Running on Empty? Resources for Spiritual Strength and Encouragement
By Faith E. Berens
HSLDA Special Needs Consultant
I recently spoke with a dear homeschooling mom who is teaching a child who she suspects may have dyslexia. As I have a child who also struggles (with attention, focus, and math processing difficulties), we both acknowledged that many days can be draining and discouraging.
Faith Berens helps HSLDA members homeschool their students with special needs. Learn more >>
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 to it and they are safe.” (NIV, Proverbs 18:10)
So, she and I “spurred each other on” in our faith and commitment to continue the homeschool 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 some specific resources for spiritual encouragement with the hope that these will strengthen your spirit (and your children’s spirits) as much as they have mine!
1. A Never–Give-Up Heart: Raising Kids Who Face Harder–Than–Average Challenges by Beverly Linder
“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 homeschool support group setting!
2. Let All the Children Come to Me: A Practical Guide to Including Children with Disabilities in Your Church Ministries by MaLesa Breeding, Dana Hood, and Jerry Whitworth
This resource is inspirational and educational! It is fabulous to share with pastors, Sunday school teachers, youth group leaders, and would also be very beneficial to share with homeschool co–op teachers, as it provides practical teaching strategies and ideas to implement in order to reach and integrate all types of learners in classroom and group settings.
3. Just the Way I Am: God’s Good Design in Disability by Krista Horning
This beautiful, hardback book is easy to read, featuring simple text and one scripture on each page, as well as lovely photography showing many people with varying abilities.
“God made me. God made me just the way He wanted. God loves me just the way I am. I have a disability. That means God made me different... God has a special plan for my life just as He does for yours.”
Children and adults alike will be inspired and moved by this book that declares the goodness and sovereignty of God as well as teaching that all of His creation is special and infinitely precious. At the end of the book there are questions for discussion. In my opinion, this book should be read in every home, library, and classroom across the nation!
I had the pleasure of meeting the author, Krista, at the Accessibility Summit in McLean, VA.
Krista, who has a rare condition known as Apert Syndrome, has a sweet and gentle spirit and her smile truly lights up the room! Currently, Krista lives in Minneapolis, MN and works at a clinic that meets the needs of children with disabilities.
4. At the Simply Charlotte Mason website, Sonya Shafer offers a free audio download or CD for purchase, titled “Lessons from the Valley”
Sonya found herself in a spiritual valley after her youngest daughter was diagnosed with autism on Mother’s Day, 2002. Though your valley may look different, the giants that she encountered there may seem similar to your own. In this audio presentation, parents will:
- “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.
5. Sharon Hensley’s book Home Schooling Children with Special Needs
Many of you may already be familiar with this book, and I consider it a must–have in your homeschooling resource library if you have children with any type of learning difference or severe special needs. Sharon holds a master’s degree in special education and has worked with many special education children. She homeschools 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 homeschooling special needs children. Her book is a practical and encouraging resource full of recommendations, curricula, and teaching ideas. It gives parents confidence, encouragement, and guidance in making good decisions in their homeschool process.
Until next time, remember and be encouraged...
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” —Psalm 46:1