Joni and Friends Blog
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada, and Father’s Day is coming up! And I’ve asked my friend and coworker Shauna Amick to share a bit about her husband, Steve, and his journey as the father of their special needs daughter. Shauna, your daughter Sarah certainly deals with plenty of challenges and you’ve shared a couple of stories about your relationship with her. But you haven’t talked much about your husband. What about Steve? As Sarah’s dad, what’s their relationship like?
SHAUNA: Oh, Joni, it is so special! I’ll tell you that Steve is certainly the apple of Sarah’s eye! (JONI: Fun) You know, um, if something exciting happens at school, daddy is the first one she wants to tell. When I do her hair extra special, she just can’t wait to run out of the bathroom and go point to her hair and say “Daddy, look!” She just wants him to celebrate all those specials times in her life. (JONI: Wow!) I understand why it’s so special because Steve truly pours out his heart to her as the co-caregiver. He and I care for her equally. And so, as he is pouring out his heart to his daughter, she is really seeing this guy is crazy about me. I see it in so many ways, and almost every day it reminds me of that moment when we received Sarah’s diagnosis, when she was even still in the womb. And you know, after we heard that, Steve was silent for almost 2 hours. He said nothing. Now, he’s an introvert, but still, that was too long for me and I finally said, “Can you just share something? Can you say something? Cuz I need to hear from you.”
JONI: ‘Cause the doctor said you’d bear a child, you’re bearing a child with Down syndrome, right?
SHAUNA: That’s right. Down syndrome, heart defect, a whole slew of other genetic abnormalities that we could see through ultrasound. And, um, when I couldn’t stand it anymore and I just begged him to talk to me. The first things he said was, “Who is going to take care of her when I die?” (JONI: Wow!) And you know Joni, I wish I could tell you I responded with, um, grace and that I could even hear the beauty of the father’s heart in that moment. But I will confess I was very self-centered. And in that moment, I said, “You’re worried about something that’s gonna happen, I don’t know, 30, 40…even longer…so many years into the future? What about right now? I need someone to hold me together right now.” As embarrassed as I am to tell you that’s how I responded, it didn’t take long for me to recognize the true beauty in what Steve was communicating in that moment. And in that moment, and all these years later, he has shown me the heart of our Heavenly Father, and just his care for Sarah and always thinking ahead. Who is going to be there for her? Who will take care of this little girl? Thinking more about her than of himself. And that’s why, on this Father’s Day, I say thank you to my husband and to all those special needs dads out there who show us real courage by staying, by loving and by caring for their special needs children.
JONI: And many fathers don’t. (SHAUNA: That’s right) We see that at Family Retreat, don’t we? So many special needs mothers show up and dad is absent. And if he is present in the marriage he’s home and really doesn’t want to get involved. So, I can see why you are celebrating your husband, and I tell ya, it seems as though Steve really helps showcase the attributes of our Heavenly father.
SHAUNA: That’s right.
JONI: Well, the Heavenly Father’s love gives us examples of another kind of courage. And friend, today I want you to go to joniradio.org were you can download the first chapter of the book Another Kind of Courage, written by special needs dads, for special needs dads. Read it yourself and share it with the special needs dads in your life today. Thanks for listing today on Joni and Friends.
© Joni and Friends
For parents, the realization that your child has a disability hits hard. But be encouraged – you are not alone! In Another Kind of Courage, authors Doug Mazza and Steve Bundy share their experiences as fathers of children with disability. Along with the encouragement and hope that they found in their walk with God.
In Another Kind of Courage, you will learn God’s design for fathers of families affected by disability. Mothers and wives will get a valuable look inside the heart and mind of their husband, gaining insight about his journey as the father of a child with a disability.