Possible Support for Families with “Hidden Disabilities”

Hey, Sweet Things! I am about to do something that I don’t often do. I’m about to mention a website that has no official connection to Living Proof Ministries. I hardly ever do this because we would not know where to stop. By God’s grace, there are so many great resources out there that our entire blog would be given over to a steady stream of recommendations, swallowing up our purpose here. We also don’t have the ability to thoroughly police every site, founder or author we might want to mention. I’ve learned the hard way that, to many folks out there, a favorable mention or a recommendation about someone or something means that you line up with everything they’ve ever said or, scarier yet, will ever say. The risk can be enormous.

The reason why I’m taking the risk this time is because those of you who stand to be helped could need it in the worst way. There is no doubt in my mind that many of you Siestas have a family member with what can be called a “hidden disability.” Or, it might not be a family member at all. It might be the God-cherished and Christ-chosen person you see in the mirror. The new website is called Chosenfamilies.org and its founder and CEO is Shannon Royce, a brilliant woman of God I have known for the better part of 20 years. In order to avoid misquoting or misrepresenting her, I have taken the following excerpts straight off the website so she can explain for herself what Chosenfamilies.org is all about.

Shannon Royce explains,

As a mom of a child who has been diagnosed with a hidden disability, I know the challenges our families face. These hidden disabilities — Anxiety, Asperger, ADHD, Autism, Bipolar disorder, Depression, Learning disabilities, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette syndrome, and others — are neurological disorders that affect every area of a child’s and a family’s life.

While the medical community is beginning to understand these disabilities, they are less understood in the church. As if the diagnosis and daily challenges were not enough, the burden is often made heavier by a lack of understanding and support from the body of Christ. At best, the church is silent, and at worst it is hurtful. Wrong-headed theology treats these disorders as sin or demonic possession rather than as neurological disorders affecting an organ of the body — the brain.

Families struggling with these issues are left to fend for themselves as they seek to raise their child or live with their family member who suffers from one of these disabilities.

Some of you know what she’s talking about. Here’s a brief bio on Shannon so you’ll know she didn’t just fall off the apple cart: (Again, I’m quoting off the site)

Prior to founding the organization, Shannon served in various pro-family organizations as a public policy advocate.  Among her experiences were the privilege to serve as the Director of Public Policy and Legislative Counsel for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Prior to her work with the Southern Baptist Convention she served two Senators as a policy advisor.  She earned her Juris Doctorate from the George Washington University School of Law and is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Siestas, along the way so many of you have asked me questions concerning (what we can now call) hidden disabilities and often I didn’t feel qualified to answer them. It wasn’t because my life had been untouched by them. On the contrary, my life was effected by them in the past and is effected by them in the present. Still, those kinds of answers need to come from people with more focused education and professional experience. I am relieved to now have a place to suggest to you for information and potential support from those with a Christ-centered world view. (There may be more out there but this is the first one I’ve learned about firsthand.) I implore you to allow me to make this suggestion to you because I love you and care for you so much without holding me responsible for every conversation or article that could take place on the site.  This I can tell you: I have known Shannon Royce to be a steadfast, sound, and mighty woman of God and I don’t look for that to change overnight.

LPM exists to encourage women in their walks with Christ. I am painfully aware that many of you are walking under a burden that is far beyond our area of education. (I am reluctant to use the word expertise as I’m not sure I’m an expert at anything.) I love you so much and I want to see you get the help you need. My hope is that this connection might be extremely helpful to some of you and offer you the relief of knowing you are not alone. Allow me to strongly suggest that you seek professional counsel from qualified physicians to make sure you have or your loved one has been properly diagnosed. One last thing. Let’s be careful on our comments to this post. Remember how public this blog is. Please don’t share anything about a loved one with a hidden disability that he or she might feel dishonored by. If you want to share something under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, by all means, do, but leave off names or identities that could be (even unintentionally) damaged by it. Let’s also stay encouraging and retain our Blessed Hope!

