionless and not feel these things and if as a man, you actually do have these feelings, God forbid you ever admit it.
Look, we are human beings living in very difficult situations. These situations very often require sacrifice to the nth degree. Feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or even resentful is completely normal, at least in my opinion. I also think that admitting these things is not a sign of weakness or even bad parenting. In fact, I would argue that it shows great courage and a deep unconditional love for our kids. Honestly, no one likes admitting things like this, but in doing so we get a better understanding of our limitations and ourselves.
As far as I’m concerned, this helps to make me a better parent, and speaking for myself, I need all the help I can get.
Article courtesy of Motivated magazine. Used with permission. Photo by David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
From Jesus with Love
Text courtesy of Activated! magazine. Photo by 123rf.com
Parents have one of the most important jobs in the world—and you’re worthy of much appreciation, honor, and commendation. Some of you may be tempted to allow other aspects of your busy lives to consume your time and take precedence over your parenting and the time you spend with your little ones. Or if you’re a full-time parent, you may feel that the ministries or work others do is more important than what you are doing. But I want to remind you that your sacrifices and labors of love that you perform for your precious children will be rewarded.
Even if your family members or friends don’t always see the love you give, the time you invest, the heartaches you experience, the challenges you face, the battles you fight, and the persevering spirit you possess to overcome obstacles, Jesus does, and He’s going to reward you accordingly. Every difficulty will pale when compared with the glory and honor He’ll rain upon you for a job well done.
I have bestowed a great honor on you. At times it may not seem like an honor but rather the opposite—a drudgery, a drain, full of heartaches and heartbreaks, thankless, difficult, and demanding. I know it can sometimes be all these things. But these times do not portray the real picture.
In teaching, educating, raising, and caring for your children, your work is like a masterpiece of living art—not something that will be admired on pieces of canvas, or sculptures carved from stone, or inscribed on the walls of a great church. No, those works of art will pass away, but the work of teaching, raising, and caring for your children will live on in their lives. Your children are creations of My hand, made in My image, and you are the one I have chosen to raise them in My nurture and admonition.
Your job ahead is a mountain that may seem high. There are many parallels you can draw from what those who climb mountains have experienced. In short, it’s their lifework. True mountaineers train all their lives for their trek to the top. They plan every step carefully—the amount of equipment they’ll need, the team they will travel with, the time of year they will travel, the food supply, etc. They plot their course. Then they begin their journey. But no matter how well they have planned, unexpected conditions and circumstances that arise can add to the challenge. Sometimes they find themselves in impossible situations and they risk their lives for the climb.
The physical and spiritual challenges you parents face on your journey are comparable to those who scale mountains. But you have a definite advantage, the ultimate advantage, the advantage that ensures that you will reach your goal. You have Me as your guide. You have the power of My promises in My Word for any impossible situation you find yourself in. You are My mountaineer!
The world of tomorrow is what the mothers of today make it, according to the way they raise their children.—David Brandt Berg
Children are a big job, but with a big job comes a big reward. —David Brandt Berg
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.--Psalm 127:3–5
Post courtesy of www.anchor.tfionline.com. Photo copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos
Encouragement for parents whose child is sick
Words from Jesus, received in prophecy
Watching your child suffer through an illness is usually far more difficult than enduring it yourself. But when you are faced with such a situation, remember that I can bring beauty and purpose out of even the saddest or most difficult circumstances. Whether your child is sick with a bad cold or flu, or endures a long-term affliction, or has been hospitalized, I am watching over your child. I love your child, and I do all things well.
If you are facing such a heartbreak, remember that I know your child best and love him even more deeply and dearly than you.
I am so proud of you for facing this great difficulty in your child’s life with faith and trust in Me. I know it’s not easy to go through. It’s heartbreaking. I’m so proud of you for trusting Me to bring you through, despite how difficult it is for you and your child at this time. I promise that I will bring you through.
