Friday, October 28, 2016

One Good Year

I wanted it. I wanted it for him and I wanted it for me. I prayed for it repeatedly and relentlessly.

"One good year, please God...just one good year."
Cooper looking out at Lake Erie.
The truth is, where we were at the time, I honestly had no clear vision of what exactly a "good year looked like". I just knew, as far as school was concerned, he had never had one. My son had definitely had some years that were okay for our circumstances,  he was absolutely in the presence of people who I have no doubt loved him and cared about him...and for that, I am eternally grateful.

I would be remiss, however, if I did not very clearly state; they had no idea how to teach him, none.

The few who wanted to attempt to figure it out, well they were equally stuck, embedded in a school system perpetually glued to the thinking; Special Education students are nothing more than props to be hauled out for cute stories and photo opportunities. The desire to truly educate and prepare them to be contributing members of the community simply did not exist.

In their eyes, and more importantly in their actions, they proved over and over again they saw no value in the education of my son or those like him.

I know I need not remind most of you reading this that every life created, no matter how "defective" it may appear to the world we live in, has not only value...but God designed purpose. God created them, they are..."Fearfully and Wonderfully made!" But oh I know too well, most of the time, that is so hard for the world to see.

It is often, hard for us to see.

The world may just see what they feel is broken, or defective, they may say there is "something wrong" and think a child is simply, "not good enough". And as parents, that is almost unbearable to hear; it is hard to know, that our children are looked at and thought of this way.

We look at our children, who have arrived on this planet in some unique, intriguing and challenging packages and WE LOVE. It's what we do, it's who we are. Because of this, we want it all for them, and we want no hurt, no pain, no heartache.

We were created for heartache, and it is not an easy road.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18 NIV

Our children are created with a God-designed purpose, and that is the thing that heals the heart. It's indescribably difficult to know your child will suffer, will hurt, will live and die in a world that will never truly see them and value them the way we do, the way God does.

How can God do this?

The Bible clearly tells us that every life is carefully crafted by God.

Every Life...

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
 I know that full well."
Psalm 139: 13-14 NIV

And when we ask why...
"Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."
John 9:3 KJV

We are also told...
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:9 NIV

I wanted a good year for my son, and I wanted it right then. I wanted them to see what I saw, and believe what I believed. I wanted them to help him, to teach him, to value his education. It just was not happening.

Eventually, I was exhausted. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually...I was completely drained.

I will never forget the morning I stood in that shower and desperately cried out to God with what little I had left, "Where are You? You are supposed to be here. I am all alone and You are supposed to help me. You are supposed to help my son! I don't know what to do anymore, just please...please help me."

I asked God to just point me in the right direction and whatever that path was I would go and fight and not ever give up.  

It wasn't long after that, my husband came home and informed me he had been given a promotion at work and we would need to move to another state. Moving was something that I had never wanted to do, in fact, it was often a source of great conflict in our marriage. I think this was one of the first and most memorable times that I can truly say I felt the peace of God surround me. I knew when I heard those words from my husband that God was there.

So we went.

I was reminded of this story recently while I was talking to a new friend, I shared with her how the timing of God's plan didn't match up with what I wanted, but how incredible it was to see Him answer that prayer I had, for "one good year". I am so thankful for that, for my son.

I am equally thankful for that one year we spent in Ohio, for myself.

The effects of that one year we spent in Ohio are far reaching and life changing. My son made more progress in one year in that school environment than he had in all his other years combined. It was truly amazing to see him progress, and the proof of his ability to learn and thrive given an appropriate setting and proven teaching methods has turned out to be invaluable in our current location.

I had a year hidden, and I was able to rest in many ways that were so very much needed. That year also brought with it a growth in faith that I feel safe to say could have been accomplished, no other way. 

I know many of you reading this may think, "Well great, this is all tied up in a neat little package and God answered your prayer, but I and my family are still struggling. God hasn't answered our prayers."

I want you to know this, there are many of us out here who really do understand how hard it is to wait and trust in God's timing. I hope, by sharing  our story, you can see that even though it took many difficult years God was faithful to answer the prayers of a mother. I hope you find comfort in seeing where he moved to provide what was needed in our lives. Because I know from experience, when you are exhausted and in the middle of heartache, it is hard to see that God is with you.

I am praying for you today.

Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you with the heart of a parent, a heart that is breaking with the struggles of our children and our families. God, I know that You hold the deepest understanding of what it is like to see your child suffer and hurt. I also know, for that reason you walk close beside us every step of this journey. So I pray, please cover those parents who are tired and worn, those who are unsure and scared, God cover them with Your peace in a way that even through the most desperate of times, they feel Your presence and never take their eyes off of Your hope. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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