Parenting a special needs child can be both challenging, rewarding, and often leave parents spiritually, emotionally, and socially drained.
Laurie teaches us the importance of forgiveness. She directs us to expose any feelings of resentment that we might be harboring towards God.
“Forgiveness is a debt concept so we theologically can’t forgive God, but we emotionally and relationally end up in a place that’s similar to that. To have a relationship, which is what it’s all about, we have to manage ruptures that come up between us and God. They’re obviously always on our end, because it’s our perception and our experience of Him vs. what is real and what’s from His end.”
As a parent with two special needs children, Laurie is all too familiar with the struggle of not always understanding God and His ways. She had to honestly sift through her feelings of frustration and present them to God.
“I’ve got this massive 5 layer dialogue in my head about whether or not I should or shouldn’t, but my heart needed to. At some point I just needed to say, ‘God, I feel like you messed up. I feel like you just catastrophically wrecked this. I don’t see where you are in this and I’m sorry that I don’t. I want to be more sorry than I am, but mostly I’m mad.’”
When we admit the depth of our weakness, it allows God in to reveal His strength.
“You have to get real and I think that’s where He meets us.”
In the midst of being told that her children would never fully heal from their special needs, Laurie was brought to a place of peace with God by simply asking the why questions.
“Why do you let someone stay schizophrenic, God?”
“Why do you allow someone to continue to have uncontrolled epileptic seizures?”
“Why do some people’s kids with brain damage get healed and mine still has a huge hole in her brain?”
As a result of Laurie’s honesty, God was able to help carry the weight of her pain. She recalls their interaction,
“Then I felt one day that He said, ‘You know, it was pretty disabling for me to send my child into a human body. It was catastrophically disabling for me to squeeze God into flesh that was dying from the second I was conceived.’”
Laurie was given a peace that surpassed all understanding.
“I cried with Him that day when I realized that because He knows what it is like to have a child who is extraordinarily disabled, but He did it on purpose. He did it to love us and it makes me cry even now to think about it.”
“He knows what it is to parent a child who is profoundly limited, but he chose that so that He could reach the rest of us, and that is beyond reconciling for things that I don’t understand.”