I and My angels are at your side to bring peace, comfort, and supernatural grace to see you through. I am sending waves of relief and touches of grace and healing to your child.
I’m blessing you with healing, relief, hope, courage, faith, and the path to victory in these circumstances and difficulties. I will never allow you to endure more than you can bear. I will never allow your child more than he or she can bear. I will not fail to fulfill this promise in your child’s life. I will make a way of escape.
Everything passes, even things that seem as if they’ll last forever. So during times when you find the battles of this life hard to bear, and they feel unending and unmerciful, know and trust My promise that they will not last forever. This will pass in My perfect time, and until the battle comes to an end, My grace will be poured out upon you in abundance.
When your child goes through pain and difficulty, be encouraged to know that I am with him through it all. Even if healing doesn’t come immediately, you can know that I’m filling his life and heart and spirit with special treasures.
It’s easy to feel that I am distant from you or your child when your child is sick or afflicted. But nothing could be further from the truth. It is in these times that I am closest to you and your loved one.
It is one of the most difficult things in life to see a child suffer. But remember that My little ones behold My face, and in that beholding they receive strength to endure. Their spirits are strong and resilient, because they are close to Me. I give grace equal to the trial, even at such a young age.
I give My grace to your child when he needs it most. I do not leave My children comfortless.
Text copyright The Family International.
By Beth Jordan
I don’t know if it is the same for all first-time mothers, but nothing holds my interest like watching my little girl. Her facial expressions, the excitement in her eyes, her curiosity—just about anything she does brings out the motherly love in me. And one wonderful day I realized that’s how Jesus, in His unconditional love, is with me.
As I watched my Ashley Elle sitting up on the bed and looking at me with her bright blue eyes, all smiles, I thought, How could I not love her? Sure, at six months she is as active as a puppy, she makes a mess sometimes, she fusses, she wakes up in the night and wants to be fed when I just want to sleep, but no matter what she does, there is no way that I could ever stop loving or caring for her.
Then I remembered the previous day, when I had felt so low and far from the Lord. I had made so many mistakes! Surely He had stopped loving me—or so it seemed. Then, as I looked into my baby’s eyes, He spoke to me. “How could I ever stop loving you? Why would I ever want to stop caring for you? You are the joy of My heart, and I love you. You are My girl. Sure, you aren’t perfect and you sometimes make a mess of things, but that’s all just part of growing up. I love you more and more every day. And don’t worry, you will always be My little girl!”
Courtesy of Activated magazine. Used with permission.
- From Jesus with Love
All parents feel inadequate in some way or another, at some time or another. It is part of parental love to want the best for your children even if it means giving of yourself beyond your natural limits.
But don’t make the mistake many parents do in thinking they have to carry the whole load themselves. If you do that, you’ll soon wear out. You need to learn to share the load with Me. If you can’t give your children everything you would like to every day, give them what you can and then trust Me for the rest.
The most important thing you can give your children is love—your love and My love. Do that, and you will have happy, well-adjusted children; you will have succeeded as a parent. But to have that love, you must take time with Me and My Word, in prayer and reflection. I have all the strength and peace and faith and love and answers you need. I love your children and know exactly what they need day by day. I want to fill your every need so together we can fill theirs, but to get those things you must spend time with Me.
When it seems impossible to make time for Me, that’s when you need it most. Come into My arms and find rest. Cast your burdens upon Me. My shoulders are broad enough and My arms strong enough to carry any load. Make time to be with Me each day and I will answer your prayers for your children. I will make you the parent you want to be. I will do what you can’t. And last but not least, your children will see a new light upon your face, for they will see Me there.
Article courtesy of Activated magazine.
As Christian mothers, we strive to be good examples of Jesus to our children. We want to be sure they are cared for in all areas of life—that they’re educated well, that their health needs are provided for, that they learn good social skills, and that they are taught good values and to be kind, loving, and giving to others. We want to be sure they are raised with strong Christian faith and conviction and principles.
