“Finding Joy in Sadness” Lessons I Learned Raising a Child With Special Needs

Finding Joy in Sadness - Lessons I learned raising a child with special needs - CharleneBullard.com FaithtoraiseNate.com Purposedrivencharlene.comCharleneBullard.com FaithtoraiseNate.com Purposedrivencharlene.com
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There was no joy, but a sadness that flowed throughout me, every time I received a phone call from Nate’s teacher, updating me on his day. I would listen to the other end of the phone as she explained about Nate’s aggression and how he grabbed or scratched her, the therapist, or his one-on-one that worked with him during the day. As she detailed each incident, I felt lost and didn’t know what to do. Tears rushed down my face, as I wondered when Nate would “mature,” growing out of these behaviors.

I spent many years in a state of sadness, while I cried and prayed for Nate’s behavior to get better. I also sought help, taking him to numerous neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, and behavioral health agencies, in an attempt to locate a cure for my son. It was my hope that once I received help for Nate he would stop being aggressive, and it would end my sadness and bring “Joy” to my life.

As the phone calls continued and I sat in meetings discussing ways to help my child, I began to wonder……what would happen if Nate was never cured and he continues to be aggressive throughout his life. Will I live a sad life? Will I always cry? Will there ever be “joy” in my life?

While I thought about that question, I began to understand that what I was looking for didn’t make sense. Joy should NOT be contingent upon my son’s behavior, because his mood swings and attitudes were unpredictable. With Nate, one day he could be upset for an unknown reason, causing him to flail his hands and arms in the air, as he bit his knuckles, or he could lash out at me, gripping my skin and leaving a bad scratch. Then there were other times, when Nate appeared to be perfectly fine, as he smiled, kissed, and hugged on me. Once again, my child’s behavior was unpredictable.

I then realized that I was wrong. Joy is not something that comes and goes. It is not only present when Nate’s behavior is perfect and things in our life are going great. Joy that comes from God is the ever-present fruit of the spirit that remains no matter what the circumstances are of life. Yes, there will be times of sadness where I will cry, yet I must always remember that my joy doesn’t come from Nate “acting right”, but from my Lord.

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