Today I want to share something I don’t talk about often…
In 2014, while attending Pre-K, Avery’s teacher approached me about concerns regarding his behavior. I’ll never forget the day she handed me that glossy pamphlet with three words written boldly across the top: Sensory Processing Disorder. I cried. It’s hard to hear there’s something “wrong” with your child.
Avery was tested and diagnosed, an IEP was made, and strategies were put into place to ensure that he would be given every opportunity to succeed in school, just like any “normal” child.
And succeed he did—he rocked his Kindergarten and first grade years, thanks to coping techniques and some absolutely incredible teachers who adored Avery, and possessed a truck-load of patience.
But last year something happened. Suddenly tears were the norm. Behavior notes were sent home nearly every day. Every afternoon the bus would arrive and off it Avery would come, shoulders slumped and face downtrodden. I scheduled a meeting with his teachers to see how we could work together to remedy the situation and re-light his passion for learning. Sadly, the year didn’t get any better.
A major house disaster (a water pipe leak) occurred, requiring nearly all of our attention until everything settled in the spring. At that point, I wrote 2nd grade off as a fluke and prayed for a better following year.
But 3rd grade didn’t bring any relief. In fact, it brought more notes, more tears, and a lot more frustration. I’m not sure when the breaking point happened, but the Mama Bear in me stood on her two legs and let out a mighty roar--“Enough!”
I have a terrible habit of fighting battles in my own strength, forgetting the Mighty God I have on my side. But this time I knew the battle was greater. It was, and is, a fight for my son’s life—his potential, his dreams, and his future.
After reaching out to set up a meeting with Avery’s teachers, I called in the troops—my small group, my tribe. As I brought my pain out into the open, they surrounded me with understanding, wisdom, and prayer, making me wonder why I had waited so long.
We’ve been studying “Finding I Am”, by Lysa TerKeurst, about the “I Am” statements of Jesus. The second week focused on Jesus’ statement, “I am the Light of the World”. I was encouraged to pray and ask God to shine His light on several discouraging situations in my life, and revive my hope. I unpacked my cares before God, one by one, including Avery.
I have to admit, I didn’t see any light that day, or the next day, or the next day. With the IEP meeting looming on the horizon, I felt led to reach out via e-mail to clarify a few items I knew I wanted to address. Afterward, I got caught up in the frenzy of the kids returning home from school, getting dinner on the table and a small group event, and missed a call from the school.
The next morning I awoke, groggy, to a message:
“Hi Miss Gibson. I just wanted to let you know I received your e-mail. I looked in the system and do realize he was probably tested back in 2014, but we don’t have anything from Cherokee County. If you have anything regarding evaluations at home you could share with us…”
There it was: the light. Shining on a massive disconnect that was causing all of the trouble beneath the surface, much like our recent house disaster.
His records never made it to 2nd and, subsequently, 3rd grade. They had no insight to the original diagnosis.
Here I’ve been, wondering where the help went, and there they’ve been not understanding the extent of Avery’s impairment.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, and honestly I did both. Hope-filled drops of relief fell from my eyes.
The dark and daunting road ahead suddenly seemed doable.
One light. Brought by one compassionate God who stooped low to show He is still there, and He cares.
In the darkness, in my fear, I assumed the worst. I made accusations of others and allowed my mind to wander to worst-case scenario.
What if I’m just a bad parent?
What if his teachers simply don’t like him?
What if things don’t get better and we have to homeschool?
Everything is scarier in the dark.
But in the light, I gained understanding and was able to process the situation from a corrected perspective--
I’m a good mom who doesn’t have all the answers, but I’m seeking the best for my child.
Avery's teachers like him and are for him, but were working based off of limited information.
Avery has proven that he can succeed, in the past, and he will overcome this again.
I can now walk into that IEP meeting tomorrow with God's assurances, instead of my own shaky assumptions.
I share all of this to say I don’t know what situation you’re facing today--
That problem that haunts you in the night,
That person you’ve been praying for to no avail,
The dreams you were so passionate about that are now dashed and lying in pieces.
But I do know that God is light. When we invite Him into our dark situations, He is able to dispel the fear, anxiety and hopelessness that consume us. His light allows us to see that He is working on our behalf.
God doesn’t ask us to try harder or have all the answers. He desires only that we would call on Him and take one step at a time, as he lights the way.
Ask Him, today to shine a light in your dark place. Lean on Him for strength. Allow His proven character to be your very hope. He is faithful.
There is no person too far gone from His reach.
There is no problem too hard.
There is no place where He cannot shine His light.
9/22/2017 06:54:53 am
Katie, I was moved with tears streaming down face as I read you poignant and hope-filled words. I loved your metaphor about the mama bear, and it made me think of my own fight to protect Georgia from the one who wants to destroy her. May you continue to receive the Lord's wisdom, hope and victory. I love you.
9/22/2017 11:14:37 am
Thank you for sharing this, we all need to be reminded God is our answer and we should pray and ask for his help.i loved seeing you everyday at preschool. You are blessing to me.
11/1/2017 09:48:17 pm
Katie, this is exactly what I needed tonight. We don't have an IEP, we are caught up in the legal system and I am watching my kids slip away. I read this with the same peace and hope that filled me every M/W/F from Rooted Moms. So, so glad we connected - it was not by accident. Praying for you friend and your sweet Avery. We have a good, good Father.
8/20/2018 08:49:16 pm
I really admire you for being so courageous. On how you turn your hardship as a parent into a blessing of strength and hope to your family and everyone around you. You are a great inspiration to others who seems to dwell on nothing but negativity when problems arise in their lives. You taught us to look in every aspect there is in every situation and not just to close our minds on doubts. And most of all you taught us how God never ceases to love us and help us carry all our burdens with faith.
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A little about me...
Hi, I'm Katie!
Wife to Craig, mom of three, author, writer, Rooted Moms founder, Jesus-follower, Bible teacher, and coffee enthusiast.
Follow me as I follow Christ and share my heart throughout the journey.