Life can be hard, can’t it, Sisters? But our God is good and our God is so faithful. He tells us to “be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24 HCSB)

And, how about a shout of praise for God enabling my very small but mighty staff to fill EVERY SINGLE ORDER for SSMT spirals! And over holidays! The resource department is completely up to date in your orders which well surpassed 6000 spirals. (Some have just gone in the mail so that doesn’t mean all your orders should have reached you by now. Only that they are filled and soon on their way.) As you can see from the January 1st post, 8000 of us are memorizing Scripture together. PRAISE YOU, LORD!!!! Listen carefully with ears of faith and you just might hear the sound of Swords slicing through the air to the glory of God the Father.

You are loved here and counted into every week of ministry that takes place within these doors.


379 Responses to “Possible Support for Families with “Hidden Disabilities””

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  1. 251
    Karis says:

    We too are blessed to have been chosen to have a seven year old son on the autism spectrum disorder. Sometimes I have wondered if God did choose the right mother but He NEVER makes mistakes! I need to let you all at Living Proof know what a blessing Beth’s in-depth Bible Studies have been in my life in this regard. Having a son with a hidden disability sometimes makes it very hard to sit through a church service let alone get involved in a small group or visit in the church foyer in between services, but God in His divine design planned for me to get involved in facilitating Beth’s studies in our church. Six years ago He called me to this amazing opportunity to connect with women of all ages in our church and in our community. I did not know at the time that my toddler had a disability, I thought that I was just losing my touch as a mother. Then came these studies that brought me closer to my Lord and His words, and truths about me and my family. If it weren’t for the gift of Beth’s studies I would feel very disconnected and alienated from my church and church family; which isn’t right but sometimes “church” just doesn’t know what to do with us or with our son. Thank you to each of your staff members who makes each aspect of these studies and ministries possible. I am so blessed to be called to serve Him as He has been so faithful to me, my family, and to my (His) son! Oh, by the way – my son is totally into DVD’s so he also just LOVES watching “Beff Moore”!!
    Many, Many Blessings to each one of you!!!

  2. 252
    kathy kaas says:

    I am one of those moms with a son who has multiple disabilities. He is now 28 but there were times as a young mom I wasn’t sure I had what it would take to do the job God was calling me to do…be Ben’s mom. When Ben was still a baby he was diagnosised with a developmental disability but it was still too early to determine to what degree he was delayed. At age 3 he was diagnosised with severe ADHD…emphasis on the “H”! At age 4 we were told he was on the autism spectrum. In the second grade we learned our son has Tourette Syndrome and two years later he had his first seizure. Jr. High brought the diagnosis of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and an intensity in ongoing behavioral issues.

    Ben was our second child, his sister showed no signs of any difficulties.
    Because my pregnantcy and labor were uneventful all the medical specialists couldn’t answer the “what happened” question…why did Ben have so many neurologic difficulties? Early on the Lord gave me Dt 29:29 which put the “why” question to rest for me. The hardest part for our family wasn’t all the different diagnosis…it was all the difficult behaviors Ben displayed on a daily basis. We worked with some gifted behavior specialists and we learned a great deal about behaviors and how to help Ben gain control of his actions…but it was exhausting to say the least. We were blessed to be part of a church that loved us and supported us and prayed for us often. But that is not often the case…especially when negative behaviors are displayed. Parents with children with disabilities are exhausted, overwhelmed and often times barely holding on. Marriages are stressed and often destroyed because of that stress and too often the church doesn’t know what to do to help or worse yet, not willing to help!

    When the diciples asked Jesus (refering to a man born blind)”who sinned, this man or his parents?” Christ’s answer is for all of us as parents with children who have disabilities…”neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed…” I may never know why Ben has the disabilities he has but I do know that God wants to use (and has used many times)Ben’s life for His glory…to bring honor to Him and to show the world around us the love of Christ.

    Ben’s identity is not his disabilities…he is not autistic…he HAS autism. He is a young man who loves the Lord and who the lord has used to teach me more about Himself… then almost anyone or anything else has.

  3. 253
    Kayleen says:

    THANK YOU MamaBeth! As a mother of 3 precious adopted girls who all have hidden issues, I am so thankful for the resource.

