There is a special category of women who is worthy of double honor because they are the mothers and primary caregivers of children with special needs. These are children born with certain physical, emotional, or mental challenges or disabilities, which require special attention and help to achieve a degree of “normalcy” in their lives. I have known some outstanding women, who were committed and compassionate mothers of children with special needs nearly all my life. Regrettably, to my shame, I have failed to recognize and give due honor to these women who have made many sacrifices over the years.
I have chosen a mother whose child awaken me to the reality and plight of the many children with special needs who live among us in our families, schools, churches, and communities. Out of the compassionate and care, she and her husband, who have a son with autism, started a ministry called You Are Not Alone (Y.A.N.A.) Special Needs Support in our area. This is a community support group to assist, encourage, and network with other parents of children, teens, and young adults with special needs. Se’Lisa Scott embodies the mothers who we are citing and celebrating today. Through inquiries and observations of quite a few of these women, who God chose to be mothers (and grandmothers) of children with special needs, I have been able to determine some of their unique and special qualities that set them apart from being ordinary. I will present to you some of the characteristics that some of these exceptional and extraordinary mothers have in common.
Perhaps at the very top of the qualities that help to constitute any true mother is compassion. If this is the case for a genuine mother of “normal” children, it is certainly and doubly true of mothers of children with special needs. From Se’Lisa Scott to Gail Davis, Patricia Manning to Mary McDuffie to Nina Faye Jones, and so many others, compassion is the essential ingredient in the make-up of what makes them exceptional and extraordinary mothers. Without the compassion and love that these women have for their children, they would falter and crumble under the pressure and responsibilities of being mothers of these special children and often having to do it almost single-handedly. Thank God for such compassionate and loving moms!
The next characteristic that distinguishes these mothers from any other is their sacrificial quality and willingness to give up so much for the well-being of their children. I have observed and witnessed it demonstrated by so many of these special women for years. They would willingly and without any complaint, give up their time, personal ambitions, desires, and even freedom in a slavish attempt to provide for the needs and well-being of their children. Such mothers are true heroines, who warrant the Congressional Medal of Honor. Their continual sacrificial service to their children and in many cases, when the fathers have abandoned them, due to their negligence, selfishness, and downright sorriness, is the stuff of legend.
One of the qualities that I have observed in Se’Lisa over the years, in regard to being the mother of a child with special needs, is her resourcefulness. She is very quick-witted and good at coming up with new ideas and innovated ways of making life better for her son, as well as for many others (as the formation of the YANA ministry confirms). I have also observed this quality in quite a few of the mothers. If the answer to a particular request was made to an agency of a need for their child and the answer was no and the door had been shut in their face. These resourceful mothers have often come up with a way to get pass the bureaucratic blockage and red tape to get the help that their children so desperately needed and deserved.
Invariably, every mother of a child with special needs, who I have known and observed over the years, have been faithful to their responsibilities and duties to their children who were challenged in various ways. They were steady, stable, steadfast, and devoted to the well-being of their children to the best of their abilities and resources. When no one else was there to help, comfort, console or provide for the needs and often the fun and entertainment of their child these dependable and loyal ladies were right there doing their very best to give their children as much normalcy, as they possibly could.
The final characteristic of a true mother of a child with special needs is their dependence on prayer. There is something about having a child with unique challenges that have driven most, if not all, of these noble and virtuous mothers to the realization that the pain and the problems they have to bear is too much for them to carry along. And so out of the belly of despair, they cry out to the only One who understands their plight and who along can help them. In their petition to Him and pursuit of Him, they have discovered an enlightening revelation that brought about an emancipating revolution.
For it was He who gave them these special children, whether by birth, adoption, or some other means. He was the One who chose them to be the primary caregivers and guardians of this precious human gifts and with the assignment came a divine enablement and capacity to get the job done.
So out of their prayers and tears came great joy and the knowledge that He who has begun a good work is going to finish it until the day He returns.