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””

If you'd like your own pic by your comment, go to Gravatar.com. Click the first button "Get your gravatar today ->", and it will walk you through a simple process to select a picture.


  1. 1
    Laura says:

    I really enjoy seeing just how much you are for each and every person who reads your blog. You are such a gift to so many people Beth. I have just recently come across your blog but I enjoy reading your posts! Keep up the great work! God is using you for something BIG!

  2. 2
    Nicole says:

    Beth, thank you…we are in the beginning stages of learning of our youngest child’s “hidden” disability. we have fought tooth and nail for the last 4 years trying to uncover the many layers that make up our daughter and her struggles.

    thank you very much for taking the chance to share this info. I for one am grateful.

    • 2.1
      Beth says:

      Bless you, sweet thing.

      • Nicole says:

        Thank you! We continue to pray that all things that are hidden are revealed and God’s mercy continues to go before us as we walk this path. I think of the scripture that states “He is a light unto my path”. so true…He only keeps lit the parts of the path we need to know at that time. as we walk in faith He continues to make things known and sheds light in the places HE wants us to go.

  3. 3
    Amazed by Grace says:

    All I can say is THANK YOU BETH!!! I just got home and looked at the LPM blog site to find out that what you quoted from Shannon on “hidden disabilities”. I had just gotten off the phone with our insurance company trying to find psychologists and psychiatrists that are covered in our network. Both of my children suffer from these frustrating and at times debilitating conditions. As a mother it is so difficult to see your children suffer. You feel helpless at times and don’t know which way to turn, except to Christ!!

    Thank you Lord for Christian Counselors. He has transformed each one of us in our family but at a high cost to us financially. My prayer is that more providers would be willing to be a part of insurance networks so that we have the ability to get the help we need and not be restricted by finances. My older child came to me recently and said that help was needed but that we were already paying for the other sibling and did not want to put additional burden on us. That should not be so!!!

    As sisters in Christ we need to support each other without condemnation or judgement. You never know when you may be in the same situation.

    All my love Beth! Thanks for risking putting the information out there. If it was ONLY for me, it was worth it!!!!!!

  4. 4

    Thanks, Beth, for the recommendation. My husband is bipolar, healthy and whole thanks to drugs developed by doctors and scientists to whom God has given wisdom.

    This is something we’ve chosen to be very open about–because the taboo and stigma associated with mental illness has just as many hurtful effects as the disease itself. Feeling like you can’t talk about it or ask for help is a horrible feeling.

    I have been told I must not have prayed correctly, there must be sin in our life (well, duh, who doesn’t have sin in their lives?!), and that he is most likely demon-possessed. All of which have been hurtful.

    All that to say, thanks for making an exception and making a recommendation.

    So much love,

    • 4.1
      Laura says:

      I am sorry to hear that you all have been told those hurtful things. I am reminded of the following verse: “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
      “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9 vs 1 – 5

      God is using you and your husband for GREAT things!

  5. 5
    Cassandra Sines says:

    Beth, thank you so much for the information about this website. Although I have not had a chance to look at it, I will in the very near future. My eight-year-old son has been diagnosed with a rare form of Autism called Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. It’s been a very difficult few years for us trying to get to the bottom of what’s been going on with him, including two very difficult psychiatric hospitalizations. We know that God chose him for our family and that we could handle whatever He brought through our path.

    My husband and I have recently started a support group at our church for other families with children with special needs after many years of not listening to God’s prompting until we could no longer ignore it! We have been blessed beyond belief in God’s ministry! We are very fortunate to have the support of our church in that, including the fact that they provide the child care for us during our meetings.

    Thank you again for your stepping out of your norm to let us know about this website. I look forward to looking at in much depth when I have a few minutes!


    • 5.1
      Denise says:

      Just had to say “Amen” and “Bless You” to this! Taking the challenges set before you and using them to love, reach and bless others…isn’t that God’s earthly mission for us? Praise Him for giving you the strength and wisdom to answer this high calling! Continued blessings on your ministry!

  6. 6
    moosemama says:

    Several people I love very much fall into this category of “hidden disabilities”. Thank-you for telling us about this site.

