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Oct 5, 2012

Running on Empty?...Resources for Spiritual Strength and Encouragement

Faith Berens

I recently spoke with a dear, homeschooling mom, who is teaching a child she suspects may have dyslexia.  As I also have a child who struggles (with attention, focus, and math processing difficulties), we both acknowledged that many days can be draining and discouraging.  Doris shared how one day she was praying and crying out to the Lord, “Some days I just feel like I am running myself crazy.”  She sensed His wonderful Spirit leading “You can either run yourself crazy or run to Me”. Truly,“The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and they are saved.”  So, she and I “speared each other on” in our faith and commitment to continue the home school journey by first remembering to daily run to the Lord for His strength and guidance.  My time talking with Doris also reminded me that not only do we need to run to Him, but also we need to rely on one another for prayer, encouragement, and ideas. So today, I would like to share three specific resources for spiritual encouragement to parents with special needs children with the hope that these will strengthen your spirit as much as they have mine! 

1. At the Simply Charlotte Mason website, Sonya Shafer offers a free audio download or cd for purchase, titled “Lessons from the Valley”, http://simplycharlottemason.com/books/lessons-from-the-valley/

On Mother’s Day, 2002, Sonya found herself in a spiritual valley after diagnosing her youngest daughter with autism. Though your valley may look different, the giants that she encountered there may seem eerily similar to your own.

  • Learn what Scriptures the Lord used to help her overcome five giants in the valley: the giants named Fear, Faltering Faith, Uncertainty, Guilt, and Self-Pity.
  • Find renewed hope in the names and descriptions of God, and how they speak especially into the lives of those dealing with special needs.
  • Gain encouragement for your own valley.

At this website, parents can also read an article Sonya wrote about the five giants in the valley. 

2. Sharon Hensley’s book Home Schooling Children with Special Needs

Sharon holds a Master’s degree in special education and she has worked with many special education children including homeschooling her own daughter Alison, who is autistic and has developmental delays (mental retardation).  Sharon is the director of Almaden Valley Christian School, a support program for families home schooling special needs children.  Her book is a practical and encouraging resource that is packed full of recommendations, curricula, and teaching ideas.  It gives parents confidence, encouragement, and guidance in making good decisions in their home school process. 

3. A Never Give Up Heart:  Raising Kids Who Face Harder-Than Average Challenges by Mary Beth Linder, available at www.special-heart.com

“Our kids may have disabilities in some areas, but they are not ‘disabled’, for they also have areas of giftedness and ability.  Be that voice in your child’s heart that says, ‘maybe you can’t do that, but you can do this!’  Help him to see himself as a unique and valuable contributor to this world, because that is exactly what he is!

This is a wonderful book that can be used for individual or group study and discussion.  It would make a fantastic resource for the home school support group setting! 

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