Special Needs: Lori’s Story

by Lori Shutler

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. 

Do you ever feel like you have it together? Like you’ve done something so many times that you could do it in your sleep? 

That’s where I was in our homeschool journey. 

I’m a homeschool mom of four. The three oldest are boys: 7th, 5th, and 2nd grade. With each one the teaching got easier, and I felt like we were in our groove. I was feeling confident about my teaching abilities. 

Then our daughter came along. 

As an infant she had some hearing issues that affected her speech. Once her hearing was corrected, we assumed her speech would catch up pretty quickly. Unfortunately, it didn’t. 

Her speech continued to be delayed, but we assumed she’d be right where she needed to be by kindergarten age. 

The year she was kindergarten age, guess what? Not only was she not where she “should be” according to educational standards, but truthfully, she was not where I desired her to be either. 

Even now, at age six, she gets overwhelmed with verbal instructions. We’ve worked very hard just to be able to spell her name out loud while pointing to the letters. She can write only the letters F and E.  She can’t name any colors. Putting visual with auditory memory is a struggle. I could go on. We’re doing Brain Integration Therapy and pursuing a screening with a pediatric speech pathologist.

Over the past year or more I’ve asked myself what I missed, why she’s so behind, what I should have done differently, how can I help her, am I equipped to teach her? All these questions and doubts have swirled around in my head. 

But over time, I realized that my prayers were selfish. I wanted her to catch up to her peers and I wanted to teach her exactly how I taught her brothers. I hadn’t earnestly asked God to show me who she was and how to best help her.

Last year I started seeing Psalm 139:14 everywhere: on mugs, wall hangings, scripture cards, daily verses, etc. 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

It finally hit me: my daughter is exactly who God wants her to be. She is fearfully and wonderfully made!

Instead of praying and asking God to change her, I needed to be praying for God to change me, to show me how she learns, how to teach her, and for the help I need.


Once I started praying that way, everything changed. I began to discover other moms, whom I already knew, whose children have some similar learning difficulties. They’ve become a wealth of information and encouragement. I’ve also been handed educational resources that help with schooling. 

Most importantly, God has let me see who my daughter truly is – to enjoy and appreciate her instead of trying to fit her into a box. She has such joy. She loves life and gets excited over the littlest things. She is very affectionate and has an endless imagination. Best of all, she loves Jesus, she talks about Him all the time, sings songs of praise, does “Bible Study” with her stuffed animals, carries around tracts and missionary cards in all her backpacks, and prays continually. 

Isn’t that what really matters? HE has always been most important. Even if she doesn’t understand a lot of other things yet, she knows there is a God who loves her, listens to her prayers, and whom she needs to share with others. 

Teaching my daughter definitely looks different now. While doubts still creep in, most days I know and believe we are right where God wants us, and that He is going to guide and direct us every step of the way. 

He has big and beautiful plans for her!