    And YES, thank-you to the LPM staff for their steadfast dedication to get those spirals out! And YES, how very very exciting it is, to see those numbers inch up and over 8000! Unbelievable! And Wonderful!

    Melana 🙂

    • 6.1
      HarborMom says:

      I wanted to shout out your “YES” responses with you, Melana. I await my spirals and am grateful the Spirit has encouraged me and my 8 year old to be part of the 8000 women participating!

  7. 7
    Tina says:

    THANK YOU!! for posting this information. As a single mom, I’m so overwhelmed right now with different specialists and trying to get a correct diagnosis for my son. People can be so hurtful, and I get that they don’t understand, but it truly is overwhelming. Running to this site for help! Thanks!!

    • 7.1
      Pam says:

      Hang in there!!! It took over a year,several doctors and meds,and an initial misdiagnosis of ADD with my son to actually get a dyslexia diagnosis. Pray through it, seek the Lord, and trust Him to open doors for the help you need! He will provide it! And He will give you the grace to get through it!

    • 7.2
      Cindy Wincel says:

      I am a single mom as well. I know what you mean by feeling overwhelmed and how hurtful people can be. Here is my email addy if you ever need someone to talk to I am here. (I hope that is ok to give out). [email protected]

  8. 8
    Sister Lynn says:

    Thank for this resource Beth. Often, it is hard to know when the sources you need are “godly”. I am grateful that you know the founder of this organization. Like you, these hidden disabilities affect so many I know and love.

    Once again, we receive blessing through you.

    much love, Sister Lynn

  9. 9
    Noemi says:

    Thank you for sharing this link Beth. I have a niece that has been affected with a “hidden” disability. Her parents have gone through so much. Just last night I watched a movie/documentary that talks about this disability. I was moved to tears thinking of their pain. I don’t think it is a coincidence you shared this link today. God is always working in ways we can’t even imagine. The link has been forwarded to my sister already. Thanks!

  10. 10
    Michele says:

    I can confirm from personal experience that the Church – at least up here – is painfully ill-equipped in dealing with “Hidden Disabilities.”

    There have been many occasions were people in the church did not know how to handle my depression & related issues, and it caused me further pain. I’m not saying ministers need to be certified mental health professionals, but one should hope that PEOPLE OF GOD should at the very least should be trained to recognize problems and help direct people to get the proper care – without making fun or DISREGARDING the issue.

    I could write so much. This issue is the root of the problems I have at my church because my pastor doesn’t get it, and when I tried to explain it to him, he did not take it well. The pastor should never just tell you that it’s your fault & you need to take responsibility. What if you don’t know how because you don’t even understand what is wrong or why you think/act the way you do? They – we all – should come alongside and help each other figure out the enemy’s lies we are believing!!

    At one point I thought that I could actually write a book on this. Some problems definitely require serious medical care, but I belive many can be helped if we worked together against the real enemy. But some people want to help and then when they get overwhelmed by the depth of your need, they SLAM THE DOOR in your face – relational abandonment – which only makes things worse.

    Break your arm, everyone wants to sign your cast. Have a mental illness, and people – GODLY people – treat you like you are a leper!

    I need to go pray. Lord, have mercy.

    • 10.1
      Joyce Watson says:

      I really think there are alot of people, especially at church who do not understand or know how they can help others. That does not mean they do not care, but in recent years people have just begun to learn about some of these disabilities and been able to help.
      For one thing, I think most of these things we face now was kept secret and never talked about.
      So sorry if you were not treated fairly, pray that God will give the help people need.

      • I volunteered in the childrens minsitry and did not know I was caring for a special child. If I looked at her, she screamed for hours. If I touched her shoulder, she fell apart. Letting the volunteers know the needs of a gifted child would make the experience better for both the child and the volunteer. I absolutely wanted her in the class with me, I simply did not know how to meet her needs. After a few sessions, I started to learn her likes and dislikes.

    • 10.2

      When all the stuff with my life got to be too much
      my pastor told me to try to look for a Christian
      Counselor, that was 2006, and I called the radio
      station I knew since my church didn’t recommend one,
      and I found a good one! – I am grateful that my pastor
      knew when it all was too much.
      I think it’s clear yours is in over his head too.
      you don’t want to keep yourself from
      getting healing you should have, and don’t let
      anyone stop you!

