Silencing Your Inner “Super-Parent” to Hear God’s Voice

The tension in my neck felt like a vice had been attached across my shoulders. After umpteen hours of research, calling medical offices, and chasing lab results, I reached my limit of special-needs mom stress.  Acting as (a diligent, and yes, sometimes obsessive) case manager, nurse, researcher, decision-maker and counselor all in the same day (or hour) can become overwhelming.  I knew I reached that point last week when I yelled at the cat (poor old guy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time).

The truth is that I find it hard to wait patiently for answers. I dislike ambiguity regarding the well-being of my children,  and working to figure things out is in my nature.  This can be a good thing, but there comes a point where work has diminishing returns and mainly brings about a state of physical or mental exhaustion with little progress toward the goal. I am the poster child for this scenario.

I finally had sense enough to pull myself away from computer research and took a warm bath.  As the buoyancy of the water supported the tight muscles in my neck, I again asked God to forgive me for trying to solve my child’s medical problems with supermom skills that are often not super at all.

This intensely active problem solving and subsequent repentance is not new for me.  The first time I walked the supermom wanna-be path was when my husband and I were seeking a diagnosis for our two-year- old who had autism.  That was 20 years ago.  This time it’s on behalf of our 22-year-old who has undiagnosed medical problems.  Clearly, I’m not as far along in my spiritual development as I could be.   I regret how often I may have drowned out God’s voice with my intense efforts to learn and seek expert opinion.  



Does this mean I get everything I want?  No.  Does it mean that God has immediately answered “yes” to every prayer.  No—not by a long shot.  What it means is that God has always provided strength and enough provision over time to keep my hope alive and to sustain me and my children.

So here are the questions I must ask myself:

  • Why do I act as if I alone must secure resources for my daughter? Do I believe God will not work His will for my daughter without my help?
  • Do I believe that God is so skimpy with His power and provision that I must micromanage my daughter’s care?
  • When will I know that my due diligence in advocating and researching is enough—and that it’s time to let go of fear and to trust?

Thankfully, a friend (who read Luke 12:27) reminded me that wild flowers in the fields do not toil for their survival, yet our Heavenly Father sustains them.  He dresses them more elegantly than the most powerful Kings in the world.  The flowers simply bask in the sun (or tolerate the rain) as he provides for their needs and dresses them in an extravagant way.  To think that God might do this for us and our children is extraordinary!

As we make decisions for our children, it’s not always easy to discern our role in the process and to be sure of our choices.  However, it is clear that we have stepped over the line when we  feel worry or overwhelming burden over anything (Phillipians 4:6-7).

For me, it’s time to intensely seek God (not answers) through a quiet and attentive spirit and to watch in awe and thanksgiving as He directs my path (Proverbs 3:5-6).


Finding Family Fun When Your Child Has Social, Emotional or Behavioral Challenges

My daughter flung the game pieces across the room as she lost her temper during a board game.  A lower tolerance for frustration accompanied Katie’s diagnosis of autism, but we were trying to work through it to enjoy a family game night.  Unfortunately, the only “togetherness” that night was my husband grabbing Katie’s hands before she swept the game board clean.


As summer nears, our family, like yours, would like to plan and spend some fun time together. Having a child or children with social, emotional or behavioral challenges makes this a challenge. However, it’s still important to build some positive memories with our kids.

Our children are young adults now, but when they were younger we tried a variety of activities to “have fun.”  We tried bike-riding, but our younger daughter disliked it. We attempted camping but the tight quarters bred discord, and my husband and I were embarrassed that our campground neighbors heard every grumble and gripe.  Our attempts at family time became tense as we anticipated emotional upset with almost every activity.

We felt defective as a family because we couldn’t enjoy the typical activities that bonded parents and children.

We persisted in trying new things, however, and eventually found activities that worked.

Here are some guiding principles that helped us in our quest for family fun time:

  1. Choose an activity that none of your children are “working on” in a therapeutic way. It’s hard for anyone to relax when a child is intensely learning and parents are coaching. In our case, losing gracefully was something Katie had not yet mastered.  We had to re-label games as “work” until she could handle them better.
  2. Keep the activity short. A visit to our neighborhood park ended most successfully when it was less than an hour and we quit while everyone was still happy.
  3. Consider outside activities or playtime with a pet. Research shows that spending time outdoors and with animals are natural anti-depressants and stress-reducers for most people.  For our family, throwing balls to the dogs (and watching dog videos) keeps everyone smiling. Feeding geese at our neighborhood park was another successful activity.
  4. Don’t keep score during normally competitive activities. We learned that games like Pictionary and Catch Phrase are just as fun without keeping score.

Finally, it is important to know that kids and parents need not be relentlessly cheerful or super adventurous to bond as a family.  And not every moment has to be filled with laughter to be a good memory.  As a matter of fact, our family laughs now at some of our difficult times because they are funny in retrospect. Struggling families can enjoy togetherness in the right environment.  Pray, stay creative and flexible, and you will find something that works.

This blog was adapted from and originally written as an article for Focus on the Family/Thriving Family Magazine  (June/July 2015).  It appeared on the Key Ministries/Not Alone website on June 3, 2016