As special-needs parents, we find our life purpose within the boundaries and limitations God has set for us and we glorify Him best when we find joy there. As Christians, our life purpose is set by our Creator. You glorify God by doing what He calls you to do: loving Him and loving others. What this looks like in your life will be different from how it looks in my life because although we have the same purpose, we have different gifts, skills, situations, backgrounds, families, churches, neighborhoods, and jobs.
This is what Scripture says about you and your place in the world:
- For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well (Psalm 139:13-14).
- And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us (Acts 17:26-27).
- Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created (Revelation 4:11).
But here’s why I think this process of purpose-finding is different for the special-needs mom than it is for most people—every dream and goal I had changed the day we got James’s autism diagnosis.
No matter what I thought my calling was when I was five, or fifteen, or twenty-five—the calling that overshadows almost every other goal I had is being James’s mom. But this wasn’t a mistake. This didn’t surprise God. When He created me with a set of gifts and calling, He did so knowing I would be James’s mom. That means I can still achieve every purpose He has for me within the constraints of my daily life.
Psalm 16:6 says the lines have fallen in pleasant places. Those lines set the boundaries of what I’m able to do and they are pleasant. They are for my good and my family’s good. So as you pray about your purpose and passions, remember God equipped you to fulfill His purposes for you. You live out your purpose by living the life He has called you to live.
After the crucifixion, the disciples were so stunned they couldn’t even fathom a plan B. They thought their life purpose was to follow Jesus as He overthrew the Roman government. But instead their friend and teacher was killed. The Romans and religious leaders of the day seemed to have victory over them.
The disciples gathered together out of fear for their lives. John tells us, “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’” (20:19). They didn’t know what would happen next, even though Christ has told them to prepare for a time He would no longer be with them. As we read the beginning of Acts, we see their detour become the road that spread Christianity throughout Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Jesus meets us where we are as well and says, “Peace be with you.” He speaks it to your heart and your mind. He speaks peace to the wind and the waves that surround you. He speaks it into existence and reminds you your detour was His plan all along, to accomplish His great work.
Sandra Peoples is a pastor’s wife and mom to two boys. She’s the author of Held: Learning to Live in God’s Grip (a Bible study for special-needs parents) and the upcoming new release, Unexpected Blessings: The Joys and Possibilities of Life in a Special-Needs Family.