"Blessed is she, who has believed, that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." Luke 1:45

Friday, July 22, 2011

You don't have to learn it the hard way

One of my main motivators that moved me into the realm of full-time Mom is my son's education and soon, my daughter's.

Learning disabilities come in all shapes, sizes, and degrees. My son's issues are not major, but because he has more than one, it makes reading and sequencing very difficult, and because his issues ARE different, it means we have to come up with more than one way to work out any one thing. Intellectually he is just like everyone else his age, but formal learning and reading are harder for him than anyone really realizes. It can be overwhelming and frustrating. And that's just for us as his parents. For him it is a constant struggle. It's a de-motivator. It's sometimes embarrassing. It's not something that we can see an end to, so sometimes the "what's the point?" attitude rears it's ugly head.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart 
and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways
submit to him and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5,6

I have recently admitted that I am pretty angry with God that he has not seen fit move Kevin past this issue, that he is allowing the struggle to continue. God is OK with that. He has shown me that part of his plan for Kevin is for me to be more a presence in Kevin's education. This is outside my comfort zone in a huge way. Learning, especially reading, has always come very easily for me, so I sometimes can't understand how Kevin can't get it. But he really can't. And God needs me to learn to be on his side and learning accommodations for him so that he can feel safe not getting it, and not be embarrassed in the process of learning it.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

God is also working out in me that this is Kevin's struggle to grow through, I am on the sidelines. My struggle is to let him go through this, grow through it and let him and God work it out. As a Mom, I want to fix the problem. God wants me to step out of the way and let them work this thing out. I am only playing a supporting role in this one. God knows my babies. More than I ever will. He loves my children. More than I will ever comprehend. To want the best for my children is to want them to turn to God and know Him as intimately as possible. To give the best to my children is to sometimes step back and let them stumble through on their own. After all, they are never, never alone, are they?

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:16-21

Finally, God is showing me that it is my job to equip myself to support and help Kevin as needed, but the most important thing I can do is seek God's will. How often do I focus in and pray for specific things to get us through this project or that paper, when I need to broaden my prayer? God wants us to pray the big prayers. Ask for things that seem impossible to us. Ask God to move in ways that aren't only impossible for us to believe, but to move even beyond that and do something so huge, so amazing, that we are left standing with our mouths hanging open, hands raised and tears streaming over the fact that God is THAT BIG.

Below are a few resources that are very encouraging. Education and knowing how to learn are so important, but we need to use these things as a secondary line of attack. Turning to God first will ultimately be what helps our children succeed. And if you have kids that need extra help, don't go it alone! Find support!

Equipping Kids for Life-Long Learning (The article contains great practical reminders. I haven't read the book yet, but it is on my to-buy list!)

The Way They Learn ( I had several of Kevin's teachers read this book. They loved it and it truly opened my eyes to how amazing my kid is. And completely opposite of me!)

Every Child Can Succeed (sometimes just reading the title was enough to make me get back in the fight. Yes, he CAN succeed.)

Apples 4 the Teacher (this sight is a gold-mine of things to help those that are struggling to read!!)

Your church.

And if you have teachers or resource/special ed teachers anywhere in your circle, USE THEM! I would have been lost without the vital inside knowledge I got about IEPs, questions to ask and key words to use in conversations. I also have gotten amazing support and encouragement from parents that have traveled the road ahead of me. They smoothed out some bumps, filled in some pot-holes and generally ran along side me cheering me on and reminding me that in the school system, I HAVE to fight for him. And I plan on keeping my cheerleaders until Abby is through school. 

Nurture

To feed and protect; to support and encourage, 
as during the period of training or development; 
foster; to bring up; train; educate

These definitions of nurture might, at first glance, seem to be ordinary words that are held together by the strings of information and development. They seem to be good applications and suggestions on how to develop something into its fullness.

When placed in the context of raising up the next generation, the definitions become almost overwhelmingly terrifying in their weight.

The decision to become a stay at home mom was not made lightly. My main goal was to become more of a presence and influence in my children's lives. But when you really dig into the meaning of what a mother does, it becomes a scary weight that can become overwhelming when you look at it as a whole. Panic can set in if your focus is off, even the tiniest little bit.

Nurture. The definition is there in black and white. But how do I do it?

"Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind."
James 3:5-6

There is so much that my children need to know, to learn, to experience. If I forget, even for a moment, where my strengths, abilities and passions come from, I will not be able to do this thing. This thing of mothering. Every time I forget to turn to my Father for guidance, I will have dropped the ball.

God will never make fun of me for anything. No matter what it is, he will never think me stupid, or ill-equipped. He will never tell me to figure it out myself, although he may make me work it out myself. But, he will still be there every step of the way. He wants to help me and lead me through everything. He just wants me to be humble enough to ask. And have faith in Him to answer, every time.

Somehow the idea of blundering along, going my own way, loses its appeal when I consider what I am doing this for.

My children.

That makes this life-and-death serious. Eternity serious.

I will get enough things wrong along the way; my prayer is that pride will not add to the list because I didn't humble myself to ask for help and guidance first.

These are my first steps on a new journey.