“Jesus take the wheel” by Carrie Underwood is playing on an endless loop in my head as I contemplate this post (and now it’s stuck in your head too. You’re welcome). Although it’s a sappy country song, I adore her voice, and I love that chorus. What better response to out-of-control situations in our life? Whenever I feel like I’m in a tailspin, whirlwind or just plain mess, I probably can look down and realize that I’ve totally lost control. Spending a few days this week at a large gathering of special needs families, I was reminded very clearly about the importance of who is in charge.
I have seen too many special needs parents who are controlled by their child, or their child’s diagnosis. All of us parents – special kids or not – have a really clear mandate in the Bible to disciple our child, and to be in charge of raising them up. I’m becoming more aware now than ever that there is not one mandate in the Bible from which I get excused. there is no little asterisk beside any of it that says “unless your child has special needs”.
It’s so hard. There are so many reasons that our children slip into the driver’s seat. We don’t even notice. We allow it for the sake of peace, or to avoid an embarrassing situation, or out of sheer exhaustion. We allow the disease or diagnosis to take charge because it seems so much larger than us, overpowering our minds and emotions and demanding to control every moment of our lives.
This is NOT a post about being more strict at discipline, or to deny the severity of your situation, or ignore your current reality. I just want to say: Look around and see who is in charge. Take notice, objectively, of who makes the decisions in your day. Are you and Jesus heading down the road, where He leads and you follow and if ever your hand slips off the wheel He’s right there to grab it? Or do you feel totally out of control, careening down that icy black highway and you know that neither you nor Jesus had your hands on the wheel in the first place.
I said this post ISNT about discipline…..unless right now you know in your innermost parts that you just aren’t disciplining your child at the level required. It’s not about denying the severity of the situation…..unless you know that you have really given over too much power and too much emphasis to that thing. It could be anything that has taken control and is in charge of your actions or reactions. I’ve had seasons where any or all of the above were true.
After my couple of days with lots of special needs families, seeing everything from parents who are firmly in control, to situations where the parent is all the way in the back seat – or more like they’re in a tube raft being towed at high speed by a drunk boater – I wanted to send a note to my special mom friends to say, today, look around. Assess where you are and who’s in charge. You’re the mom. You must be in charge of your child and their care. Will there still be moments of meltdowns and crisis. Um, YEAH! That’s how we roll! But you can remain in charge through it all. Be in charge of your emotions, your decisions and your reactions. Be the mom with a plan A, a plan B and a plan C. And the mom who is ok if none of those work out.