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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wearing 4 hats and tinted glasses

Photo courtesy of caplanmiller.com
Me on our balcony in Cancun!
If everyone could see the world through these eyes...
The "reality" of daily life for parents/caregivers of children with special needs is SO skewed from the norm that it really takes someone in the same shoes to truly appreciate the scope of it.  For years I worked with a family with the MOST AMAZING child who just happened to have cerebral palsy. Although his body often could not do what he wanted it to do, he more than made up for it in personality, intellect, humor and wit!  The joy I felt in helping him accomplish the tiniest of things by tapping into his interests was amazing and almost addictive (you'd understand if you saw that smile!). I worked with this family and child for 6 years and frequently heard about their home life... how hard his mom worked just to help him do the simplest of tasks which we all take for granted.
SIX YEARS... yet it wasn't until I had my own child with special needs that I could grasp the immensity of their daily lives! The more I got to know this child and his family (particularly his mom), the more I learned about the sacrifice, guilt, rejection, exclusion yet over-joyous unconditional love they had experienced. I crossed many co-workers and burned several bridges by standing up, speaking out, advocating and sometimes even fighting for this family and it was all well worth it... but I still did not "see."

I view the world through such different lenses since my little man's birth and subsequent diagnosis. I know the feeling of mistrust when you, as a mom, insist something is not right with your child yet everyone around you tells you to relax and "just let your child grow up!" I know what it's like to entrust your child to professionals who may have book knowledge but they just don't "get it." I know what it is like to have an almost supernatural bond with your child... it is not pathological, it just shows that your child recognizes that you are the ultimate pillar of support, protection, safety and understanding when the rest of the world just does not "get it." 1 Thes. 2:6-8 

This week I felt the incredible weight of my "4 hats" now that I see the world through such different lenses. Being a mom of a child with special needs, a therapist in charge of the progress of 50 children with special needs, being the leader of a special needs ministry now entrusted with the spiritual growth of at least 5 amazing kids with special needs AND being team leader for our Autism Speaks walk team... WOW!

In all I know God does not give us more than we can handle. 1 Cor 10:12-14  I know He's given me these lenses to see through in order to better balance my 4 hats. John 9:24-26 Our recent trip to Cancun reminded me of the concept of balancing hats. The Mexican "sombreros" fit perfectly together and stack quite nicely. I wear 4 hats in all, but by finding their commonalities (like the similar shapes of each of the sombreros) I can better balance them stacked one on top of the other.

I also discovered that stacking sombreros against a wall, and even in a corner, helps them balance best. Hmm... So when I feel like my back is against the wall or I am backed into a corner I need to remember that in those moments God is supporting me and He is teaching me to better balance my hats! So I've reached a conclusion: instead of struggling to balance my hats all on my own, I will ask for support from those around me and rely on God to always have His hands of protection over everything I do. Psalm 18:17-19  Ezra 8:21-22 When you shift your eyes from your focus, look back or look down, your hats will fall off and make a huge mess! Phil. 3:12-15 Psalm 141:8 Psalm 81:6-7  {Notice I haven't even mentioned my other two hats: wife and home maker-- those I'll call my swimming caps one on top of the other under my pile of sombreros! Well, only one since my husband does most of the house work! He's the BEST!} Proverbs 14:1

I pray that with each of my posts I can help others start to see a bit of what it's like behind these lenses so you can better support those around you who are in need. Rom. 15:1-3  That my words can help at least one of you find the commonalities in all of your hats so they will be easier to balance... but especially that you will feel encouraged to let God carry the weight of your hats as you walk this crazy walk! Psalm 55:22 Don't be afraid to ask for help... and to offer help when you see others struggling with THEIR hats. Not everyone has strong enough necks, especially if they are just starting to wear multiple hats! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Have a blessed day!


  1. I love the analogy! Very well said. You are becoming quite the writer!!! Thank you for taking the time to write this in spite of your busy schedule and many hats.

  2. Silvia- Thanks for the compliment! Writing these blog entries are actually a fantastic way to help me balance my hats, actually! ;) For many years I have tried to take whatever tough situations I went through as experiences to help others... so it's actually my therapy, in a way, to write. A wonderfully supportive colleague is encouraging me to publish these as a book one day. We'll see what God has in store for us...