32: Jenny Garrison, Pastor’s Wife, Mother of a Special Needs Child

Kit McCarty invites Jenny Garrison to tell of her adventures as a pastor’s wife and the mother of a special needs child.


My childhood made me tough. You have to be tough and not care what other people think.

[Life is about] learning how to give up the things that are comfortable to you, and to embrace what God has in front of you in the moment.

When people are in your home, it doesn’t matter how well you do anything, how nice your home is, how nice your dishes are, or how well you cook. The number one focus is on the person. Listen. Be aware of what they need in the moment.

Allow yourself time to grieve and to be frustrated. Then very quickly, ask God to help you embrace the time you are there, because you don’t know how long you’ll be there. Lean in to fully take advantage of things in front of you.

God is going to put you in some uncomfortable situations, and it’s ok, because He is going to redeem everything for later, even the uncomfortable situations. You better learn to deal with the uncomfortable, because that is going to be in your life a lot!

You’re never going to feel completely comfortable or competent in anything you do.

I was standing [in a room full of fashionable women] in my pajamas. I’m thinking, “I’m just not the one to be doing this. I don’t know what I’m doing. I can’t even dress myself right.” Learn to laugh. Realize everyone else has had their “pajama moments” too.

We’re all in this together,  so just get over yourself.

People say, “I don’t care whether it is a boy or a girl, just as long as it’s healthy.” Well, for a lot of people, what if it’s not? Then what? My life is going to be terrible? The baby’s life is going to be terrible? What?! I just want to hug people that have special needs children and say to them, “You’re on a different journey. It is an extraordinary one, and it can be extraordinarily amazing. It makes you, your children, everybody in your family, and those around you different because you have been in it. And that’s extraordinary too.

You can read all the parenting books you want, but every child is different; every challenge is different.

If you know somebody that has a special needs child, say a prayer for them. They don’t need your advice. Give them a smile, give them a pat on the shoulder, whatever you can do to encourage them, because this is a tough journey.

People with special needs are not to be ignored, but acknowledged, respected and valued.

Jenny Garrison @ Facebook

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