During my Polytechnic days, my Primary School classmate, Kim Choo, invited me to Geylang Church of Christ, there I got to know about Christianity. The Youth Fellowship was very inviting and I enjoyed the fellowship. As I learnt more about the Bible, it dawned on me that there was truly a Divine Being who inspired the Word as it spoke nuggets of meaningful truth and all made sense. At 19 years, old, I decided to be baptised and to give my commitment to Jesus Christ. Having joined a committed care group helped me to grow spiritually in my journey of faith. Being married into a Christian family also kept me on my toes and I had also spent 7 years on Bible Study Fellowship.
Christian or not, life still has its ups and downs. One daunting challenge, of course, was the arrival of special-needs Adlena in 1999. My husband, Peter and I were at a complete loss and were fearful of the challenges ahead, for the long term too, not a temporal one. As for Abigail, it had been quite a smooth-sailing effort to raise her, in a sense and so it’s a totally different ball game. But again, God’s words always give encouragement/courage as Jesus said in Matt 6: 34 “... do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” So, I must learn to let go and take one day at a time.
By God’s grace, Adlena has progressed, slowly but surely. My daily struggle is my willingness to sacrifice my time and effort to teach read to her and let her do some household chores as I need to supervise her. My blood just boils so easily when I expect her to know by now some common words or some simple chores but she just could not get it. For instance, she is still struggling to get it right – cutting up the ingredients as instructed and to get the seasonings onto the instant noodles without spilling all over the kitchen top. I would have done the chores much faster and thorough – an easier option, but I am not ‘helping’ her at all in her independent skills.
God is good… helping us (physically, financially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually) - with different therapies and support and encouragement from church brethren and parents having a child with special needs, it’s less ‘burdensome’. It is also through such challenges that I develop more resilience & patience (need tons and tons – over Ad’s slow progress & repeated instructions) as she has a timid character, lacking in self-confidence, and needs lots of encouragement. She is at times just unteachable. Also, she can be quite stubborn and fixated in her own peculiar ways. Of course, many time my patience just ran thin and then verbal and physical abuses would be upon her ‘head’ literally… followed by sense of guilt and I have to tell myself that her wires are just connected ‘differently’ from ours. I guess if I had sought the power and control of the Holy Spirit to help or empower me before I start any task with her, it would really help. So, I really can’t imagine how those without God cope with difficulties – they have no one to turn to. We can look up to God for His strength and help. As parents of a special needs child, we also worry about her future, especially after we pass on. But we can trust that our faithful God, who have helped us along for the past 17 years, will continue to do so.
Sometimes it’s through seeing the plight of other more severely disabled children on some television programs that we realise that our plight isn’t so bad after all – we learn to appreciate and count our blessings – Ad is a happy child, doesn’t hold grudges, and forgiving and passionate in her own loving ways. She still has a long way to go in her independent skills. We just need to accept her pace, accept the way she is and move on!
Frankly speaking, we still face challenges from her head (dandruff) to toes (sweaty feet) along with eczema/dental hygiene. But, not to worry, with God all things are possible, Amen! In God we trust!
Nevertheless, I am grateful to God for giving me life and breath and everything else (to enjoy travels, photography, family, and friends!) Regardless of my circumstances, our God is still good and full of love for all His children, Amen!