I thought that the following example of a godly mother from history, Susanna Wesley, would be encouraging for all you Christian mothers. Susanna Wesley is best known as the mother of the founders of Methodism, Charles and John Wesley. From Methodism sprang a number of today's Protestant denominations. Charles and John were tireless in their efforts to preach the Gospel, which they attributed to the faith instilled in them by their mother. They were instrumental in triggering a major time of revival and missionary work in England in the 1600s that spread to many parts of the world.
Though Susanna Wesley is most famous for what Charles and John accomplished, the greatest honor God affords her is for her great determination and faithfulness to raise all her children in the ways of the Lord. She never wavered in this resolve, even though adversity constantly threatened to overwhelm her.
The specifics of your struggles, heartbreaks and battles may be quite different from what Susanna Wesley faced. But whatever the day or difficulty, it’s always a challenge to endure and stay faithful in your fight to raise your family to the best of your ability. Godly motherhood is always demanding.
Yet her overwhelming desire was that the little flock that she had borne would grow to know and love Jesus and do things for God. She schooled all her children, and each day before their academic studies began, an hour was spent in Scripture reading and prayer and singing of Psalms.
Nothing could deter Susanna from putting their spiritual welfare first and foremost. In spite of her not being able to provide them with all the material things that she would have liked, she gave them the most important thing. Many times all she could do was cling to God’s promises and refuse to let circumstances stop her in the task that the Lord had given her. In spite of the setbacks, defeats, heartbreaks, loss, and spiritual and physical battles, her faith and love for the Lord and her children brought her through it all.
Eventually, in her later years, she saw some of the fruits of her faithfulness, and I’m sure much more when she arrived in her heavenly home, as you will as well, if you don’t see them in this life. Nothing you give for your children will be wasted.
Motherhood may have its ups and downs, but when we stop to focus on what is truly great, truly important, truly wonderful in this world, one thing that most people will always have at or near the top of their list is the wonder of mothers.
How do mothers do it? What is the secret of that seemingly boundless patience, endurance, and love that seems to keep reviving again and again in spite of anything that life throws at it?
Here are some of my thoughts about mothers—things that mothers do, or are, that make them so special.
and sorrow of those in your care. It costs in battling their fears on top of your own and
worrying as your children fall again and again. It costs in trying to muster a little more
strength when yours is gone, yet more is needed to lift those who are looking to you
for strength. It costs when hope seems gone, yet you know that you cannot let go for
their sakes, and you hope against hope until you see them back on their feet.
It is far beyond defining,
It defies all explanation;
And it still remains a secret
Like the mysteries of creation.
A many-splendored miracle
Man cannot understand,
And another wondrous evidence
Of God’s tender guiding hand.
b. Balancing moral standards with compassion and mercy that teaches them forgiveness and tolerance, coupled with a conviction for what is true and right.
c. Prayer, faith, and trust as an integral part of our relationship with our children.
d. The example of trust and faith that we show in how we react to the heartaches that come into our life and into the lives of others.
e. The resilience we show when we make mistakes or fail, and the seeking of ways to grow from the experience, so that our children, when they make mistakes, can discover the purpose of them without condemnation.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I wanted to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I heard you pour your heart out to Jesus,
and I knew there is a God I could always talk to.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw the tears you shed,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's all right to cry.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw that you cared
and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you react graciously to the difficulties in life,
and I saw that I could do the same and still have joy.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you forgive over and over again,
and I learned the value of forgiveness.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you praying for me,
and I learned how to do it too.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you sacrificing to give to others,
and I learned that you truly gain from giving.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you healing hurts and calming fears,
and now I know how to do it with others.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I learned so many lessons about how to love and give,
and these now bring blessings to me every day.
When you thought I didn’t notice, I saw all the many times you loved and sacrificed,
and I realized that you are the proof that God exists.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I looked …
and wanted to say thanks for all the things I saw,
When you thought I wasn't looking.