Being a new mom can be scary enough in and of itself. Now add being a teenage mom of a special needs child. Talk about scary. I don’t know that I’d ever been as scared before in my life.

But . . .

That’s where I found myself over 25 years ago. A situation I never dreamed would happen. A decision I’d never thought would be thrown in my face. Yet, one I knew the answer to before the concerned doctors ever gave voice to it.

This is my baby, and I’m keeping it.

Would it easy? No, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. What I did know was it would be worth it, and this child was placed into my life for a reason.

See, there’s something I must admit. Something I’m not proud of but was there deep in my teenage heart nonetheless.

My confession . . . I didn’t know what to do around those with different needs, and so I did my best to stay away from them.

There, I said itthe sad truth that it was all those years ago.

RELATED: Don’t Be Afraid to Talk to Your Children About My Child With Special Needs

If we are being honest with ourselves, I think many of us have those circumstances, situations, or differences we don’t handle all that well, so we avoid them.

Right?

The news the doctors gave me back in the fall of 1993 concerning my child was not good. There was hardly any information about his disorder when he was born because it was so rare. He was the 16th case in the world at the time, and unfortunately not all those born had lived very long.

I was told it was very unlikely for my child to see their first birthday. Can you imagine the heartache? I made the choice to accept the time I’d have with my child, no matter how short or long it would be because in the end, no one knows the number of their days.

Thanks be to the Lord they were wrong about that first year. My child has now seen 27 birthdays.

There are things we have to face, but the gentle hand of the Father has brought us through so many unknowns, surgeries, and scary times that my trust in Him and His direction is never questioned.

These past 27 years have not all been easy or joyous. I’d be lying if I said they have, but what they have been are lessons for us all. Lessons in trust. Compassion. Acceptance. Strength. And in knowing the true meaning of unconditional love.

And another BIG one especially for me.

I no longer question my ability to be in the presence of those with special needs. No. That teenage girl has left the building and re-entered it with a whole new view of the preciousness of life and its everyday moments.

She no longer looks for detours but stares the world in the face and searches for ways to help others, hopefully, making a difference somewhere, someway.

So what’s the point of all this?

I don’t think there’s just one.

This small glimpse into my life is filled with them if you let yourself look closely enough.

RELATED: Becoming a Special Needs Parent Was Unexpected—But So is My Strength As a Mother

I’m so grateful for the Lord’s hand always being on my child’s lifeeven before this mommy gave her heart to Jesus, she knew her baby was special in more ways than one. I love being able to share some of our story and giving the glory and thanks back to our Creator, who makes all things perfect, never a mistake.

I hope this has touched your life and heart in some way today. And if I could say one thing to you, it would be this: Never lose hope. Even in the darkest night, for that’s where the light shines the brightest.

Kelly Hagen

Kelly Hagen is a wife of almost twenty-one years, mom to three children, and a Christian fiction author. She enjoys spending time with family, rainy days, and cuddling up with her Australian Shepherds when they’ll let her. She hasn’t always enjoyed writing and reading, but that has changed over the last fifteen or so years. Now, all her bookshelves are full, not to mention her kindle! Kelly enjoys sharing her stories with others, in the hope of helping others see they are not alone in this journey.