To the sibling of a special needs child…

I see you.

You do not demand attention because you are always watching. You are the one jumping in to respond like a parent because you feel the honorable weight of love, protection, and devotion toward your sibling with challenges.

We have to intentionally carve out time for you to be a child.

You have a hard time relaxing because you have trained yourself to always be on alert. This makes it hard to relate to kids your own age.

You are the helper. You help keep things on track. You learn to hold your tongue and wait for your moment to speak. Sometimes, you have to wait a long time. You don’t complain. You take up the responsibility without instruction and walk alongside your parents in unity. You have had to learn perseverance and patience in a way that would challenge even the most resolute individuals.

You have sat in on countless doctor and therapy appointments for your brother. You have seen firsthand how not one person can tell us the source of the issues, or help pave a path for the future. You not only feel, but carry, that weight.

You long for your time. You feel like you are backstage waiting for your entrance. You are counting the minutes until it is your time to shine.

But, my dear, you have been shining all along.

You shine brighter with each day that passes. To me, you are center stage right alongside your brother.

It is my privilege and pleasure watching God grow a leader who knows how to take charge, but just as importantly, show compassion. These tough years are your training ground for the grand mission God has for you.

Your life does not feel like you are already on stage, but you are. Others are watching, all the time- and they learn from you.

There’s a reason little ones are drawn to you. They sense kindness in you and feel safe with you. You know how to connect, guide, and protect. You anticipate needs and emotions and fill in the blanks gracefully.

To the untrained eye, this probably goes unnoticed, but not to me. I see it all.

I see you and honor you.

I pray you feel the warmth of God’s face on you as you continue to grow and step into the fullness of who you were created to be. When you are tempted to be overwhelmed with the weight of your path, remember Psalm 73:26:

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

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