Wednesday, April 1, 2009

One Day at a Time

Maria wears a lot of hats and one of them is as a columist with Mahoning Parent magazine. She finds as she encourages special need families with her own experiences, many of those writings are God breathed and fit in here as well. This is the case with today's post!

I have been on this special parenting journey for six years now, and the most valuable thing I have learned recently is that we have to take this one day at a time. Some days, one hour at a time…can you relate?

My prayer this month is that you will become more aware of the precious present with your child—and not be consumed by the next appointment, treatment or therapy that you have scheduled or would like to try. Our kids are doing amazing things right before our eyes—and sometimes we don’t even realize it.

This took me a very long time to see. I enjoy my daughter—all of her—now more than I ever did. I enjoy both her strengths and her weaknesses, because they both are a part of who she is. For far too long, I focused on the limitations of her body, instead of seeing all of the amazing things she was capable of. And in the meantime, I missed out on so much valuable time with her that I can never get back.
In order to accomplish focusing on her capabilities, I had to first change the way I thought about the disability that is only a part of her. Honestly, this took time. Changing the way we think about the disability itself takes time.

If you are still in the process of accepting the disability—changing the way you think about it will naturally fall into place. With acceptance comes a certain amount of peace—peace in your mind, mostly. That’s how it played out for me. I was searching for some kind—any kind of peace so I could take care of my many other responsibilities in my life, and still know my daughter was going to be OK—no matter what the outcome of the next thing we were going to do for her was going to be. I knew this peace was the only thing that would enable me to take just one day at a time, and enjoy the beauty of the person that God made her to be. Webster’s definition of peace is, “freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction or anxiety; serenity, tranquility.”

Some people find this peace in research—books, articles that have proven to have solved something related to their child’s different abilities. Others find it in sharing their experiences with other families that understand. Still others find it in a non-stop race to find the latest therapy or tool that may get their child to accomplish their next goal.

All of these things are great, and I’ve been in and through them all…
But in the midst of each and every one, I didn’t feel content. Sure, my intentions were good, but I was driven by fear and worry for the future. The opposite of peace is worry. You can’t have them both at the same time. Our minds weren’t wired that way.

I finally found this peace through God and His word.

There, I found my feelings put into words—coupled with words of encouragement and hope for the future. Not just for my future as a mom—but hope for my daughter, and my entire family. My faith in God and the fact that He chose me to be Olivia’s mother is what gets me through each hour, each day—and all the future appointments to come. You see, I’ve given all of the decision-making to Him. He’s the light on my path of this journey, and since I came to know who He is, it’s amazing—I can see the road so much clearer! With Him leading my way, I am able to truly enjoy my daughter, instead of worrying about her future. This peace is so very special to me.

I encourage you to find your own peace, so you too can know you are not taking this journey alone. I’m not claiming I have this calm, tranquil peace each and every hour--but I do know that with God by my side, I have the strength to walk this journey one day at a time.

Maria and her family reside in NE Ohio. She and her husband are the parents of two. Their daughter is a person with hemipelegic cerebral palsy.Because of her experiences, Maria provides parent-to-parent support for families involved in her local early intervention program. Her gift for writing has come directly from the Lord since her daughter’s diagnosis. She writes a monthly column entitled, “Special Parents, Special Kids” for the Mahoning Valley Parent magazine in Ohio; and has expanded into Parent magazines in parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
She is also a contributing author at's first published work is in Jan Ross and Jeanice McDade's Women of Passion's anthology, "Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God". Both Kim and Maria have been selected to have their work tentatively included in Lori Wagner's upcoming book, Quilting Patches of Life, Volume 2.

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