    • 10.3
      Karene says:

      Michele, Thank you for sharing your pain. You are right, so often the church is the place that can be most hurtful in these situations. Stories like yours are exactly why I have gone back to school to become a pastoral counselor. Take care, dear siesta.

  11. 11
    Yanna says:

    Standing up clapping, giving God a woot woot for the LPM team and all of those involved filling SSMT index spiral orders. Woot woot clap clap clap two bits four bits all for God stand up and holler!!! Amanda and Melissa would be so proud I learned well from Moma Beth. 🙂

  12. 12
    Heidi says:

    Beth thank you for an avenue of support and encouragement for those of us who live with the reality of hidden disabilities. As a mom of one child with ADHD and one with OCD, a former counseling center administrator, and a current Director of Children’s ministries, I am thankful for this new information.
    God’s blessings to you as you continue to support women. You are a blessing and inspiration.

  13. 13

    I am in tears right now. Gods timing is incredible and He is so GOOD!! The rest of my family just left for Wed. services at church, and I am home with my teenage son who has Asperger’s syndrome. He does not get the support he needs to be able to attend on Wed. nights so it’s becoming our special mother/son night! We love our church…they just don’t know how to approach such a “hidden disability” so they just don’t.
    THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for sharing this. It’s been a day full of God things and I am in AWE!
    Off to play a game of Monopoly with my boy!
    Love and prayers to all,

  14. 14
    Bobbi says:


  15. 15
    Kim says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this resource! I am a 3rd grade teacher in the public school system in Alabama, and year after year I work with students with those hidden disabilities. The parents of these students are precious and are always looking for resources outside the “public” system. If I feel the moving of the Holy Spirit to share, I will step out of the educator’s role and speak as a Christian. I have never had a parent to complain or to question my motives and always appreciate the extra resources. Thanks for adding to my list, Beth!

    • 15.1
      ashley says:

      You are a blessing as a teacher, did you know that. Amen for you!

      • ashley says:

        I just read how awkward that read. I have met so many teachers who just get tired with children who need IEPs and special help, and when I read this, I was overjoyed. Thank you for all you do, you are a blessing as a teacher, and as a person as well. Thank you for hanging in there! You are a inspiration.

        • Kim says:

          Thank you, Ashley, for your kind words. I will steal a quote from a good friend – anything good that is within me is all Him!

  16. 16
    Luanne says:

    oh thank you so much!! we have been dealing with ‘hidden’ medical issues with our youngest for over 17 years now. it’s been hard having church members tell us we just have to pray more or act surprised that he still needs to see so many specialists. even our youth pastor told my son that he needed to spend more time praying about his issues, that medicines wouldn’t fix him, only God could. fortunately my son’s faith amazes me and he believe that God can work through doctors and medications.

    i’m heading to that site now. thank you so much beth for addressing this difficult issue!

    • 16.1
      Patti says:

      Dear Luanne,
      As a mother of a son with a “hidden disability” I am praying with an understanding heart with and for you and your family. I can’t wait to visit this website. I don’t know about you, but this post has stirred so much within me. My family has been so touched by this and it felt so good to have a name for what has so profoundly affected us far longer than we even realize because I think my own hidden disabilities were never diagnosed. Here’s what I know about myself and this is true about you, about your son, and about everyone who is in Christ. I am God’s own workmanship, (hidden disabilities and/or medical issues and all) His handiwork. I have been recreated in Christ Jesus. I have been born anew that I may do those good works which God predestined, planned beforehand for me, taking the paths that He prepared ahead of time, that I may walk in them, living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for me to live. (Ephesians 2:10 AMP)
      I think you will be encouraged by knowing that the son to whom I’m referring is now 23 years old and has been married 7 months now. He and his bride serve together in the special needs ministry of our church. (And get this, her mother has been a special education teacher for close to thirty years.) My heart is very tender for the special needs ministry of our church as I’ve invested many tears and prayers and both sons and their wives serve in this precious ministry. I am loving watching as God’s plan for my beloved children continues to unfold and I feel so blessed to see some of the pieces of the puzzle come together, but it is so good to know about this additional resource.
      Your comment resonated with me and I want you to know that you will be in my prayers and I would appreciate being included in yours.
      Blessings to you and your family,
      Patti Hayes

  17. 17
    Sandee says:

    how timely…as I am working through one of these “hidden disabilities” with one of my children..and never mention it to others, because of the ideas from every one. Thank you for the resource.

    and I am SO loving my memory verse…it is stirring my heart several times a day.

