Finding Hope in a Roomful of Pain

Gold Brush Stroke

We all experience it. Suffering, brokenness, heartache. None of us escape this world without some hurt in our lives.

For parents of children with special needs, the pain is accentuated. It often lasts a lifetime as the parents struggle to understand and embrace their children and give them every opportunity at life.

So you would think a gathering of such parents would be depressing. But the reality is it is anything but.

in pain is hope

Sure there is sorrow as a stressed dad grapples with whether his child will ever live independently. Certainly there is a sense of heaviness as a weary mom relates her despair. Of course my heart grieves when a parent cries out for answers. 

But that’s only part of the story.

The best part comes as we share our deepest hurts and our most joyous moments.

The best part is found in the intensity of our love for our children.

The best part is found in the shared understanding and the deep empathy between parents.

The best part is the sense of connection we all feel with each other and the support offered.

An intense love and acceptance bonds us all together.

As I encourage and network with moms and dads at the Iowa Parents as Presenters workshop (an event to equip parents of children with different abilities with the why and how of sharing their stories and the stories of their children) for perhaps the fourth year, I’m struck anew by the bond strangers can have with each other through their children.

Add in those children’s physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities and the heart connection begins in earnest.

As we discuss the initial dreams we had for our children and how those dreams were shattered and reformed a bit differently,… as we wipe the tears from our cheeks and regain our composure,… as we tell, with shining eyes, about our kiddo’s first step or her breakthrough in ingesting food for the first time, the room fills with hope.

And my heart swells with joy.

Because I know, just like our pain is accentuating when it involves our children, the joy on the other side is accentuated as well. 

Because I know, pain drives us to seek answers, and in Jesus Christ are those answers.

Because I know, in Christ, our suffering is redeemed. 

Because I know, in a roomful of pain swirls a roomful of hope just waiting to be grasped. 

In a roomful of pain swirls a roomful of hope just waiting to be grasped. Share on X

And as I share my story of God’s transforming work in my life through my daughter, I offer these fellow journeyers that hope and joy.

As we share our stories of God's transforming work in our lives, we offer others that same hope and joy. Share on X

I don’t know how long I’ll continue helping with this workshop, but I do know my heart will always hold the sweetness of parents loving parents through their deepest pain.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Reflection: How have you been able to encourage others in their pain? 

By His Grace,



  1. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) on September 29, 2014 at 7:46 am

    When our son was in the hospital when he was 13, a little girl in a room across the hall got our attention. She had a heart condtion. We were there in July. When we went back in November for OP treatment (getting a leg cast removed,) we saw them outside. She and her mother had taken a walk. They were going to Mayo Clinic that next week. I remember asking for their home address. The mother gave it to me. Gettig closer to Christmas, I had that child on my mind. I sent the family a Christmas card. A week or so went by, I received an answer to my reaching out. In my card, I said,”I hope all is going well for you.” The card I received told me this little girl had passed away on the operating table. The mother said in the note that her daughter had told them she wouldn’t make it. It’s sort of a sad story. But the mother found the strength to let me know.

    • Julie Sunne on September 29, 2014 at 8:51 am

      And you encouraged her with your love and concern, Cecelia.

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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