It’s Okay to be Broken By Special Needs

“Never let them see you cry.”

This has pretty much been my life motto since as long as I can remember. When I was in my early twenties I was sitting in church with my mom. We were listening to someone give a moving testimony that I can’t remember because I was blocking it from my mind. I couldn’t let it get in. Wouldn’t let its words soak into my soul for fear my tears would let loose. My mom looked at me with her own tears rolling down and whispered, “You must have ice water in your veins.” She couldn’t believe I could sit there and not be moved to tears. But, I refused to let others see me broken.

You see, I’d been hurt not long before that time. Hurt by hard words from someone I held close and gossip from those I didn’t even know well. You understand how that goes. Sticks and stones… Words have the power to run deep no matter who speaks them.

I learned right then and there to lock my tears up behind a wall. Never let them see you cry.

And then, several years later, my amazing bundle of special needs was born into my world. No doubt, it rocked us to the core. But, by this time, I had been working long and hard on keeping those tears locked somewhere deep in my core. I gave all I had to God during that time. Except my tears. This would not break me.

I’ve had two decades of time to build my special needs wall of no tears. It was built on a foundation that started way before special needs came along. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve become somewhat hard-hearted over time.

Until now.

Our son, who has those same specials needs that built my wall decades ago, received yet another diagnosis that will make life even tougher for him. Tougher for all of those who love him.

My hard-hearted wall finally came crashing down.

This past month I have cried more than a lifetime of tears. It’s like a dripping faucet that can’t be fixed. Crashing waves that ebb and flow. As I write this I can’t stop the tears from falling off my cheeks. And you know what? It feels okay to not have that wall anymore.

It’s okay to be broken by special needs.

I wonder if God is saying, “Finally! Finally, Stephanie.” I am broken. And it feels good.

Maybe this is why it feels so good to be broken: Psalm 34:17-18 “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

When I’m broken, the Lord is close.

So being broken every second of every day? The Lord is close. Every second of every day.

I long for that day when there will be no more tears. When God wipes them all away. When there is no more death to worry about, cry about, and no more pain. Oh, how I long for the days to come when these are gone forever.  (Rev.21:4)

I still don’t like crying. I don’t like others to see me in my most vulnerable times. (Yeah, it’s not pretty. I’m an ugly crier. No dainty tissue-tapping here. It’s full-on nasty.) And, I still find such embarrassment in my tears. I hear the voices of others begin to talk. What will they say? But I’m working on hushing those voices in my head and listening for that still, small voice. I’m leaning in to hear when the Lord is close to my broken heart.

(Aaand there it is. I’m crying again.)

Song that’s getting me through:

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