  18. 18
    shana says:

    Thanks so much! We’ve just uncovered a pretty serious hidden disability in one of our six kiddos and this is perfectly timed for our family.

  19. 19

    Thank you so much, Beth, for sharing this ministry with us. Words can’t express how much HOPE this information gives me. It’s so tough for my husband and I to serve in our gifting areas at church when we don’t trust our children’s program to accommodate our child’s “hidden” differences. God is so gracious to give us trusted adults in our immediate circle who love and understand our child. These adults often are the adults who have first-hand experience loving someone with “quirks.” In this season of our life, as our child reaches pre-puberty with all of its extra-intense emotions, our Abba Daddy has gone above and beyond (as He always does) and put in our church a trained developmental pediatrician, and a pastor and his wife who have an adult child with a hidden disability–a godly couple who are further down this road than my husband and me.

    Now to have chosenfamilies.org as a resource is truly DELIGHT–and right in my backyard! (I live in northern VA.) I see so many ways God is drawing close to me in my brokenheartedness and giving me safe places to be crushed in spirit. The call to be an effective steward with my family’s story is wrapping around me like a garment of praise tailored just for me.

    Your love, encouragement, authenticity, and integrity ministers to me daily through this blog, “Wednesdays with Beth” teachings, and your Bible study videos and workbooks. You do much to stir us on to love and good works. Thank you again for letting Jesus be all, and showing us how to live that way.

    God gave me two promises for my child in 2006, when I took the “Breaking Free” class for the first time, before we had a name for her hidden disability:

    from Isaiah 44:
    “[Jehovah says] do not be afraid, My chosen one, do not fear.
    For I will give you abundant water to quench your thirst and to moisten your parched fields.
    And I will pour out My Spirit and My blessings on your children.
    They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank.
    Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the Lord.’
    Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’
    Some will write the Lord’s name on their hands
    and will take the honored name of Israel as their own.”

    From Psalm 144:
    “Then (after all of Psalm 144),
    our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.
    Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision.
    Our sheep will increase by thousands in our fields;
    our oxen will draw heavy loads.
    There will be NO breaching of walls,
    NO going into captivity,
    NO cry of distress in our streets.
    Blessed are the people of whom this is true;
    blessed are the people whose God is the LORD.”


  20. 20
    Amy says:

    Simply and protectively said; Thank you!

  21. 21
    Kathleen says:

    Beth, Thank you for going out on a limb to bring this web site to the attention of so many needy people in the world. You are so thoughtful to all of us. I have been touched very deeply by one of these hidden disabilities, my daughter-in-law was killed in a car wreck 3 years ago because she had a seizer while driving. People don’t get how hard it is to give up driving. Plus I have Trigeminal neuralgia and EVERY SINGLE DAY is a challenge only God can get me through. People always say well what is that? and why don’t you get it fixed? I always tell them to educate them self and go google it. Most people just laugh. People don’t want to understand or get involved with the likes of a hidden disability.

    Praise God for all those spirals getting out and so many of us that are doing the SSMT. and BETH: YOU ROCK!!! Thank you for all you do.

  22. 22
    ashley says:

    Praise the Lord that you would offer this to those who have these precious children and people in their life. Because it is a HIDDEN disability, often people tend to expect and not tend to their disability as one would if they were in a wheel chair. This includes, teachers, foster parents, friends, friend’s parents and pretty much everyone else in the universe that has not had to go through it. These children (I work mostly with children with behavioral problems, including one in my family) are often referred to as the “problem children” in society. I have more than once personally and professionally came across school districts that do not want to pursue the process of IEP, and basically try to persuade the parents to find a better “suited” school district. As an advocate, or an aunt fighting for a child this can be very daunting! Sadly, the blame then gets put on the caregivers, which can also be disconcerting because let’s face it, IT IS HARD and can be very exhausting. I would love to see a ministry develop within in churches that go out and help those with getting education materials, supporting them through scripture and with general support as friends, and ensure they incorporate all those who feel alienated automatically—either the parent or the child, in everything they do. I wish with all my heart that these amazing people could come to understand that they are twice the overcomers that we (I) will ever be. Overcoming the obstacle of their disorder, and the world! God is within them and he never makes mistakes. So often they feel disabled by more than just their diagnosis, they feel disabled when it comes to their peers, their teachers, their schools, their movies, their society, by their entire life. Sometimes even by their church. God called us to love! Everyone, as we loved ourselves. He called us to the sick. He called us to the lost. He did not call us to keep the status quo or maintain “norms.” This just tears my heart out. We are blessed that you posted this, if anything you just gave those who feel have no voice, the microphone for a second! Prayer for those who suffer and their families. Pray for healing! Prayer for amazing things to come their way.

  23. 23
    Becky Brown says:

    Thank you Beth for this info! I have a son, 18 who I have said many times that he has been misjudged because he “looks” normal. And of course what is normal but a setting on a dryer! My memory verse goes with this post as well 2Corinthians 4:7-9 For all you moms who are just beginning this journey, take heart, God is your strength and rear guard! Your child is not a “problem” but the love of your life! God has given you the strength (you just don’t realize it yet)!

  24. 24
    anonymous says:

    Oh how I needed to read this post tonight! I’ve just been asking God how and why my husband and I can keep going when what our adult child most needs, we’re unable to provide. Meaningful employment (for which he has struggled successfully to be educated)seems to be eluding him time after time. He has many talents and a uniquely special relationship with his Lord but being different seems to be a life long stigma. Not to mention the effect his disability has on relationships. People are drawn to him initially and then shy away when he behaves differently than the norm. This has been especially hurtful as he’s sought out Christian girls. Even in the church, girls can be very hurtful. Once someone is categorized in a certain way, potential relationships are discouraged for fear of what others might think.
    Dear Beth, the link looks like a valuable resource but personally, what we covet most are your prayers. And please know that your work of sharing God’s word has ministered to our hearts more than we can say.

  25. 25
    Megan Cunningham says:

    Wow, who would have thought there was a place for me to get the help I have needed for so long, thanks Beth. Headed there now.

  26. 26
    Deb says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this information! I’m so excited to learn about this site. My son is 3 and has an autism diagnosis…my younger brother who is grown now also has autism and we had some rough times in certain churches, when I was growing up. People just did not understand and no help was available. I am so thrilled that our church just in the past few months is starting a special needs ministry. The timing just seems right, and these supports are so needed. Christians mean well sometimes but it’s sad to hear some people say they have received more understanding “out in the world.” It should not be that way! Thank you again for sharing this site.

    And way to go about getting all of those orders out! I just spoke to someone on the phone yesterday who put my order out here to CT in the mail! 🙂

  27. 27
    tolkienfan says:

    God bless you, Beth. I am typing through my tears. The isolation of families living with these “hidden disabilities” can be incredible. Our family has dealt with autism for 18 years and with bipolar disorder in two of our three children for the past several years. Multiple hospitalizations, frequent appointments with medical professionals, and most of all the heartbreak of seeing your children’s frustration and repeated disappointments when their peers reject them and they can’t accomplish their goals because their own bodies are working against them … these are challenges we never anticipated when we became parents and could never survive without the love, mercy and strength of our mighty God.

    But the blessing of other believers who “get it” – like you and Shannon Royce – I can’t begin to tell you how that speaks to my heart. Thank you SO much for everything you said and for sharing Shannon’s words and the link to her website. I will check it out immediately.

    P.S. At the last minute, I had to cancel my plans to attend the SSMT event last January because one of our sons was in crisis. I’m already praying that circumstances will allow me to attend the next one!

  28. 28

    I’m excited and thankful for this resource that so many need. My youngest son has a disability that isn’t so hidden, so my heart goes out to anyone and everyone having special needs.

  29. 29
    Shelly Elston says:

    Wow! God’s timing never ceases to amaze me. This very issue has been on my mind lately. We have one son and he has a “hidden disability”. He is a handsome 13 year old young man who is sometimes looked at in a funny, disapproving way for his seemingly immature behavior and difficult-to-understand speech. We are sometimes looked at in a manner that says “If that was my child, I’d never allow…”. I sometimes feel like I don’t want to leave the house.

