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Parenting Perspective: You’re the Person for the Job

Do people ever say ridiculous things to you as a parent? Like, "You know how that happens, right?" or "I don't know how you do it." One that I've heard is... “When your son was born, all I could think was, ‘I’m so glad he got you and your husband as his parents.’” Sometimes people say ridiculous things because they have no idea what else to say, and what would be really helpful is a little encouragement.


I can’t tell you how often we hear the basic sentiment of, "I'm so glad you're his parents.". It used to bother me. I didn’t understand why anyone would say that, or how they thought that might be a comfort to us. One day, I said as much to the woman who’d just shared that thought. I knew her pretty well and felt like I could say it without hurting her feelings.


She responded thoughtfully. “I say that because I have a family member who just had a baby with Down syndrome. He’s quite young - barely out of his teen years, and not married. The baby’s mother wants nothing to do with the baby. She rejected him as soon as she found out, leaving the hospital without telling anyone.


“This young man has chosen to raise his son, but he’s alone, uneducated, and unskilled. He’s doing his best, but it’s a fiasco. I’d like to help him, but I work all the time, and I have my own babies. I don’t know how he’s going to do it, but he’s really trying.


So, when I say I’m glad it was you and Rick, it’s because you’re settled. You’re married. You have a support system. You have the capacity to care for him.”




Sometimes, I get tunnel-vision in my own little world and forget how different other people live from us.


I wouldn’t have chosen us to have a baby with a disability. In fact, I specifically prayed against it and let God know there was no way I could handle it.


I also know that if Redmond had been born into a different family, there’s a strong probability he wouldn’t have lived. There’s an even stronger probability he wouldn’t be thriving to day. God gave this precious boy to me, and I tenaciously fought to keep him alive and get him healthy and strong.


Didn’t God know who that other baby needed as a mama? Sure, He did. My guess is the other mama doesn’t know who she is in Christ. If she even knows who Jesus is, and she doesn’t have Him to lean on hard when the world around her seems to be crumbling.


I’ve overheard families joking around and been distraught to find their whole scope of humor is sarcastically making fun of those with disabilities. They probably don’t even realize they’re doing it. As a teen, I picked up on some of those kinds of jokes and used them myself for a time, not realizing I was making fun of people. Really, not thinking at all. I used the word “retarded” as a substitute for ridiculous, frustrating, or infuriating. I knew it wasn’t politically correct and rolled my eyes at how sensitive everyone is these days.


So, I can imagine this young mother comes from a family like that. The idea of bringing home a baby who has been the subject of everyone’s jokes for years is incomprehensible. The shame of it probably overwhelmed her. But is it possible that God gave her the gift of a baby with Down syndrome to teach the beauty of slowing down and loving well? There's a softness that comes to our lives when we love someone with Down syndrome. (There's also ferociousness, but I write about that in other places.)


The two cases I’ve shared today are on the extreme ends of the spectrum of parenting. Maybe you’re struggling with a child who has tantrums and throws herself down on the floor of the grocery store. I know children who get more and more difficult the harder the parents try to control their behavior. As much trouble as I’ve had with my kids, that’s one thing I’ve never dealt with. We all have our battles.


Parenting is hard. That’s all there is to it. There’s a thing that’s been going around social media for several years that says, “Pick your hard.” It says you can choose between hard workouts or the difficulty of being overweight, hard discipline with money or the difficulty of being broke, etc. That thing always bugs me. Someone very privileged wrote it because they’ve never learned that some “hards” don’t come with much of a choice. (I've started unfollowing people who post it.)


I guess I could’ve chosen to let Redmond die, and then my “hard” would’ve been living with grief and guilt over the loss of my child while I went on with a possibly uneventful life. But there were days when I didn’t have a choice of whether I was going to go exercise or be out of shape. Keeping him alive and somehow parenting my other children and keeping our household sort-of running took every ounce of strength I had. I didn’t have a choice of whether I was going to pay his medical bills or go on a fancy vacation.


Maybe your hard includes tears behind a bathroom door as you painfully lose another baby. Maybe it includes shots and hormone treatments and humiliating tests just to have the privilege of that baby you carry. Maybe your hard includes watching your most precious treasure struggle with mental health issues because of circumstances you now realize you could’ve handled better (or not).


Whether God has entrusted you with a child who’s “extra” or not, you are the parent for the job. With His help, you can do hard things. Lean heavy on the God who created you, sustains you, and has future plans for you and your family. Put one foot in front of the other and keep walking. Go to war in the Spirit for the soul of your child.


God knew the day of this child’s birth, what circumstances he or she would be born into, and everything about you as a parent. And God still gave that child to you. You have what it takes to be a loving parent. That’s what kids need. LOVE.


You’ll hear adults say all the time, “I didn’t even know we were poor.” Or “I learned later that my mama was depressed, but I never knew it. I only felt her love.”


When children have all the material things they think they want (or even half of them), they rarely appreciate them. They don’t know any different, so it feels normal to them. Love is the secret ingredient in parenting. You need money, too, I know. It’s hard to feel love when you’re hungry. But I know if you get involved in a good church, there’s no reason your family should ever go hungry. (If your church is letting your family go hungry, it’s time to find a new one.)


If you need extra prayer today, shoot me a message at It would be my honor to pray for you (confidentially).





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