Special Needs

Mother of Special Needs Child Offers Help to Other Families

| by Baptist Press

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BARTLETT, Tenn. (BP) --- When Lisa and David Barron's daughter Madison was
born in 1994, Lisa assumed her precious little baby would "one day grow
into a little girl, then to sweet 16, on to a young lady and then to a
woman."

But that never happened.

Madison experienced
breathing problems when she was born, but it was not until a few weeks
later that it became apparent she had serious health issues. During her
short time on earth she endured numerous hospital visits, seizures and
other medical problems. Yet, before she died in 1999, Madison also
experienced a tremendous amount of love from her parents, siblings,
family members and friends.

It took Lisa Barron two years to
determine how she might tell Madison's story to give special comfort
and practical insights to families with special needs children. About
six years of writing and editing followed, culminating with the release
of "Precious In His Sight: A Mother's Journey of Faith With Her Special
Needs Child."

Barron noted how difficult it is for families to accept the fact they actually have a special needs child.

"No
one came to me at any time after my child's birth and said, 'You have a
special needs child,'" Barron writes in the book. "There was no real
Aha! moment when I figured out what was going on with our precious
daughter Madison. It was a gradual process with a sinking feeling that
we should be 'further along' than we were."

As a neonatal nurse,
Barron had an advantage that many mothers of special needs children do
not have, yet she admits she was angry and disappointed when she
finally accepted the fact that Madison would not become a healthy
little girl and experience a full life.

"Hard as it was, I knew
I had to work through my grief and make my way toward acceptance," she
writes in the book. "My daughter needed me to be strong and love her
exactly the way she was. I wanted our family to be happy and live as
normally as possible."

The first step was to admit to God "I was
brokenhearted, disappointed, angry and sad. In my humanness, it was
difficult to see these were emotions He experienced too," she writes,
citing the story of Jesus weeping over the death of Lazarus.

After
coming to that realization, Barron was "gradually able to accept what
God had given me. Madison was a very special child -- like no other. I
realized God had a plan for her life and that plan was totally
different than mine."

Barron also learned the hard way that she
could not be in control. "Of course, I had not ever been able to
control anything, but this was news to me. I was so exhausted and
beaten down. Looking back, it was because I was in a constant battle
with God over control of things. Once I stopped fighting Him and
welcomed His direction, I felt refreshed and energized," she recounts
in the book.

Barron's book recaps various steps of her five-year
journey and what she learned along the way, particularly so that
parents, families and friends can understand "the blessing of their
special child. May they learn to love and enjoy their child in a new
and fresh way, just the way God made them." Other goals for the book
were to help families with special needs children see they are not
alone -- and to help friends of those with special needs children see
how they might offer help.

When Madison was almost 2, the
Barrons joined Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett, Tenn., because their
former church was unequipped to help meet their needs.

Faith
Baptist had pediatric nurses among its members who voluntarily gave
their time to sit with Madison so the couple could attend services.

"That
lasted for three years," Barron recalled in an interview with
Tennessee's Baptist & Reflector newsjournal. "They saw the need and
reached out to us." Looking back, Barron said they had to have
child-care workers who knew CPR and medical procedures. "That was so
amazing that we had so many nurses who knew what to do and weren't
afraid [to care for Madison]." Barron noted that many families with
special needs children can't attend church without help. "Churches need
to open their eyes and see the need. It will not happen if members
don't visit and talk to people." Faith Baptist, she told the Baptist
& Reflector, became aware of their needs and responded after a
visit by deacons.

Barron said she also hopes to offer special
comfort to families who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. She
concluded her book with this thought: "If just one person invites Jesus
Christ into her heart and life while reading about our experiences,
Madison's life will not have been in vain. If just one parent learns to
find joy in his special needs child's life, my efforts have not been
fruitless."

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