Monday, August 24, 2015

Back to School: Light in the Darkness

"No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light." Luke 11:33 NIV

We have moved a few times in the last few years. That is not the easiest task with children who are settled in school. It can be especially tricky when one of those children has Autism and, you know where I'm going with this, they thrive on structure, stability...routine.

When I say we moved I mean we moved to different states, no tiny task. So there was much to learn and new systems to navigate, stress was bountiful in our family. We survived, and through the grace of God, I feel comfortable in saying that my children are stronger because of it. We have learned lessons and grown our faith and world views in ways that could only be accomplished through a little struggle and pain. Sometimes you just have to step out of your bubble. One of the most amazing things in all of this was and is, to see my children recognize this.

They have by no means "seen it all" but they have seen a lot and for this, even through all of the tears, I am thankful.

I like to think of them as light shining in a dark world. I pray that we have, and will continue to implant the words they need in their hearts.

"You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 11:19 ESV

My son Cooper, his light is not diminished by his autism, if anything it is one of the brightest lights that I have seen.

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." John 9:2 NIV

When we made our last move we walked into a less than ideal school situation. Cooper, by the very nature of who he is, needs and thrives on consistency and routine. He really does like to learn, he can and has made great academic progress over the years. Unfortunately, he found himself in a classroom that was not really set up for, or focused on any of his needs. Sometimes even in a "special ed" classroom our children are still the proverbial square pegs being hammered into round holes.

While he may not be able to verbally communicate his thoughts and feelings about the lack of structure, routine and instruction in a classroom, He has his own unique way of shining a light on a dark situation.

"No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light." Luke 11:33 NIV

And shine his light he did, he attracted attention far and wide.

Sometimes bright lights can stun and temporarily blind you. I think this happened to everyone involved in our situation. It's not very often things are so glaringly illuminated that there is simply no denying their existence.

The great thing is, once it's all plainly in view, you can deal with the truth and get down to work. It was not an easy experience for any involved that year. My husband and I found ourselves sitting in a meeting one day and it was getting a little tense. I will admit I can be blunt at times and I have little patience for someone who can not follow a plan that was painstakingly put together...but my husband, he stopped us all.

In the middle of a meeting he stopped us all to explain something. He explained that Cooper had been through a lot with our moves and he went on to explain what he prayed for Cooper...

He prayed that in everything Cooper was going through, there was a purpose, that God would use him. He believed that Cooper was exactly where he was supposed to be in that classroom, and that God was using him to bring to light a situation that needed attention.

There is nothing like a God moment in an IEP meeting.

So as our children step back into the routine of school I pray...

Dear Heavenly Father please continue to hold our children in your hand. Father, comfort and remind our hearts when we see them in situations and we let fear creep in that maybe you have forgotten them. Strengthen our resolve to plant those light shining seeds in their hearts and equip them to step out into a world that needs them to illuminate a path to You.

Beth Clay


  1. Perfect timing to read this article. I absolutely LOVE the closing prayer. I am going to write it on a recipe card to keep with me this school year.

    1. Thank you Susan I am so glad you found it useful. I actually started out writing something totally different for this post...then this just sort of came out. So I prayed they were words someone needed to hear.

  2. A friend of mine shared this post wth me after I had posted about my disappointing experience for my kindergarten son in his special needs class. Thank you for the encouraging words and to remind us of Gods word even in our "special needs" situation.

    1. Thank you! I finished my day yesterday truly doubting if writing and sharing our story even mattered, not this post in particular, but in general. I have always said if what I write helps just one person, then I will write...I had to smile when I read your comment. I am so grateful that my words were comforting to you. I also want you to know how helpful your words are to me. God is good to give us a community where we can help each other when we need it! Hang in there with school it can be trying but the hard work can also make a difference for a lot of children.