  4. 254
    Dixie says:

    I work with these special kids in the public school setting, they are loveable, and teachable. Today we had a little autistic boy would rarely does more than rock in his chair correctly identify the colores blue and green! Just like Helen Keller (sort of) we jumped for joy! Only God sets their limits. Shalom

  5. 255
    Rorri says:

    Just reading all these posts reinforces the profound need not only for resources, but for RELEASE from the bondage of secrecy and shame in regards to such “hidden disabilities.” I married into a family riddled with anxiety, including the agoraphobia that has kept my husband from productively working for almost five years. I had NO idea about any of this until years into our marriage, although there were some very difficult behavioral issues that the anxiety disorder finally helped explain.
    But this has a HUGE impact on our lives and is certainly a family “secret” that I feel no safety to communicate about in the church. And so a kind of shame and isolation is a very real part of my life, our lives.
    The Lord has taught me MUCH in the midst of all of this; and I am actually hopeful that we walk in a pivotal generation regarding these hidden disabilities. Certainly we are in an era when these conditions are better understood and acknowledged. May we all be part of the work of the LORD in unveiling the secrecy that keeps so many in bondage.
    Bless you, Mama Beth and chosenfamilies.org.
    Bless all the Siestas and THANK YOU for the courage to share these painful stories!!

  6. 256
    Tiffany says:

    Hello, I am new to this site. My daughter, Paris was born with trisomy x or triplo x or triple x syndrome but my favorite name is superfemale syndrome. At any rate it is when a girl is born with 3 xxx chromosomes. She fights developmental delays. She is 11 now almost 12 and school is tough. For me too. She hates school she doesn’t have many friends. The teachers wish her off to special ed. And I just want to cry for her. She takes longer to do things and everyone thinks it just because I don’t work hard enough with her at home. Adhd and add have been of course the first of it. Now its as if the emotional roller coaster ride has built. I can’t say that I don’t feel like we ride it together most days. Please pray for her me our family. I also have two boys ages 7 and 5. Life is quite busy. This week I have a teachers conf. I am fearful they want to push for special ed. Schools are so broke right now in Illinois. THey have little help and when a teacher has a child with a hidden disability like triple x syndrome. They want to wave the flag for special ed. This child eats up much of their time and they feel they have lots to throw at them. Its sad because I just wish they would stop and consider this is a human child that needs to feel acceptance and love not beat down and thrown out. She can’t help it. I want to scream. God help her. God help her. I pray the school scene changes before she slips into a pit of severe depression. If anyone has any info to help with this condition I would love to know about it. Thank you.

    • 256.1
      Donna says:

      Tiffany – Know that I am praying specifically for you tonight. I ask our Jehovah Shalom! Our Lord of Peace to wrap you in His arms and to bring rest to your heart and soul. Read Psalm 91 and take shelter under His wings.
      We do not know the why’s of this life. But we know the One who does. As you travel the storms of life, remember He is in the boat with you.
      I promise to pray for you, Paris, your two boys and your husband. May you lie down in sweet peace tonight, and sleep in the shelter of His loving kindness.

    • 256.2
      Lupe King says:

      Hello and greetings from Masachusetts! I am a grandmother of an 11 year old grandaughter, Taya, also diagnosed with Triplo-X, I relate to what you have written, but I believe we have a God that works in adversity and I believe there is something to be learned in all our trials in dealing with this syndrome, Taya is also having a hard time in the school system, has an IEP plan, struggles with social integration with her peers, doesn’t have many friends either. Peers are around the same age and don’t really know mercy or grace. This breaks my heart, but only for a little while, Jesus makes everything in our lives worthwhile, even the hard and painful times, we are not alone. I will pray for your daughter everytime I pray for Taya, she brings much sunshine into my life. Yes there is little known about Triplo-X but our Divine Physician knows ALL about it, so we must continue to have hope and hold each other up as moms and “nanas”, Our children need us because we have Jesus in us the Hope of glory and nothing is impossible for Him. Be encouraged. Hope abounds via His blood.

      In Christ,

  7. 257
    TJ Weeden says:

    This article, though, has impacted my life as I work with my 12 year old son as he is suffering from some type of anxiety. He cries almost everyday at school. We are praying and seeking wisdom. Thank you for posting it.

  8. 258
    Kristino says:

    Thanks Beth!

  9. 259
    Michele says:

    When I’m well, I condemn myself for not being stronger or thinking clearly. I vow not to let depression/anxiety rule me again.

