Dear lonely, special-needs mom,
Do you feel like an island, living a life few understand? I’ve been there too.
Our biology is wired for it and our hearts were made for it – relationship.
We’ve lost a lot of what it means to cultivate relationships in a day where it’s easier to text and share filtered posed images on instagram.
We’ve stripped away the best parts of relationships and put up a shell which leaves us feeling disconnected and very much alone regardless of how many likes our status or picture has.
We don’t need evidences of friendship, we need the real thing.
Let me share the story of my grandma with you. She knew what it was to cultivate relationships. Every day of the week she worked hard, but Fridays were different; first she’d get her hair done in the morning and then she’d invite a friend out to lunch with her.
Each week was a different restaurant and a different friend. She’d put on her “going-out dress” and heels and would enjoy a long leisurely lunch with a friend, sharing life together from struggling kids to the new sale at Hudsons.
They were friendships she had cultivated from work, church, family connection and the hair salon. And they meant something.
Sometimes she’s even take little vacations with them. I honestly can’t think of that many women that I’d feel comfortable doing that with!
I remember my grandma talking about them: Pearl, Jeanette, Dorothy… Looking back, I realize that female friendships were an integral part of her life and high on her priority list.
Somehow it makes me feel impoverished. I look around at my life and realize I’m missing this. Maybe it’s part of being a special needs mom, but I’ve settled for quick texts and social media. I can’t help but think I’m missing out on some of the real essence of friendship. I want that time spent together, the quick hug and the shared tears of laughter and sadness.
This deep craving is sacred. We were born out of a holy community – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And then God created you and me to be in relationship with him and each other.
Our very being is meant for community and nothing but real relationship will satisfy it.
When Jesus was here on earth, he showed the importance of community by spending time with people, washing their feet, healing the sick, telling them the truth of their sin and need for repentance and ultimately dying for people he loved.
And when he had gone back to heaven, the people who followed him carried on Jesus’ example of community: “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46).
How can we get back to this picture of community?
By prioritizing people. When we value people, we will want to spend time with them. We’ll make it happen no matter how many appointments or crises we’ve had this past week. Caring about other people’s lives will enlarge our own lives in huge gratifying ways.
Be intentional about connection. Creating a natural expectation for community means we’ll make time. For special needs moms it means we’ll have to use some creativity! Admittedly we have more obstacles than most. But maybe it means inviting someone to our home for lunch, or scheduling time out while our kids are at school or in respite care. When we prioritize something, we’ll make it happen.
Commit ourselves to each other. Friendship doesn’t disappear in hard times. When we commit ourselves to others it means we will be there no matter what through the good times and the bad. It means when we’re hurt, we’ll forgive and reach out again. It means we will love unconditionally and relentlessly. We’ll be there for each other on the bad days to laugh and cry through it and we’ll also be there to celebrate the good days.
As my Grandma got older she visited many friends in the hospital through sickness, brought pots of steaming soup to friends who were knocked down by life and continued to call and connect through every season of life. She was made rich by serving others and letting others into her life.
How about you? How could you make room for friendship in your life?
P.S. Have you heard about our special needs mom’s community? Join us in the Live Better Members Club for our month-long theme Connect. Get resources, trainings and listen in to other moms of special needs kids share about fighting isolation and keys to building real friendships.
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