    And then to feel it at church? Well, it’s heartbreaking and isolating. I’m thankful that our church has been compassionate. We are seeing more and more people with disabilities at our services, some hidden and some not, and our pastors and parishioners alike have been kind.

    Thank you and bless you, Beth, for passing along this important information!

    And, yes, a huge “THANK YOU” to all of the LPM staff for filling all those orders. I love mine!!!!

    Love you, Beth!


  30. 30
    ULCARDSFAN says:

    My daughter used to be very involved in church but after attending a “Christian College” where she heard over and over from other students that if she prayed harder her depression would go away, she no longer attends church. As an RN, I know that mental health and physical health are both treatable…if she broke her arm, I would take her to a doctor…for her depression we also saw a doctor. I pray everyday for the Holy Spirit to wash over my daughter afresh and to give her a renewed passion for Jesus. Thank you Beth for sharing truth and I am so sorry that some of my fellow Siestas have been treated unkindly for “hidden disabilities”. May God’s WORD be released into the world through SIESTAVILLE !
    Love, Linda

  31. 31
    OCD Mom says:

    Interesting, that for the last hour, since my husband came home from work, we have been discussing the possibility of an intensive treatment program for our adult daughter who suffers from OCD. We have dealt with this hidden monster (the OCD, not the daughter!) for over ten years. We have found God to be faithful to her and to us in guiding us to psychiatrists, counselors and yes, medication. We have found a wide spectrum of response from other Christians. Some get it and pray for our girl faithfully; others are clueless, and some can even be harmful in their pious comments. The worst was the day we sat in our beloved church home and heard the pastor tell a joke about mental illnesses. No one would ever dream of making a joke about cancer or diabetes, but mental health is fair game. Beth, what you have done with this post and recommendation is WONDERFUL. I am especially thrilled for those parents just starting out with a child’s diagnoses to have a site like this for resources and encouragement. Thank you Beth.

  32. 32
    Janean says:

    Beth, thank you SO MUCH for posting this information and for caring for families walking this path. We have two children, the same ages as your grandchildren (which always makes Amanda’s posts minister so much to me!, thank you Amanda…our kids even oddly look alike!) Our 4 1/2 year old son has autism. Caring for a child with autism can be a very lonely path. Attending worship has been problematic, with the nursery/Sunday school ill-equipped to care for him and his inability to sit through a service. It’s heartbreaking as a family to not be able to worship as we’d like or to have to worship apart in stages. More than even all the logistics, we just pray that the church can open it’s arms to these children and see what tender hearts they have for God. My son reads his Bible, loves to sing hymns, memorizes verses and prays his little heart out. He has many gifts to share with his Christian brothers and sisters, even if they come in a different package than usual.

    I feel so blessed to have you acknowledge us as a community of mothers and to have found chosenfamilies.org. Perhaps other mothers in Siestaville can connect as well and we can find yet another way to minister to one another. Bless you!

  33. 33
    Maria says:

    I was going to say I don’t have a child with a ‘hidden disability’ but I do, though it isn’t as severe as some mentioned. As an educator by profession, I clearly see the signs of ADD in my oldest son and my husband, we are on a diagnosis quest for my son before he reenters public education (we currently homeschool).

    I have also shared this entry with several of my friends who have family members with ‘hidden disabilities’ and I hope that it is helpful to them

  34. 34
    Heather says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It is just what I needed to see this evening.

  35. 35
    Robinmac says:

    I could not believe my eyes tonight when I saw your post. I took a HUGE step for me today and went the doctor for some of the very things you mentioned. The past few months have been increasingly difficult … to the point of lots of crying and despair. I am just at the very beginning of trying climb out of this long dark tunnel. It is a tough journey … I hope to be able to say I’ve made progress in the next few months. I know your post today was from the Lord to me :). Thank you for being His messenger of encouragement, I know He is on this journey with me … I’m counting on it.

