This week is our last of Jaxlee’s three week therapy intensive that we do twice a year. It’s a long three weeks that require everyone to pitch in– between driving to Bakersfield, watching the other kids, and making sure everyone is at least fed and maybe bathed … it takes a village! (If you’re not familiar with our therapy intensive routine, check out this blog!)
So in the last three weeks, there’s been a lot of days where I’m driving Jax to therapy and I have looottsss of thinking time (anyone else think real hard in the car?!). One of the main things I’ve been reflecting on during these drives is our community.
We have our close circle of family and friends who pitch in taking Jaxlee to therapy, being with the other kids, preparing meals— and we are extremely grateful for them. But there’s another community around our family that I am beyond grateful for— YOU!
Our online community started when I began sharing a little bit about our journey online. When Jax was first born, I didn’t share a ton, mostly because we didn’t have many answers. We ran around for two years trying to get a diagnosis and I didn’t feel like I knew what community we fit into without a name to the complications and delays we were experiencing with her.
But once we got the Cerebral Palsy diagnosis, I was able to share more within the special needs community and learn from other CP mamas.
Even before I had Jaxlee, a friend of mine had a daughter with CP and shared about their life with disability— the special needs mom relationship, what life looked like, and genuine vulnerability of the hope and hardship that came with that life.
Having watched her for a while before having Jax, and long before her diagnosis, I had seen how this friend was encouraging her audience and creating a community. And once Jaxlee was diagnosed, I gained so much from her being willing to share openly. The videos, stories, and progress of her little girl made me feel less alone and helped me know I wasn’t the only one experiencing the feelings and going through what I was. It brought me a lot of comfort and hope, and I was so encouraged to be able to do the same for others.
That sparked me to share my journey and has led me to share more of our story. I know that the Lord has a plan. I was meant to be Jaxlee’s mom for a reason and I didn’t want to let our life experiences not be shared in case I could encourage just one other mom, special needs family, marriage … if just one person is encouraged by our story, it’s worth sharing.
Listen, there is a lot that I don’t share about our daily lives with Jaxlee and how I care for her as a special needs mom. But anything that I feel appropriate to share, I absolutely love sharing.
Through this vulnerability of sharing our story, I’ve received a gift I never expected from this community. Your support and response has been unbelievable, really, in the best way.
I never expected that being vulnerable would build the community we have now, cheering us on and praying for us. Many of you have been following us and praying for us for years! It’s such a testament to God’s faithfulness to use our story and bless us with your faithful support.
I want to leave you with two thoughts that I’ve been reflecting on during these long drives to and from therapy:
First, thank you. For every prayer, kind message, encouraging words, emails, DMs … we couldn’t do this without you. You truly keep us going day by day, keeping our spirits high and reminding us to let the Lord’s joy shine through us and our story.
Second, wherever you find yourself on your journey, I encourage you to be vulnerable. Whether it be special needs, grief, infertility, doubt, marriage struggles— whatever your story is— here’s a little nudge to take 2024 as a year to start sharing openly.
That can be on a more public platform like social media, or even within your own circle. When we start sharing how we’re feeling and the struggles we’re going through, we build community bonds that lift us up and allow us to not be alone in the silence. No matter where you share, there is a community waiting to support you, cheer you on, pray with you, and lend you energy when you feel like you don’t have the strength.
And if I can be part of that community for you, please reach out! It is truly my honor to know and pray for as many of you as possible. It’s such a blessing to be able to give back to you in any way for the many years of support and encouragement we have received from you.