For most of us a new year is an automatic time for reflection. It’s why new year’s resolutions are a thing: we look over the previous year and decide what should be different for the next one. This particular new year is also a new decade, which is an even more daunting venture into auditing our previous performance and honestly analyzing where we stand. A decade ago for me seems almost unrecognizable. Many of my special needs mom friends were not such – had no idea about such – only one decade ago. But although we can point out the stark differences, I also want to take a minute to remember what remains the same.
Before I was ever in the special needs world, I was given a name. Not the one given by my parents, but a name assigned by God. He called me and set me apart. He deposited within me unique gifts and talents that would not only play into my role as a mom and wife, but would be the foundation for who I am and what I can contribute to His glory and this world. The truest me in my deepest parts.
As I look over the past decade, I see entire years when I did not acknowledge that name. I called myself by other names (i.e., busy mom, overwhelmed mom, fill-in-the-blank mom) and answered to other names. I made decisions and took steps according to something other than the name He gave me. Sometimes it was due to outside pressure, sometimes due to insecurity or fear, sometimes simply denial because I wanted to be known as something other than what God created me to be. Recently I was reminded that 20 years ago I took a spiritual giftedness test. God reminded me not only of the gifts he gave me, but showed me how over the past two decades so many aspects of my personality reflect those gifts. I took that test around the same time we received our son’s diagnosis of a rare genetic disorder and those two sets of test results seemed to be incongruent and at odds with each other – I believed the lie that if I’m a special needs mom, I can’t be anything else.
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
God has assigned a name to you, and he did it before your current circumstances and situation. It hasn’t changed. The gifts he gave you weren’t a mistake or a waste just because you can’t see a way to use them. You are still the person he knit together uniquely for such a time as this. He wants to show His glory through you. It may not be the way you envisioned it before you had a special needs life, but it looks the same to Him. As my dear friend Sandra Peoples says “Your Plan B is God’s Plan A” (check out her new book “Unexpected Blessing” for more of her wisdom). As you reflect on the new year and the new decade, will you take some time to discover, uncover, or revive the special gifts He has placed in you, and make a commitment with me to spend this new decade walking according to the name that He calls us.