I was given this letter by a friend who is a mom, who wanted not only her daughter to see it, but others parents, and their daughters. For all of us who have kids who are outside the norm, it is an encouragement to love them, care for them and hunt for the teachers who will do the same. Thank you!
There is a picture of you I keep at my desk, a beautiful bubbly blue eyed girl with golden curls. You are standing in the sun eyes closed head tilted toward the sky. It seems as though you are trying to absorb the sun and you look like pure joy. Every time my eyes gaze upon it, it fills my heart with joy. But that joy is fleeting because I know now what was to come. From the moment you were born, and they laid you on my chest I knew that you were going to be a force in this world. You have amazed me with some of the things you have done in your life. At the age of two, you hopped on a bike with no prior experience or even training wheels and rode off down our cul de sac with all the confidence in the world. By age four you were asking me things that I couldn’t answer, like how radio waves worked, how you even knew what a radio wave was at that age has always surprised me. At seven you were rollerblading and skateboarding with amazing balance, and when you got on skies at 17 for the very first time, you tackled the highest slope with the skill of someone who had been skiing their whole life.
When it was time for kindergarten you weren’t scared in fact, the excitement you had was contagious, and I knew just how amazing you were going be. After all, you were clearly very intelligent.
Kindergarten was full of fun and learning new things, but even then, I could tell something was off. The teacher told me you were just a little slow in learning new things. That wasn’t true I knew that in my gut, but I listened to them and took their word for it. First grade proved to be even more difficult for you, and you started to notice that you were different. At seven you asked me why you were stupid. My heart broke into a million pieces, and even though I assured you that you were smart I could see that you didn’t believe me. They told me to hold you back so that you could catch up to the other kids and fearing this would only make you feel dumber I decided to take you to a fancy private school that promised they could “fix” you. Thankfully you flourished there emotionally, but academically you only grew further behind. By the fifth grade you were having anxiety attacks and teachers started to complain about your behavior. You would often hide in the bathroom in favor of going to class. I fought with them, I tried to make them see what I could see in you, I wanted them to see just how intelligent you really were. Nothing I did seem to work, and I could see in your eyes the light beginning to become duller and duller with each passing year. Each time you would bring home a piece of paper that said, “Try harder” or “Did you even STUDY”? in big angry red letters or when teachers would say things to you like, “You should know the answer to that” when you tried asking them questions, and with every bad grade on your report card I could see your confidence evaporating. Those teachers who had the power to lift you up were slowly breaking you down. My heart ached for you. It was as if one day I had this bubbly girl excited about the world and all of its possibilities and the next I looked into your eyes and the light had gone out, you were covered with scars from torture you inflicted upon yourself, and I knew that your soul was full of scars too. I failed you and I am full of regret for not finding the answer in time for you to have not felt like a such a failure. School should have been a wonderful experience for you and instead it was torture.
Today we know the answer to your struggle, Dyslexia. We know that you weren’t just a little slower to develop, but that your brain just works differently. We know that it is because of dyslexia that you have amazing athletic abilities and can remember the words to practically every song you have ever heard. It is because your brain is wired differently that you have such a big imagination and a knack for conversing like an adult even from a very young age. It is not a disadvantage when someone receives the help they need, it is just a difference.
My Dearest Daughter, I want you to know that every time I sit across from one of my students, every time I see their pain, every time I see them struggling to fit in, it is your face I see. Every time a fellow teacher tells me that a child is just slow, or when I hear teachers say they just need to try harder or they are lazy, it is your face I see. It is a fight I choose to fight not only for them but also for you. The reason I get up in the morning is to be the voice for those who don’t have one and deep down it is your voice I am hoping the world hears. Your reach in the world if far greater than you will ever know. In the faces of the Wade’s, the Abigail’s, the Sydnie’s and the Ryan’s the Rachel’s and the Caden’s is your face. As your mother I will never stop trying to heal your soul. As a teacher I will never stop trying to protect theirs from being scarred.
Love Your Mother
one last thing… if this letter resonated with you… please hit like…and let others know as well…it took a lot for my friend and her daughter to make this journey, and dedicate her lives to those who are making it as well, the other daughters and sons, parents, and teachers. God Bless all on the journey!
