Fighting Beyond my Tears: For my Kids

I admit it.

I sobbed.

I fell to the floor beside our bed.

And bawled.

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 hurt.

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.

No way!

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….

19 thoughts on “Fighting Beyond my Tears: For my Kids

  1. Heather, what you are doing for your children is amazing! Your love and faith in God will always push you through! People are inconsiderate and ignorant to what the love of God and family can do! Way to fight for your kids and for believing that all things are possible with GOD🙏💕

    1. Thank you so much, Rachael. I really appreciate you for taking the time to write to me and to encourage me. Really. I hope you and your precious family are doing well. Again, thank you for reaching out to me. With love, heather

  2. Oh Heather, I am so sorry to see what that lady said to you….. she must have no idea about how you are teaching and nurturing your boys every single day to be educated, loving and having those life skills too. I pray for you all and know that we here at Sunset, cherish what you, John and the boys are doing!
    In His name
    Sue Moody-Baker

    1. Thank you, Sue. I appreciate your kind and supportive words. Thank you for praying for us and standing in the gap for us in the name of our Lord and Savior.
      With love, heather

  3. Dear Heather,
    It hurts but ignore this ignorant and prejudiced person! Remember the book I sent you! Temple Gradin. She has a doctorate and teaches in a very difficult field! All kids should learn life skills, everyone needs those but God has a plan and purpose for your sons – everything is possible! Sorry this happened! Praying for you! Sondra

    1. Thank you, Sondra. Yes, I am a big fan of Temple Grandin’s and her life story is amazing and her exhortation to reach kids where they are and cheer them on is just as valuable. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

      With love,
      heather

  4. The beauty of what you are doing for your sons is that you and John are modeling how they should live their lives….searching for and embracing all the knowledge possible. And I’m sure you’re personalizing their education to include practical applications to everything they’re studying. That is a full training. Skills can be learned at any point. Knowledge is often trampled or ignored in the name of the expedient, need to know things that don’t prepare anyone for success “out in the world”. Your boys are smart. They’ll catch on fast to whatever skills they need to learn. No doubt.

    God has called you and equipped you for those young men. You are doing Heaven’s work! And you’re doing a divine job. You are loved

    1. Thank you for that, Vicki. Your words affirm what John and I have decided to do with and for our children. Thank you for caring. I really appreciate it.

      With love,
      heather

  5. I know this wail. I have felt this cry. This is a wringing of the soul. before the Maker of our children. We see their potential and pray that the stains of what others see will not impair them. We hope that their ears will not hear, their minds will not assimilate and their souls will not engage with such belittled hope. I pray for the hope that is theirs to claim, to be prospered in their lives.

    1. Thank you for that, Melinda. I believe our Lord and Creator has a plan for each of our children and although they are not on the same track as most children, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a Divine path of their own. Thank you for your prayers, my friend. Please drop me an email to let me know how things are going – I have you and your family in my prayer journal and pray regularly for you. I’d love any of your insights to inform my prayers!

      With love,
      heather

  6. Heather, my heart hurts for you, and brings back painful memories of an awful teacher one of my children had when only 7 years old. She told me he was a failure, that he would grow up leading a life of harmful addictions. She had me fuming mad, and so sad…it was horrible…she was a bully! And she was 100% wrong! What that experience did do, though, was make me so incredibly determined to be my child’s assertive advocate….and I’m sure you’ve already been that for your boys for a long time. So, I’m here cheering and encouraging you on. I learned how very important it was to find other people who could partner with me to be his advocates and to seek out and find other adult mentors for him beyond Keith and myself. I found tutors who worked with him and filled him with positivity. I talked to all his potential teachers and explained exactly what his personality and behavior was and asked if they could work with us, in partnership, to help him be a good student in their classrooms. When he moved on to junior high it was more difficult, but we did the same…and some how, he graduated high school and I seriously praised God! and thanked his teachers who had become such very special people in our lives. It really did take a team effort, but Keith and I knew our son, and loved him more than anyone else could have, and we knew best what he needed. You and John know the same for your boys. It can be a real challenge, struggle, effort, battle…but you can do it!
    Now a thought from an odd angle….is it possible that you can use the negative statement this person told you (even though we all know it’s not true) as a tool to appeal the decision your insurance company made? We know that the boys need all the academics that you can teach them, but you also wanted them to have access to other skills as well. So can you possibly see if it would sway the insurance since it comes from a school “authority” vs from a parent? Use it to your advantage in some way?
    Sending you lots of hugs and love!!

    1. Hi Cathy,

      Thanks so much for sharing your family’s story with me. You are so right to say that you needed a team of people to come alongside you and your son to work together for his good. I am so glad you didn’t allow this other voice to dissuade you. Yes, often times we come across someone who causes us to hunker down even more with our convictions to do what we think is best for our children. I couldn’t really say much about this situation in the blog post, and may write more when I send out an email update, but we are working hard to gather support for appealing the insurance decision. This person I saw has a role to play in that effort. We don’t know, however, if we will succeed in our appeal. Regardless, we will keep doing what we think is best for our children going forward with those who are for them, too. It’s not easy. However, we aren’t about to give up. Thank you for your care, your love, and your encouragement, Cathy. It means a lot.

      With love,
      heather

  7. You got this and more importantly as you know God’s got this.

    1. Thank you, Tracy. I appreciate the support. Blessings, heather

  8. Heather, please don’t let this woman discourage you. You are an incredible mother to your boys. In every post you write it is evident that you take care of your children to an extent that most parents couldn’t even dream of reaching. As you said God has our path laid out and you have nothing to worry about. Remember you also have an angel working on your side and I know he will never let us down. Hold your head high, look in the mirror and tell yourself how proud you are for all you do. There should be no other thought that goes through your head. You amaze me everyday. You, your husband and your children are remarkable. Love you always

    1. Dear Gina,

      Thank you so much for your care, your encouragement, and your support of me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I hope you and your family are doing well – Suzann has a birthday coming up! So amazing how fast these years go! I love you and I thank you!

  9. Dearest Heather,
    I’m so dismayed that I did not know about your heart rendering experience when I saw you on Friday afternoon!
    I’m so sorry. If I had known, I would have given you the greatest hug for being the greatest mom that I know!
    I know how you and John have prayerfully considered every aspect of your boys learning paths since they were babies. I know that you and John have partnered up with the Lord to provide them with the most solid foundation that any child would be lucky to have.
    I have seen the amazing academic progress of both Jake and Caleb.
    I’ve seen how you have faithfully helped them to develop their unique and beautiful characters.
    Most importantly I have watched as you filled your boys with truth, hope, faith and love.
    You have provided them not just with excellent schooling, but with life skills that include prayer, worship and joy in the Lord.
    Don’t let the enemy sowing doubt or despair.
    Your Father God says to you, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’ (Matt 25:23)

    1. My dear friend, please – no worries. I was so delighted to see you and the Lord used you as a sweet reminder of all of those who love our boys and appreciate them for who they are – not for what they can or cannot do. Thank you for every word of encouragement and every word of cheer to keep moving forward. I do believe that we are in some kind of spiritual battle and I am asking our Lord to fight for us as we lean dependently and confidently upon Him. I love you! You are such an inspiration! With love, heather

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