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05
Jun
2019

Embrace The Place

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Grace Based Parenting, Inside Out

It didn’t happen overnight. It was difficult for me to initially receive the gift that God had given to us in having Joey. The critical step of needing to take ownership of the responsibility of taking care of all my son’s needs took a while for me to settle into.

Initially, Cindi was the one that was carrying the heavy load of meeting those needs. And of course, I thought I was doing my part by going to work. Looking back over those early days, my going to work was more of an escape from reality.

After a particularly difficult time with Joey’s health, my father-in-law said to me, out of the clear blue, “Joe, someday you will recognize the blessing that Joey is.” My response to him was, ‘well, you know what, I just don’t see it right now’.  As those comments between us began to sink in, I began to accept the fact that God made Joey just the way He wanted him and my thoughts, actions, and lifestyle began to change. I began to realize that the ideal blueprint I had for my marriage and life were forever changed and I needed to get on board with the ‘new normal’ that was to be my/our life. I began to realize that the sooner we can make that move to this new normal the better everything including marriage would be! We needed to realize that difficulties in life do not mean that something is wrong with our marriage; but it is our response to those challenges and difficulties that will either drive us apart or bind us together as a married couple.

For me personally, the greatest part of my tension came as a result of me not accepting the new normal that we had to deal with in our life. Once I accepted that new normal, the difficulties didn’t go away but it was my perspective that changed and it began to revolutionize the way I was viewing our situation with raising our son and my relationship with Cindi. The critical decision we all need to make as parents of special needs child is: What will we do with the reality we have? Clearly the best option for me was to enter into my son’s world and become more empathetic with the world that my wife deals with every day in taking care of Joey’s needs the way that she does.

Reality was that my son was not going to change, so the one that needed to change was me! I needed (and still need) to enter into his world if I’m going to have any type of relationship with him. The one way I enter into Joey’s world is to play video games with him that he likes to play. For Joey, that includes Playstation-2 and Wii games. (And let me tell you, we are pretty good!)

In addition to the close relationship with Joey, I am so thankful for the strong relationship that Cindi and I have for each other because I assure you that bond between us was forged through the fires of difficult times and learning how to work through those struggles by working together.

Realizing that God made Joey just the way He wanted Joey made, I can tell you with complete confidence today, that if God came to me/us and said, “Would you like Me to heal Joey?” we would tell God, “Thank you, but please give that blessing to a younger couple who has just found out about their child’s special needs.

We accept Joey the way he is. We recognize the blessing he is in our lives.  We recognize how God has used Joey to mold us and make us to be the kind of people that we are today. Through Joey we have seen God’s grace in action like we could never have learned otherwise had it not been for Joey being in our lives. It’s important that we come along side each other as we EMBRACE THE PLACE. As you contemplate what we’ve shared, consider how you will embrace the place where God has you right now. How will you embrace your child and your journey in a new and special way?

 

Dr. Joe and Cindi Ferrini are authors, speakers, and bloggers for several blogging sites on family and special needs. They speak nationally for FamilyLife Weekend To Remember Marriage Get-a-Ways, authored Unexpected Journey – When Special Needs Change our Course, and have been interviewed on Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, and various other radio and television venues. Connect with them at www.cindiferrini.com and social media at: www.facebook.com/cindi.ferrini, www.facebook.com/UnexpectedJourney/, www.facebook.com/MyMarriageMatters/

Joe and Cindi Ferrini

Joe and Cindi have been married since 1979, live in Cleveland, OH, have 3 grown children (one with special needs), grandchildren, and enjoy speaking and writing together on topics related to marriage and family (FAMILYLIFE’S “WEEKEND TO REMEMBER Get-A-Ways” as well as for organizations pertaining to special needs), leadership, and time/life management. Joe has practiced dentistry since 1978; Cindi enjoys writing (books, blogs, articles, etc.), speaking, radio, and social media. Together they have written articles and blogs for Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, http://specialneedsparenting.net and here at FamilyMatters, and authored UNEXPECTED JOURNEY: When Special Needs Change our Course. They’d love to connect with you at: www.joeferrini.com or www.cindiferrini.com

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