  36. 36
    Dana says:

    With one that has suffered from depression for well over 30 years, I really am thankful that you have metioned this topic here on your blog. I am with Michele in that the church has not given me much support in the matter. I have a wonderful family that loves me through my dark times. It is such a lonely disease though. People can identify with divorce, cancer, finacial difficulties, but these hidden disabilities are hard to talk about-relate to…There are days that I cling to my faith by my fingernails ;the mental anguish is so daunting. Thanks again for bringing light and hope to all “hidden disabilities.”

  37. 37

    How exciting! Thank you! I hope this will help parents and also churches!! Especially in our smaller churches, folks are trying to minister to children/people the best way they know how but are operating with limited training is these areas. We need these people who *know* to guide us along!! EXCITING!

  38. 38
    Marla Hamm says:

    I am encouraged not only by the website and the information it contains but also by the other God serving women and families out there that have been willing to post their own stories and struggles. I have not talked to one other christian woman yet about how to get through the challenges we have faced as a family the last 5 years with our ADHD son. And all the doubt that such a diagnosis and disability even exist has blown our minds and paralized our hearts. Its like people look at you as if to say your child really isnt special needs and when you try to connect with families of children with other disabilities you get a sense that your disability is not as bad therefore you couldnt possibly understand the struggles. Im thankful for your Blog on this subject Beth because it has started a network of women that I believe will be able to pray for one another and at least have a little peace knowing that there are other believers out there facing the same daily challenges. God Bless each of you and your precious children, young and old.

  39. 39
    Katie says:

    It is all I can do not to run right over to LPM and give you a huge hug for this!

    My sister and I both deal with these “hidden disabilities” and as a result God has given me a heart for others who are struggling.

    Just this Monday I asked God to show me how I could be a blessing to a friend who has a child with a “hidden disability.” Not knowing where she is spiritually, I confessed to God that I was scared to invite her to church because I was worried that her child might be judged or misunderstood. It kills me to say that, but God desires us to share our heart with him, right? I told God that I was willing to be a conduit and share whatever message He wanted me to share.

    Well, when I saw this post and looked at the website I heard God say to me-this is an answer to your prayer! You must share this with your friend. It will encourage her and I will make myself known to her!

    I just finished writing my friend and sharing the website. I was able to tell her about how God has helped me through the struggle with my own “hidden disability” and how He desires to be her comfort.

    Thank you so much Beth! I just can’t say thank you enough!

  40. 40
    Momma Foster says:

    Thanks for the resource! I am sure it will be helpful to me and my family.

  41. 41
    Anonymous says:

    Thank you for going out on a limb and doing something you might not normally do.

    This was for me.

    We are struggling with our child’s hidden disability. Pray for my child. The enemy is having a field day.

  42. 42
    Theresa says:

    Beth, thank you for stepping out in faith and recommending this site for those who so desperately need help, guidance and direction. I am passing along your post to a dear friend of mine.

    Thanks for the LPM team for the spirals. I received mine in the mail shortly after getting home from our Christmas vacation. I ordered two. I did scripture memorization in 2009 with y’all and fell short…September 15th my last entry. I knew this time I would need an accountability partner. Hence the order for a second spiral. My good friend is joining me this year and we are both excited. I wrapped up the spiral to take over on New Year’s Eve to put in her mailbox as a surprise for New Years day morning. My two boys (19 & 22) asked me what I was doing and I told them and they were so genuinely excited because they knew that I had fell behind last time. They said that they wanted to drive over with me to get it in the mailbox to support us as they were confident that with each other we would see this thing through! Ha-le-lu-jah! A little accountability, support and encouragement all over this year! My friend loved her “happy” and we are so excited to do this thing!
    I so appreciate you, your ministry and your team!

  43. 43
    KaRetha says:

    Thank you. This website is very much needed.

  44. 44
    Selina says:

    I have worked with children with disabilities and their families for 15 years. I can tell you that “support” is very important.These children often realize that they are “different” somehow which makes the strain even worse for them. They don’t understand why and their parents have often questioned why this has happened to them.It is also very important to be patient with these children. They can pick up on it when someone doesn’t want to help them and believe me when I say, it has a lasting impact. These children are not to blame but sadly, some are treated as though they are. I love being there for both the children and their families. It blesses me to help them in any way I can. Thanks for touching on this subject.

