Common Warriors Part One

Katie and her Mom, Cindy

“Your daughter has a neurological condition, she will likely go home from the NICU on a feeding tube and oxygen…”

I have always been inspired by parents of special needs children. Raising kids can be challenging enough, but add in physical or emotional limitations, and it becomes Common Warrior parenting.

Parents of special needs children go through a grief process. There are stages of grief, numbness, denial, bargaining, anger…acceptance.” Angie Beighley, Mom of Tim 

These parents are Common Warriors, all stretching themselves and their families to meet the needs of these precious children whom they’ve been given.

Today, I would like to introduce you to my guest blogger: Cindy Crook. Cindy’s first-born, Katie was born with a neurological condition in 2003. Little sis, Lexi and little bro, Drew followed soon after.

If people offer to help, let them! Live in Faith, not Fear! Don’t get so caught up in the ‘what ifs’ that you miss the sweet moments in the present.” Angie Beighley, Mom of Tim 

The word special is defined as ‘better, greater or otherwise different from what is usual’. Cindy loves the way that describes Katie. When Katie was born, going home with a feeding tube and O2, Cindy and her husband, Andy found it hard to accept the different part of that definition.

Newborn Katie 2003

Cindy wanted normalcy, she wanted what she had dreamed of her entire life. But as always God knows what we need and Katie was it…she is Cindy’s purpose on this earth. Katie has many challenges like trying to walk, not speaking, seizures, tube feedings, vision impairment…but God has told her so many times throughout her life, “She is perfect, she is exactly who she is supposed to be”. Katie has a job to do on this earth and that is to spread God’s love. Before starting her blog, g.p.s. rerouting: God’s Purpose for Special Needs she had written it in her head a hundred times! Cindy wanted to come up with a way to share her experience and to join efforts with other Common Warriors in her path.

Now for a few questions for Cindy:

How did you come to this name for your blog? I’ve traveled from devastation to thankfulness and this blog is about how I rerouted my GPS to get there. My blog is a story of how I found my purpose on this earth.

How do you keep friendships going with people who have typical children and no special needs children? I think it’s about coming to a place of respect for everyone’s personal struggles. There was a time in my life when I did not want to hear about my friend’s typical children’s issues which seemed so minor to me. I battled envy and resentment. But now I know each of my friends’ struggle with something and deserve my respect and support. Once I recognized this, I dropped the walls of jealousy and resentment, and was able to see why God had put each friend in my life. I also realized I had a special gift to share with them.

What did you feel like when Katie was first-born? I felt a long list of emotions, but the one that stands out the most was anger. I could not wrap my brain around how this could happen to me. I didn’t deserve this, all my friends had their perfect little lives, or so I thought, and I was struggling to put one foot in front of the other. I felt this for many years, but somewhere along the way, my perspective changed. I slowly started to see my daughter as a gift, not a curse. Today, I cannot imagine the person I would be without each hurdle we’ve climbed. So now my anger is replaced with thanksgiving. I am thankful I get to parent this pure soul who knows nothing about sins or the evils of this world. I get to touch a piece of heaven every day! Read Welcome To Holland to understand more about how both Cindy and Angie felt after the birth of their special needs children.

L to R: Lexi, Katie, and Drew
Katie and her Daddy, Andy.

What do you wish others could understand about living with a child who cannot talk? I want them to know that my child knows and loves me. Before Katie, I often felt so sorry for parents in my situation. I couldn’t imagine having a relationship with someone who could not talk. But my silent relationship with my precious daughter is so very real. I appreciate the empathy, but I don’t want the pity, because what we have together is well beyond words. I have truly learned the majority of “the real stuff” from Katie. I am blessed, indeed.

Go to You Need To Sit Down for Cindy’s latest thoughts on g.p.s. rerouting: God’s Purpose For Special Needs.

Thanks so much to Cindy for your honesty and transparency!

You’ve given us much to ponder about life with a child

who is wonderfully made…

In Part Two of Common Warriors,

we will hear thoughts from the Moms of Rachel and Jonah.