    And then there are days like today. I missed my counselor appt because I wrote down the wrong time. I can’t carry a thought from one room to another. I become paralyzed trying to make the smallest decision. Recently ended up in the ER from physical anxiety issues. It’s debilitating.

    • 259.1
      Cindy Maynard says:

      Can I ever relate to Michele’s struggle! I have days like hers where I struggle to do basic things people take for granted. I have learned to thank God for good days and am learning to thank God in the bad days-not for the pain itself but for the good purposes He has ordained through it. I’m still learning to be kind to myself unconditionally. Finding balance in life is a daily battle but well worth it, especilly with Christ. Abiding in Him is paramount!

  10. 260

    sweet Beth thank you so much for sharing this. I have one of these hidden disabilities and have now for 13 years. Now I have a 7 year old with one of them too. It has been hard for us but nothing that God has not been completely reliable for. He has shown us His constant, dependability and His amazing strength because we are so weak. It is a blessing to share in His sufferings and I am so glad there is a site for this. I am checking it out now.
    Much love,

  11. 261

    Thank you so much, Beth. It is very encouraging knowing I’m not alone. Both with me and my daughter. I was told at my former church that I shouldn’t ever tell anyone I struggle with Chronic Depression, which a big part of why I still do is for the very reason that I don’t want people hiding in the church thinking they’re all alone like I did for years. Plus, I was running out of resources and was desperate as you know, since I wrote to you as well. My daughter has ADD and I’ve gotten all kinds of comments about how I’ve messed up or am messing up with her, also.

  12. 262
    Diane says:

    Beth- I wanted to say a belated thank you for the site reference. I am the mom of a 10 year old son with a hidden disability that we’ve been coping with since he was barely 3 -it was that obvious even when he was that young.

    The other thing I wanted to mention: thanks again for your Believing God study. And hold your hat for this but I’ve used the 5 fold faith pledge with my son and there have been times he’s refused to accept it for him, and there have been times he’s been able to accept the 5 promises in that pledge.

    And again…thank you, thank you, thank you! You do so much for us women in the body of Christ. I’m hoping to be able to attend your event here in Utah this August and expect it to be a time of refreshment for all of us!

  13. 263
    angie ballard says:

    thanks so much i had no idea that a website like chosenfamilies.org even exsisted.

  14. 264
    Betty M says:

    How I wish somehting like that would have existed 20+ years ago. I raised two kids with learning disabilities. My daughter over came her problems and will be attending graduate school this fall. Our second child, Brian, had severe learning disabilities and at age 9 became ill with a rare from of leukemia. He survived by the grace of God and was one of the first kids to survive with it at Mayo clinic. Afew years later, the brain damage he received from all the cranial radiation he had made his problem alot worse. He survived all of this but at age 36 he can not do a simple math problem and relies on a calculator to do math and his spelling is at a third grade level. I struggled for years thinking I was responsible for the learning problems they had. It owuld have been so nice to have some support. even in the church noone had worked with learning diabilities before and the Sunday school teachers kept drawing comparisons between especially Brian and normal learning kids which furthered my feelings of guilt. I am thankful there are groups in which others can receive the help they need to deal with these disabilities/ Brian is a happy adult and though he faces challenges every day he enjoys life for the most part. Praise God for groups to help others and the help an dlove they impart to others.

  15. 265
    Debe says:

    Thank you for mentioning this website, I will check it out. I have a son diagnosed with Autism, and the one thing I have found is- Jesus really is faithful to us! Isaiah 40:11- …”He gently leads those who have young.” This is yet another example of HIS faithfulness and love towards us through this website. Bless you for mentioning it. In His Grace, Debe

  16. 266
    Pilgrim says:

    I am 37 years old and and have been a born-again Christian ever since I was 17 years old. I am very involved in my church. However, no one there knows that I also live with chronic PTSD, depression, and mainly dissociative identity disorder-thats the newer name for Multiple Personalities. Its something i have to keep hidden because people, especially in the church, do not understand. I have been called demon-posessed. I have lost friends and loved ones. The truth is, I just love the Lord and live a normal, happy life like other people do. I just happen to share my mind with 20 other people inside and sometimes have a hard time doing that.

  17. 267
    Koren says:

    this is just a test

  18. 268

    You can find that info by looking for natural cures for gout. It has worked wonders for my husband!! Hard to stay on, but really does work. Best of luck!

  19. 269
    LynnaKay says:

    Thank you for posting this. It is definitely not an easy path to have a son with a hidden disability. It’s quite lonely. I know that God chose me and trusts me to take care of Logan and be his mommy until He welcomes him back home.

  20. 270
    Kari says:

    How wonderful to have such a great resource! I have a ” hidden disability” that leaves me unable to stand for more than a couple of minutes before blacking out. With three kids under four, life is a bit crazy since I need to have another adult with my children about 99% of the time since I can’t take care of them on my own. It can be so incredibly challenging to not look sick, and yet be challenged by the simplest of tasks. We pray that none of our children end up with a similar illness. Thanks again for raising awareness!

  21. 271
    Heather Jones says:

    Beth thank you so much for addressing this topic. We have a child with autism and I am so excited to find a christian based support site out there. Thanks!

  22. 272
    ja smith says:

    Thank you for bringing attention to this. I have dealt with depression for over 30 years. Due to the stigma, I never discussed it with anyone or received treatment. I absolutely did not bring it up in church, due to comments made by other people. It was brought to the forefront due to a traumatic event in my life. I implore anyone who has depression or any other psychologic problem, please get professional help. It can be a matter of saving your life. Literally and spiritually.

  23. 273
    Mary Jen says:

    Third memory verse:
    “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” Romans 8:25

    I’m learning this verse because two of my young grandsons are learning it for their class. They learned it before I did!

  24. 274
    Jill says:

    Thank you!! We have 2 sons, one with diagnosed hidden disabilities and the other we are starting the process for. We have learned so much from our kids! Some days are fantastic and some days are so hard I think we won’t make it. God has given me many friends who share this life, and they are so helpful, just to be able to listen and get it. Our 11-year-old struggles with Asperger’s, ADHD, anxiety disorder and Tourette’s. Lately it seems that whenever I get together with friends and pray for our kids and our schools, he has a much harder day behaviorally. Am I reading more into this than there is? Are there some specific verses I could pray for his protection? I’m not going to stop praying!!! Thanks for the website – I will be visiting frequently!

  25. 275
    mary says:

    First time on Blog. It is great makes me feel like I am part of a family

  26. 276
    Cheryl says:

    Prov. 12:18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. TNIV

  27. 277
    Melissa Loudon says:

    Dear Beth,
    The Father has used you and your studies to impact my life is such a profound way- i feel like you are a mentor even though we have never met face to face( my kids have even screamed out at Costco when we’ve seen your picture on a book ” theres Miss Beth!” like we know you! LoL. I write all of this to say thank you for writing this blog on hidden disabilites- i have a child wt many of these issues and it has been a very lonely road- to read this today in thr midst of another storm was balm to a very weary moms soul. We are learning to embrace my precious ones disabilities and see that he does not need to be “fixed” bc he is not broken! God made Him wonderfully and exactly how he should be for His glory. He chose us as his family bc we needed him even more than he needed us! Thank you for your encouragement and support! Much love!!

  28. 278
    Kathlene says:

    Thank you so much Beth. I so needed to hear that my Bipolar Disorder is no accident by God. He designed me with and and loves me with it as well. I am looking forward to the day that I not only “know” that but “feel” it as well. Thank you again!

    • 278.1
      Velma Ross says:

      Kathleen, I am 78 years old and was diagnosed with bipolar when I was 35.
      I am so glad that you realize that God loves you and designed you that way.

      One scripture which may help you “feel” as well as “know” His love for you
      is found in II Corinthians (Second Cor.) 12:8-10.

      Believe me, I know how it feels to be in the depth of depression as well as
      high as a kite. It’s such a comfort to trust the One who says “My grace
      is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

  29. 279
    Velma says:

    I am 78 years old and was diagnosed with Bipolar when I was 35.

    I am well acquainted with the ups and downs of Bipolar.

    One Scripture which helps me a lot is found in II Corinthians 12:8-10.

    It is such a comfort to put my trust in the One who says, “My grace

    is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

    One Scripture which helps me a lot is found in IICorinthians 12:8-10.
    It is such a comfort to put my trust in the One who says, “My grace
    is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

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