Spirit-Led Woman

Want to receive SpiritLed Woman by email? Sign up here
special needs child
(© jarenwicklund/istockphoto.com)

The SpiritLed Woman podcast is empowering women weekly to follow their purpose in Christ and boldly walk in faith. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.

"When you say," my friend asked, "that God has worked in your life because of your kids with special needs, what exactly do you mean by that?"

"Yes, let me try to explain. ... I don't just know about the fruit of the Spirit, I get to experience them. It's like I was right there in the orchard, picking them and tasting them."

Galatians 5:22-23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these" (NIV).

When my daughter was born with Down syndrome, I struggled to see God's good gift in my daughter. I was too concerned about how her diagnosis would limit our family. Little did I know that her diagnosis was indeed a gift in my life that God would use time and time again.

I used to think I loved well. I would have even claimed to love my family and first daughter (who is a typical child) unconditionally. My daughter's diagnosis challenged me in that area. I knew little about loving someone not for what they can or cannot do, but simply because they are. No strings attached, not based on performance or meeting my expectations. Pure love.

The older my daughter is, the more joy I experience as she celebrates everyday life. She doesn't hold back. She cheers over a bag of chips, she claps to cheer others or she jumps and runs to give her daddy hugs.

While parenting children with special needs can be difficult, I have peace about it. This is exactly where God wants me to be, and I am OK with that.

Having kids with special needs quickly teaches you about patience. My two girls with special needs don't do things like their peers do. They take a little bit longer, and they do it in their own time.

Thanks to my daughter, kindness has become a more prevalent part of my life. I have a better understanding about what really matters in life, and it makes a difference with how I approach life.

It doesn't take long to be a part of the special-needs community to realize it is made up of remarkable people. There is so much goodness and acceptance in the special-needs community.

Just watch a parent with their child with special needs, and you see the faithfulness in the parent, the commitment to care for that child.

I have more compassion for all people because of my children with special needs. There is a gentleness in me that wasn't there before.

I exercise self-control often. Some people say rude things without realizing what they are saying. Sometimes I want to lash out and be angry because I am hurt. In those moments, it takes self-control to smile, to be gentle, kind and respond with love.

I've really been thinking about this lately, so I decided to look up the verse in different translations so I could take more time to meditate on the fruit of the Spirit the special-needs way. When I came to the version in The Message, I knew it was perfect for us special-needs parents—a perfect summary of how we do indeed get to taste the fruit:

"But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely."

Adapted from Ellen Stumbo's blog. Ellen is a pastor's wife and she writes about finding beauty in brokenness with gritty honesty and openness. She is passionate about sharing the real—sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly—aspects of faith, parenting, special needs, and adoption. She has been published by Focus on the Family, LifeWay, MomSense, Not Alone, and Mamapedia among others.

Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.

Get to know the Holy Spirit and how to interact with Him on a daily basis. Learn to enter God's presence and hear His voice clearly for yourself! Go deeper in your faith with Life in the Spirit and change your life and destiny. Are you ready to start your journey?

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Angelic harvest

    2017 Prophecy: The Lord Is Releasing the Angels of Abundant Harvest

    "Opportunities will come your way that you never dreamed, imagined or even thought to ask for. ...

  • Chuck Pierce is calling the month ahead "critical."

    Chuck Pierce Prophesies 'Short, 10-Year Window' in the Nations

    Russia is a big part of what he sees.

  • The Things That Hold Us Back

    The Things That Hold Us Back

    The rich young ruler, like many of us today, was in a “quandary.” He wanted to follow Jesus, but he loved the lifestyle his money provided for him.

  • A bit of flirting may seem innocent, but it can lead to destructive behavior.

    3 Do's and Don'ts When Communicating With Women Other Than Your Wife

    Do you and your wife have any other rules for communicating with the opposite sex?

  • This revivalist had a vision of hell.

    Revivalist: I Went to Hell in a Dream

    After God took him on a prophetic journey, John Burton left with an important message for the ...

  • Are You Wishing the Holidays Would End Sooner?

    Are You Wishing the Holidays Would End Sooner?

    Perhaps you're one of the 45 percent of adults in a recent survey who said they dread the holiday season.

  • Get the answer to your challenging circumstance in this insight from James 1:5.

    Early Warning Signs You're About to Make a Terrible Decision

    Is Holy Spirit sounding off these alarms in your life?

  • Mantling a generation

    This Deadly Sin Squashes the Next Generation of World Changers

    And it places a demonic lid on young leaders' gifts and potential.

  • Warring angels

    Prophetic Word: 'I Saw Angels at Almost the Speed of Light'

    Here is why you must pray them through for yourself and for your nation.

  • How well you transition could depend upon these six things.

    8 Critical Keys to Transitioning Into Your Next Season

    It's still the year of shifting seasons and suddenlies, but what if you haven't shifted? ...

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit