Does anything about your child worry you? It seems the pediatrician wants to know.
Hmmm…maybe the question might better be phrased, “What about your child doesn’t worry you?” Because you probably don’t have time to write a book while you’re in the doctor’s office.
Do any of these sound familiar?
He’s six months and he’s not sitting up.
She’s two years old and doesn’t seem to be saying enough words.
He’s not drinking enough.
She’s eating too much
I’m afraid he’s going to smother his baby brother in the pack-n-play.
Will she choke on those Cheerios?
He’s not making friends in school.
She seems so bored in her class this year.
My child is exposed to too much junk food.
Will my son ever learn to use the potty?
I don’t think he’s learning his alphabet like he should be.
My daughter is overly stubborn.
She’s not sleeping through the night yet.
His attention span doesn’t seem long enough.
The list is endless. Sometimes these things keep us up at night. We lose sleep. We fret. We ponder. We plot and plan.
I borrowed the above picture from the Facebook page of my friend, Sarah. Sarah’s daughter, who is four, has a rare disorder called Prader-Willi Syndrome. The list of possible problems associated with this disease is long. It includes such things as low muscle tone, speech delays, poor growth and development, and so on. One of the most disturbing aspects of this disease is the individual does not have the capability of feeling full. Their appetite is never satiated. In addition, they cannot throw up, which becomes a serious problem if overeating occurs (among other things).
We all worry about our children. You throw any special circumstances into the mix, and you can bet there is some worrying going on. You would think the above question was pretty silly, too, if you were Sarah.
How do we cope, from worrying about the minor to the major?
“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not! And if worry can’t do little things like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you? You have so little faith! And don’t worry about food — what to eat and drink. Don’t worry whether God will provide it for you. These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but your Father already knows your needs. He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” Luke 12:25-31 NLT
I have looked into the face of tragic circumstances I could not change. I have lain awake at night fretting over things I fear regarding my children. There are so many things in life we cannot control.
Here is what helps me: praying for peace, wisdom and courage; taking one day at a time (sometimes one hour); releasing control; not comparing my children to others; and telling myself repeatedly, “I can do this.”
I don’t know that we can stop the worries, but we can work to turn them over to the One who has a greater capacity for helping us deal with them. “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)
If you have a friend that has a child with any kind of special needs, give them some extra encouragement. This parenting thing is tremendously hard under the best of circumstances. They need all the support they can get!
By the way, you can check out my friend Sarah’s Facebook page for the fundraiser she started to raise money for research for Prader-Willi Syndrome: One Small Step–Bloomington. This year’s event will happen August 30th at Sherwood Oaks Christian Church. You can view Lillian’s story through video here: One Small Step.
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