Devotional Thought of the Day:
22 That same night Jacob got up, took his two wives, his two concubines, and his eleven children, and crossed the Jabbok River. 23 After he had sent them across, he also sent across all that he owned, 24 but he stayed behind, alone. Then a man came and wrestled with him until just before daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he was not winning the struggle, he hit Jacob on the hip, and it was thrown out of joint. 26 The man said, “Let me go; daylight is coming.” “I won’t, unless you bless me,” Jacob answered. 27 “What is your name?” the man asked. “Jacob,” he answered. 28 The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have struggled with God and with men, and you have won; so your name will be Israel.” 29 Jacob said, “Now tell me your name.” But he answered, “Why do you want to know my name?” Then he blessed Jacob. 30 Jacob said, “I have seen God face-to-face, and I am still alive”; so he named the place Peniel. Genesis 32:22-30 (TEV)
70 You asked me if I had a cross to bear. And I answered, “Yes, we always have to bear the Cross.” But it is a glorious Cross, a divine seal, the authentic guarantee of our being children of God. That is why we always walk along happily with the Cross. (1)
I don’t like to wrestle with God, yet I find myself doing it far too often.
Often the wrestling is because I am too much like Jacob, I want things the way I want them. Often times the way I want them seems quite logical, quite loving.
I want couples to grow together, not fight each other. I want my family and friends to be healthy, not dealing with heart issues, or cancer, or even the effects of aging and it slowing them down. I want my friends to be fellow disciples – studying and knowing God’s love, and desiring to spend time in worship and in service, and realizing that those two things, are really the same.
These things aren’t bad, are they? Why can’t they simply happen?
I am tired of wrestling with God over them, there are days, where I want to just walk away, to give up, to let people go there way, and find some nice “normal” life. Like Jeremiah, I have to rant and rave at times:
7 LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived. You are stronger than I am, and you have overpowered me. Everyone makes fun of me; they laugh at me all day long. Jeremiah 20:7 (TEV)
I can’t I have to wrestle with Him, I have to fight, I have to realize how He has blessed us. Until I do, like Jacob, I cannot give up. I have to find that blessing, I have to demand it,
I have to realize what it is….I have to realize the nature of the cross that He has chosen me to bear, even as you bear one as well.
The wrestling with God is all about the cross St Josemaria mentions; Jeremiah’s being deceived gives us the answer as well. Here is how Jeremiah sees the matter resolve…..
9 But when I say, “I will forget the LORD and no longer speak in his name,” then your message is like a fire burning deep within me. I try my best to hold it in, but can no longer keep it back. Jeremiah 20:9 (TEV)
It is seen in Jacob realizing the answer to the unanswered question, Who was this man? Jacob’s realization – it is God, I have seen His face. I even wrestled with Him, and He and I survived.
God came to me, He is here. He has come to you as well, and sometimes, the battle is on. We fight him, we try to forget Him, we do everything we can…. and He is still here. King David describes this as well in Psalm 139 – where he tries to flee God, and realizes His silliness.
The blessing? The reason we fight Him? It’s found in the very fight. He will wrestle with us, without destroying us. He comes to us, and engages with us, and cares enough to see the battle through. To let us rant and rave, and yeah – even sometimes cry, but in the end…. realizing His presence… we find peace.
That is the blessing..
A blessing that makes the cross glorious, that makes the struggle amazing, that makes God’s message, something we cannot dismiss or ignore… for it burns inside us.
To realize God has come to us, to you, to me. That He is here, with mercy and comfort, love… and a peace that we cannot explain. Even as we are exhausted from the fight, and weary from the burden of the cross… and though we still don’t get the entire story…. we know all that matters…..
He is here…and that is our blessing.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 514-517). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
What Child Is This?
The One Who Journeyed for a Promise!
† In Jesus Name †
May you realize how the grace of God our Father, the mercy, love and peace revealed to us as we are united to Christ, may you realize how it sustains you on this journey.
I wonder if there were children among Abraham’s people, if during the journey from UR to Bethel, he heard the ever present phrases emanating from the back of the caravan….
“Are we there yet?”
“Fr. Abraham, cousin Michael is hitting me!”
“Honey, is there a bathroom ahead of us soon? I didn’t have to go at the last Oasis, but now…”
During the journey, there must have been times when Abraham raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Yahweh, you said this journey would be worth it….well – when does it get to be worth it?”
And about that time, someone gets sick…..or there is a flat tire or someone wonders whether the driver is lost, or…or..
Journeys do not always go as we plan. Sometimes they are fun, sometimes not so much. Especially when we forget why we are on the journey, when we forget our destiny.
Ultimately, that is what it is all about…knowing your destiny, and knowing that you aren’t alone on the journey….