  45. 45
    Peggy says:

    Beth, Shannon asked me be one of her bloggers for ChosenFamilies as a Believer and parent of a 16 year-old boy with HFA (High Functioning Autism), diagnosed at age 4, so hubby and I have been on this road a long time. It is obvious by the responses posted so far today that this is a painful and timely issue. Thank you for listening to the promptings of the Spirit to do something you don’t normally do. I was particularly touched by “Amazed by Grace” who said, “If it was ONLY for me, it was worth it!” Hugs, everyone.

  46. 46
    CJ says:

    A local church has an Autism (Special Friends) Ministry which includes the following…..
    * During 9:30 a.m. worship service to allow parents to attend the Worship Service or Life Groups.
    * Teachers are well-trained and educated in ministering to children with Autism.
    * Ratio in the class is 1 teacher to 1 child.
    * Curriculum is taught to the children in a way that ministers to their specific needs.
    * A special Vacation Bible School is offered during the summer.

    I can’t even begin to express the joy of seeing these special needs kids enjoy singing hymns and hearing about Jesus….OH and praying. They do snacks, crafts and big group time. It has been an amazing experience to witness the impact of this ministry to these Special Friends and their parents. It started because a grandmother wanted her autistic grandson to feel welcome at church and have the privilege of hearing about Jesus. It has grown to more than 50 Special Friends attending church and vacation bible school now. It is an interdenominational ministry at a baptist church, so all are welcome and many faiths/denominations are represented.

    The need is huge…the numbers are growing every year…it does not discriminate…the only help most parents get is from support groups.

    Another blog readers might be interested in is http://myfivemen.blogspot.com/ …this is a mother of autistic triplets!

    • 46.1

      Where is this church located? We’ve tried and failed VBS 4 times at our home church. My daughter asks to go because it’s hyped up to be fun, and she so loves Jesus. After 3 summers of having to withdraw her along about Tuesday of the week, I just tell her no.

      It would be awesome to find a VBS that she will thrive in!

      Candi Dickerson
      [email protected]

      Thank you!

  47. 47

    Thank you for posting this Beth!

    When I am done with school I fully intend on helping people through the emotions of having a loved one diagnosed with a hidden disability. My heart goes out to anyone having to parent their precious child through any of these obstacles. I can’t wait to offer hope in Christ, that their child has a destiny in Him. After reading the comments, I’ve decided to help people in the church as much as possible. Every person is precious, and deserves love.

    Thanks again,

  48. 48
    Jennifer says:


    Thank you, Beth, for going out on a limb with this post – it was time well spent in writing it. I’m sure that everyone found themselves greatly encouraged by your kind words, as well as the comments of those who have posted here.

    While I know this discussion is for those with neurological challenges, I’d still like to thank you, Beth, for making it possible for women like myself, with the hidden disability of being deaf and hard of hearing, to be a part of your Bible studies. It’s a HUGE benefit to have subtitles included on your DVDs so we can follow along and for ensuring that there is sign language interpretation as well. That’s a big blessing for us – thank you!

  49. 49

    I agree that the churches don’t know how
    to handle “hidden disabilities”- but I also think
    they just can become burnt out from trying
    to help someone cope with it.
    As someone who has a family full of them,
    I have just found that I had to look beyond what
    others would say from the church who just would say
    “oh just pray for her, or for God to help you with this.”
    And while prayer is key to everything, I can say
    that sometimes we just can’t pray. That’s the honest
    The thing I will say is that the church does mean well,
    but just like this ministry and many others there is
    only so much that a ministry can do.

    I will say that support systems are best, and if
    people would stop picking and choosing who
    can help them, there would be more healing then
    they know. God places everyone in our lives for
    a reason, and support systems are not one-sided…
    ” we all need somebody to lean on:)”

    Thank you for sharing this site:)

    • 49.1

      Oh and awesome about the spirals:)
      Ive got my little photo album that still has
      2009 SSMT in it:) (ah memories)
      My friend from church is memorizing with me.
      One verse I choose the other will be from
      childrens church 😉

  50. 50
    Melissa Thacker says:

    I cannot wait to check this out. I work with many families ( as an Occupational Therapy Asst.) that culd benefit from a resource such as this. Their heartache is beyond words at times. Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

To receive a daily digest of comments on this post, enter your email address below: