Do you have a child with special needs? Maybe your son or daughter has a syndrome, a mental illness, or a learning disability?
Our son, Ashton, was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Noonan Syndrome when he was seven, and we have been living out the new normal for the last five years. As you juggle health challenges and squeeze in doctors, therapists, and tutors amongst homework, housework, and activities, where do you find time to answer His call to lead? How do you do it as a woman called to lead in ministry or business while simultaneously being a caretaker for your child with special needs?
I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all plan or magic formula. Just as God created each of us uniquely, the path He has for you will be tailor-made too.
The good news is your special needs child does not negate the call on your life nor disqualify you from your ability to lead. The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).
Your child’s special needs diagnosis does not define him or her, and it does not define you.
Your identity and your calling are firm in God, and He will work all things together for good and bring it to pass in His perfect way and His perfect time. So keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and let Him lead you step by step. God’s Word says our steps are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23). He is ordering your steps and your child’s too.
Following His lead will not cause your child to suffer as you are faithful to His call; your child will flourish because God’s blessing will follow your obedience.
God has taught me quite a few things on this journey. It took our family two years to figure out our son’s diagnosis because Ashton is affected in many different ways. We are thankful for positive reports from doctors and improvements in Ashton. Two years ago, I stepped out into writing, speaking, and ministry full time as the pandemic forced a career change. I quickly realized I cannot compare myself to others or even do all the same things other authors and speakers do.
God has shown me he has a unique set of blueprints for me to follow based on our family’s situation, and that brings such hope and freedom. I want to share with you three principles I have implemented in my life which have helped me follow God’s call to lead while taking care of my family and my son’s needs too.
This is a daily practice for me. I come to God in prayer and give Him everything — the challenges, weariness, unanswered questions, and frustration over not being able to do or fix it all. I give God my hopes, dreams, son, daughter, marriage, finances, ministry, and future. I lay it all down, in His hands. I ask Him to have His way and do the impossible. I ask Him for strength, grace, favor, and the ability to walk out the call on my life.
As I pray and lay it all at His feet, I quiet my heart and listen for His still, small voice. I ask God to speak and show me His priorities for the day. I ask God for His strategies and the power of His Holy Spirit so I can accomplish these things and lead others effectively too.
While I am being led by His Spirit, I ask God for wisdom on what I can delegate and to whom. I pray for God to surround me, my husband, and my children with the helpers we need. I am open to receiving help from others, whether it is a tutor for Ashton, a virtual assistant for me, or a landscaper for our lawn. I ask my husband and kids to help with housework. I established a group online to share concerns about Ashton and a prayer team where I seek support for my family and ministry. I also have friends I text for emotional and prayer support. I received wonderful advice from my friend Jessica when Ashton first received his diagnosis.
She said, “ Amy, you are the perfect mom for Ashton, and he is perfect in God’s sight.”
I’m thankful God does not make mistakes, Ashton’s diagnosis with Noonan Syndrome is part of God’s perfect plan, and it fits in perfectly with my call to lead. I trust that He will show you how your call also fits in perfectly with your caretaking responsibilities. I believe as you step out into your God-given purpose, you will succeed, and your child with special needs will flourish too.
Amy Joob is an award-winning author, motivational speaker, and förmer model. She hopes to empower and inspire women, men, and families to pray for, support, and advocate for one another and those in need, locally and around the globe. Amy and her family partner with charities, foundations, and ministries throughout the Chicagoland area.