So let’s look at Abraham’s journey first. Imagine the conversations he had with his father, his family and friends.
You are going where?
Who is this God again? How does He speak with you? How are you going to manage there, no friends, no help? Imagine the questions that Sarah had, and Lot.
It’s not easy to pick up everything and go to a destination you don’t know much about, to not even know when you are there! Take my word for it, Kay and I have done this once or twice….
One of the things about Abraham’s life, that fascinates me, is trust in God, when he had no idea of the depth of the plan. The plan was revealed slowly, and the fulfilment of it was always off in the distance. Eventually the promise would be seen fulfilled – but how many years? He knew his descendants would spend time in captivity. He struggled with how an old man would have heirs. Like us, he sinned often, doing things like giving into his fears, and letting his wife be taken by a king. He wrestled with God over the fate of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, He moved here and there, never really settling in one place in the Promised Land. He may not have known hardly any of the points in the journey, but he had a promise, and he knew well the Lord who promised him.
CLICK There is one thing he did, (well besides sinning) that we see here. He set up places where he could worship, places set aside to interact with God. Places to pray, places where Abraham could call on the name of the Lord the passage tells us.
It was a regular part of his life, even before the church, even before the Temple and the tabernacle. Even as his life wasn’t easy, even as he was betrayed and hurt by his nephew, even though he would face small wars… there was a constant.
God’s presence, interaction with God. What we call a relationship, or abiding with Christ.
A relationship where Abraham knew God well enough to trust Him at His word, and to call upon God often. God was part of his life, that’s why Abraham could trust Him.
Even when the trusting in God meant a long hard journey, with a bare visible promise.
We are in Lent, a time to consider Christ’s journey, to understand our need for Him to take that journey, and to wonder at a love so complete for us.
His journey was different. He wasn’t able to take his wealth, or a wife, or anything. He came as a babe, the babe we were singing about 3 months back, asking what child was this.
He probably the only one who chose to go on a long, long journey?
Definitely, He was the only one who took a journey knowing that a destination on the journey was death. A hard, bitterly cruel death, on a wicked, torturous cross,
He knew the promise. The writer of Hebrews tells us that when he was inspired to write.
Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.
He endured it, he endured the journey, because the cross wasn’t His final destination point. It was simply a place where He did what the Father wanted, a midpoint, a place to take care of things, and put everything to right.
The joy was the destination, not even the resurrection, but 40 days later, as He ascended to the Father. He obeyed, like Abraham finding the strength through prayer, through interaction with the Father. Knowing that the cross wasn’t the end of the promise, but a waypoint. A part of the journey, but not the end.
His focus was what was the promise. The Promise. The Same Promise given to Adam and Eve, and to Abraham, and to Judah, and David, to Isaiah and Jeremiah. His journey was the beginning of the promise. Hear Hebrews again,
39 Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. 40 God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours. Hebrews 11:39-40 (MSG)
His journey was a “there and back again” journey. He had a pick-up to make. That pick-up – are those who would join Him in the journey. Those who would find life in Him, and start their journey, even as we have.
Back to that quote from Hebrews. The one that talked of Jesus’ focus on the destination the end of the final leg of journey that we call the Ascension. Hebrews tells us:
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)
You see His journey was to come and get us, and return us to the Father’s presence. That’s the promise of Abraham’s journey, that every nation would be blessed because of Jesus, the seed of Abraham (his descendant see Mt. 1)
His journey and the promise is about our journey! His destination is ours!
Ours may seem more like Abraham’s at times, and that’s because it is, and well, isn’t. It is because we will sin, and struggle, there will be times of war, and times where others walk away to places like Sodom (Hopefully we don’t forget to rescue them when needed, and intercede and wrestle with God for them as well!)
There will be times where we wonder – “why aren’t we there yet?” and times where we might get lost for the moment. We may still sin and struggle, we may still not find a permanent home, for the destination is still some way off.
The promise is still the promise – we can keep our eyes on Jesus, our champion, the one who brings us into a relationship where we grow in trusting God, in hearing His voice.
For that is where we can be most like Abraham, as we establish our times and places to hear God, to praise Him, to let Him nourish and strengthen Him, even as we look to the promise of His presence.
For He will never leave us or forsake us.
That too is His promise, on this journey of life.
What Child is this? The One who undertook a journey to come and take us on the journey of our lives… the one where the destination is found where we abide in the Father’s glory, the journey where Jesus Christ will guard our hearts and minds, for the journey is taken in His peace… amen?