Shawna Wingert
About the Author

Shawna loves Jesus, her handsome husband and her two, uniquely challenged little boys. She finds herself daily, required to live beyond the limits of herself and serve a wonderfully complex family. She also finds herself daily, grateful that the Lord covers her failing to do so. She blogs about the...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
Recent Posts

Reader Interactions


    • Right? It’s amazing to me how quickly they can take a feeling of completely overwhelmed and desperate and turn it into fun, laughter and love. I am so glad you have found good friends. I know you know how much of a gift that is!

  1. I relate,been thru a painful divorce,and finding other women in the same situation,even a military chaplain,has been like the person who pulls me up out of the water when I couldn’t make it.

  2. Love this post. The oldest of our four, our 28 year old son, was born with Down Syndrome. I have a great husband, but my girlfriends…have been a life-line for me. Right now, we are in what I call the “years of blessing.” We’ve had hard years of struggles and are now having fun and easier days. We are resting in these days because we know there are more hard ones ahead. My friends have been there at every stage. So thankful for God’s grace and provision.

  3. Friends are medicine for the soul. I am glad you have some good ones. I am still praying for some since I’m in need. It takes a while to build friendships after having moved across the ocean, it takes time which hurts at times. Now I have just turned it into a prayer request 😉

  4. The synchronized swimming picture? Made. My. Day. And your words, Shawna? So real, so true. Whatever our age or stage or circumstances, we need other women to keep us breathing. Thanks for the wonderful reminder.

  5. Oh, my word. They synchronized swimming. That your friends were even IN the pool, shows that they are truest of trues.

    I loved how you said, ” Not one of them knows what it is like to live in these circumstances. Not one of them is sure how to help or what to say.”
    You let them be the hands and feet of Christ to you. The feet that travel TO you, the hands that FEED you the chocolate. Your vulnerability to allow this is what brings grace.

    I also have a daughter with Down Syndrome…she is 20 now and every day I’m still learning these lessons you have so beautifully written!

  6. Not one of them knows what it is like to live in these circumstances. Not one of them is sure how to help or what to say.

    It doesn’t matter.

    This is such a true statement!! What matters is that they continue to show up. I live with chronic illness which makes life difficult, but having friends who continue to reach out to me, let’s me know that I am not on this journey alone, and for that I am so grateful.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. We have an almost identical one. As grandparents we hurt on two levels for our adult children and for our grandsons. Friends are vital for listening ears, hugs, for reminding us that God knows and cares.
    Our daughter inlaw is planning a getaway with three other Moms of special needs children. Just the thought of flying without children (for one mom it has been seven years since she had done so) brings excitement. Thank you to all you friends who offer your hearts and caring to these Moms.

  8. I am now 51 years old and have a beautiful daughter who is 22. I remember sitting through a long exhausting day at the University of Michigan watching my daughter going through a grueling day of testing for Autism. My husband and I both felt that the news would not be what we wanted to hear. After 8 hours the team of doctors finally called us in to tell us that our daughter had Autism. I remember feeling angry, numb and then asking The Lord to heal my daughter in the car on the way home. I spent my days going through speech therapy, sensory integration and parent classes along with special vitamins to help her focus a bit more. I knew that God had spoken to me that our daughter would be healed by age 13. We believed God, did what He said and waited. Finally, after many years of tears, frustration and occasional doubt she was healed. God gave us the daily strength to cope with what he had given us. Our daughter is now out living on her own as a fully functioning adult.
    I want to emphasize that while sometimes God heals instantaneously, this was a long process. Both my husband and I grew in The Lord and I wouldn’t trade any of it, the bible says His mercies are new every morning and that He will never leave us or forsake us. Both of these are promises. God gives us what we need every moment of every day and we become more intimate with Him the more we spend time with Him. For anyone out there who needs strength or who thinks they can’t make it, God is there for you right now. Just go to Him and begin talking to Him and ask. He is our strength and refuge in times of trouble.

  9. Such a beautiful post. And such a testimony to your generous and gracious heart, how you reply to every comment. I don’t know you of course, but I suspect if we asked those friends of yours they’d say that you bless them too. Thank you for your vulnerability. And I am so glad for you, to have these friends in the midst of such grueling pain. I know that feeling, like life is a lead weight you don’t know how to carry anymore even though you want to. The desperation and helplessness. How do I help my child? How do I help myself? to be alone on it…I don’t know how anyone could. But praise Jesus He is here, and He has these wonderful hands and feet in our lives. Bless you Shawna! The best is yet to come…

    • You are so, so sweet, Jenn. Thank you so much. Your encouragement and grace-filled words are so much appreciated (and I LOVE being able to comment as much as possible…it is such an honor to even be in this position and able to communicate with other women about “real” things).

