Friday, August 16, 2013

Here Comes School: iHOPE

The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.
~ 1 Timothy 5:5, NIV ~

As much as I am looking forward to the relief of back-to-school, I know I am really exchanging one sort of stress for another.  Do you know the type of stress I'm talking about?  It's that last-school-year-was-awful-I-hope-this-one-is-better nervous pit in the middle of your stomach.  You hold your breath as you wait to see how your child connects with their new teacher.  Will the staff comply with your child's IEP or will you be back at the table fighting over accommodations in only a few weeks?  It would be nice if at least this year they were able to encourage your child and better protect them from the awful bullies.

These are the types of thoughts that mothers like me, raising exceptional children, wrestle with as we see school approaching.  Despite our best efforts and tireless advocacy, the fact remains that there is likely little we can do to control some of the situations that frighten us the most.  Don't get me wrong.  We can hold an in-service prior to the start of school, go over our child's 504 or IEP, prepare our child in advance, and cue up all of our favorite professionals.  Yet, there will be a point where we must leave our child for the day, and trust the school staff with our loved one.  We have little control over how others will behave until we know there is a problem.

This is why it is absolutely critical that we follow the example of the widow described in 1 Timothy 5:5.  All of our hope for the new school year must rest in God.  Our peace comes in trusting Him.  He will go before, behind, and beside our child.  Our job is to pray expectantly, with perseverance, asking God for wisdom throughout the school year.  Praying for protection for our child, for wisdom and love for the school staff, for the Lord's clarity for the administrators is essential.

As we pray, we will find our activity uniting to God's purpose and activity for our child.  This will help decrease our anxiety and stabilize our emotions in dealing with any challenges that arise.  Frankly, the more we talk to God through prayer, the better we get to know Him.  And He loves when we share the deepest part of our hearts with Him.

Friend, put your hopes for your child's new school year in God alone.  As the old adage goes, "When God is all you have, you realize that God is all you need."  Just as the hopeless, lonely widow of Timothy's time only has God to cling to, so you cannot step into this new school year as the parent of a child with special needs unless you go with your Divine Helper.  My prayer for you is that this year will be one of your family's best.

PRAY:  God, we can't step into this new school year without you.  All of our hope lays in You alone.  Guide us through a good 9 month journey into productive growth and learning.  Thank You for hearing our cries for help.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think most folks get what parents go through in their interactions with the schools when a child has an emotional, behavioral or learning disability. Their treatment and support needs change depending upon the teacher's communication style, the classroom environment, the workload at any given time in a particular class as well as circumstances outside of class. They're more challenging to serve (and treat) than kids with what some might view as more serious (but more stable) disabilities. Keep educating folks, Barb!