I admit it.
I fell to the floor beside our bed.
My body heaved with the weight of my sorrow.
However, I didn’t want my children to hear me cry this hard for this long. Before I even entered John’s and my bedroom, I had made sure our door was closed and that every wail was directed to the floor.
Because, every tear I shed was for my children.
Before returning home, I had spent the morning with someone who after listening to me share about my children’s needs, decided to ask me this question:
“What’s the endpoint for your children’s education? Certainly you see that they don’t need any more geography, or history or health, or academic learning for that matter, but rather they need more functional living skills.”
In other words, there was no need for them to be home-schooled and what I had been doing with our boys for the past seven years was irrelevant to their current and future needs. To be frank, this person inferred that my children were incapable of making any further academic progress and every effort now should be focused upon developing, improving, and enhancing their life skills.
Now, why I allowed a person who I had only just met and who had only observed my children for less than 30 minutes to slay me, I can’t really say.
However, her words pierced a particularly vulnerable area of my heart and mind. Because, there is hardly a day that I don’t I ask myself, “Am I doing enough for my kids? Is home-schooling the best option for them? Is there anything more I can do to help our boys become independent, functional, joy-filled and content young men who are able to make it in this world?”
To say that my children have learned enough?
To say that my children are incapable of learning anything more?
To say that my children have only one option in life?
To say that my children have no potential?
To say that what I’ve been doing with and for my children for the past seven years didn’t matter?
It really hurt.
Honestly, what would happen if I believed this person and acted on their words?
What if I allowed their 30-minute observations and conclusions to dictate our family’s lives?
Then, after only two weeks of learning in their first year of high school, Jubilant Academy would close its doors to my children. Forever.
Yes, I cried. And yes, I cried hard.
And yes, my husband came into our room to console me, to encourage me, and to challenge me to disregard this person’s words and instead focus on the words and support of others who know our children and love them.
And gratefully, a friend called to hear about my morning too. She affirmed me in our educational choice for Jake and Caleb. Both my friend and my husband rallied me.
So, gratefully, I now have my ‘game-face’ back on!
Of course, my children are deserving of a high school education.
Of course, my children must work hard to achieve what they do and yes, I must modify and adapt and reinforce and repeat and support as necessary. Over and over and over again.
But I will do it.
Just because they are autistic, just because they have learning disabilities, just because they are anxious does not mean that they cannot learn!
Who is to say what the future holds for my children?
Only their God.
In Jeremiah, it is the Lord that says:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
New Living Translation, Jeremiah 29:11
And regarding today’s ‘endpoint’ enquiry?
Here is how the Lord answers:
“For I know the thoughts that I think concerning Jake and Caleb, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give them the end that Jake and Caleb wait for.”
Jubilee Bible 2000, Jeremiah 29:11
Honestly, we are doing the best we can for our special needs kids and we are not about to deny them the opportunity to grow, to learn, and to thrive in life because of their observable weaknesses.
Our time together in the Jubilant Academy each day is not a waste of effort, energy or resources.
Our time together is a gift.
Friends, have you ever let a stranger’s words slay you to the core of your being?
Have you ever been laid low by discouraging, disheartening words by someone who didn’t really know you and who didn’t really care?
Have you ever cried so hard that your eyes still stung long after the last tear fell?
That was me today.
I experienced an attack against my convictions to educate my children. It was devastating. Special needs parents hear some of the hardest and most difficult things about their kids from others.
But I remain resolved to keep moving forward for the benefit of my children because they are worthy of the opportunity.
Friends, it’s an incredible privilege to serve my children and educate them. It’s also the most challenging thing I do as well. I am so grateful to have so many supporting me in this effort. Thank you.
As I started to make dinner tonight, the following song began to play by Tenth Avenue North entitled “Fighting for You.” What a great word for me today. My Lord will never stop fighting for my children and their future is bright.
I’m holding on to that.
Take a listen….