  10. This is a lovely, encouraging post. I only have one friend like this right now – but she is worth more than gold! I have a son with cerebral palsy and sensory issues, and I am currently dealing with a chronic health condition – so I know very well that feeling of almost drowning. I’m in a season where I don’t have lots of girlfriends, because I don’t have the ability to maintain a lot of friendships right now – but I do have one who is truly a kindred spirit. She is my heart sister and such a gift from God. Thanks for reminding me of one of the blessings in my life right now. 🙂

  11. You are just beautiful, sweet girl. You reach down deep and open up your very soul in the midst of rough patches, messy days. Psalm 50:2 I trembled sitting at Scottish Rite Hospital waiting for a grim diagnosis on one of my kids. But way more than all the medical reports is your beautiful calling—yes, called out of all the moms in the world. They are yours, alone. The only ones who can call you momma! And you’re doing it good as gold. Offering life! Because you are alive! And I Samuel 30:6 is your mantra, finding your Strength in God. And He is turning these dark moments into light opportunities—pun intended! 2 Samuel 22:29. Of all people, you hear “a sheer sound of silence” in your called days. I Kings 19:12. You are a grasped person!

    • “Way more beautiful than all the medical reports is your beautiful calling – yes, called out of all the moms in the world.” Oh, you made my day Bev. Thank you so much for the encouragement and the reminder that in it all, He has us.

  12. It’s tough. Been through this when our grandsons we diagnosed as well but you know what. We serve a God who heals. In HIS time. In His ways and it took us all of our strength but we got through it and with all the reading and writing and focusing on Maths and taking him out and showing him things to know them …… he got through it. Still a bit slow but doing good. Think the Maths is finally coming along as well. It takes years of prayers together and teaching a child how to pray for himself. After all God hears all our prayers and answers them. It just takes pure work. Hard work.

    • It does take so much hard work, and I am finding that in the work, I learn so much about them and about myself. None of it goes to waste – God uses it all. The good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly – He uses it all to bless me and grow me and love me. I am sure you are finding the same as well.
      Thank you so much for sharing your story. Praying for you and your grandsons this morning.

  13. I also am blessed to have similar lady friends, we call each other sisters, and they are a wonderful gift from God doing just what your friends do for you. I really proved this when I suddenly and tragically lost my first-born in an accident. I guess the song, ‘That’s what friends are for’ reiterates this. And your boys, they are a precious gift from God and He has a special plan for their lives. So trust Him and seek His guidance and help. All will work for your and their good. Romans 8:28.

    • Oh, Joy. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. My momma’s heart aches for you. And, I am so relieved that you are so obviously in God’s care and in the care of loving friends. EXACTLY where we all need to be, no matter our circumstances.
      Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement I am deeply touched.

  14. My son was diagnosed with autism at age 2 1/2. When the hospital (we went twice a week for 6 wks) gave me the 16 pages of forms and history. etc. to complete at the beginning of the process, the last question was “What are you most afraid is your child’s problem?” some kind of autism. BAM
    I learned the education tester thought him unable to learn. He’s now 29, has been bathed in prayer for years and he’s high functioning now. He had 37 voices in his head we learned when, at 14 he tried to hang himself from a curtain rod with a scarf. 37!!! Obviously he’d had them, increasing in number, until he couldn’t resist anymore. He fell in a heap on the floor, crying, “I’m sorry, Mommy, the voices made me do it.” Talk about a punch in the gut. He has schizoaffective disorder also now. He’s in a schizophrenia rehabilitation intensive outpatient program now. He’s also had visual hallucinations. I know that “air sucked out of the room” feeling well. You’ve got another friend. And you’ve got my email address 🙂
    We didn’t learn our daughter had ADHD till 2nd grade. She started meds in 6th grade when she started middle school. changing classes. lockers. too much. It didn’t take long before she started having psychiatric symptoms, including cutting. She’s now 30. It turned out she had bipolar disorder. She was bullied horribly in school and we had our hands fuller. I’d tried to talk her into private Christian school for years and the end of 8th grade, she said if she went to public high school she’d be dead in a year; by her peers’ hands or her own. She went into a Christian school well beyond our means, but with His miracles we did it. She finished a pagan.
    God has carried us through. and He’ll carry you too.

  15. Thank you so much for being honest and vulnerable about how much of this is out of our control. You are a wonderful example of letting God lead, in your life and in the lives of your children.
    I really, really appreciate the encouragement and example.

  16. I am not a mother nor have I ever been, but I get your story. I have rough years and this one takes the cake. My aging dad moved into assisted living, then has been in hospital twice & done rehab. WHEW! It is so nice to pick up the phone and talk to someone who understands and is there for you.

    Now she is going through a rough patch with her parents and we lament together! I wouldn’t trade our friendship for any thing!!

    Blessings 🙂

  17. Beautifully put… Remember… We have been called into the kingdom for such a time as this one. You may have the hands (typing…lol), but we have the ears. If we do not work together, none of us succeed the way the kingdom needs us to. Jesus bless you and your family. I will be praying for your family earnestly!