Two weeks ago I texted my Mom to share with her that I had finally made some phone calls in regards to the kids’ schooling for next year. I ended my text with #imabigkidnow
This might sound strange, but she knows me well: I dislike making phone calls.
Yes, I am an adult. But somehow picking up the phone to call someone regarding a business related issue always makes me feel like a kid again. A kid being taught how to have proper phone etiquette. Phone calls when I was in middle and high school brought me to tears and my parents would have to force me to pick up the phone, even if it was just to call and ask a friend over. Needless to say, texting has been one of life’s greatest inventions for me.
We’re planning to put our oldest two girls into a public school, so I needed information on how to go about registering them, etc. That phone call was completed, and then I moved on to Mason.
Oh, Mason. How this little boy’s life has blessed me in more ways than I ever imagined!
And yet life with a child who has Down syndrome is still such an unknown to me.
Mason turned 3 in April, and I knew that this fall he would be eligible for some type of educational services, but I wasn’t sure what that would like.
So that day when I decided to be a grown up, I picked up the phone to try and sort things out. I ended up in a phone interview being asked questions like: “Does your child know his colors and shapes?” “Does your child answer who, what, when, where and why questions?” “Can your child count to ten?”
No. No. No.
Even though I realize these things every day when I interact with Mason, it doesn’t usually bother me. Until a professional starts asking me questions and then I realize that Mason is behind. He’s not like other kids his age.
After I got off the phone — our appointment set for the beginning of August to assess Mason’s development and determine his needs — I burst into tears. Gut-wrenching sobs that had me doubled over in the kitchen.
IEP’s (Individual Education Plans–I’m learning this lingo too) are our new normal. Special education is a regular part of our vocabulary, and our daily life. My kid is the one who needs extra help to function.
I realized as I was crying that afternoon that putting off that phone call wasn’t just about my dislike of calling adults. I didn’t want to face the reality of Mason’s needs. I was happy and content with the progress he was making in therapy. We had a good rhythm. Everything was comfortable.
Getting him enrolled in public education as a 3 year old was going to drastically change our lives and I wasn’t ready for the change. Not emotionally or logistically.
It’s that way with any kind of change that I haven’t initiated.
Unless I choose the path, it’s easier to keep things going as they have been. When the course changes against my will, I eventually learn to embrace it but not without a battle of tightly holding onto what once was or what I hoped would be.
Shortly after Mason was born I sat through a sermon on John 9, where Jesus encounters a man born blind. Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus’ response: “It was not that his man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
And then Jesus gave the blind man sight. The Jewish leaders questioned the man about Jesus, about his healing, and even brought in the parents to confirm his identity.
In each encounter, the blind man gave credit to Jesus and the works of God –His glory– was displayed in this man’s life.
I struggled listening to this sermon that day. My son had a disability. Like the man born blind, his life would be filled with challenges. He might even be made fun of or excluded from his peers.
Unlike the blind man though, his Down syndrome wasn’t going away. And so as I wrestled with the story of this man being healed, I asked God to show me Himself through Mason’s life. To display His works, not through healing, but somehow through the disability.
Here we are three years later and my prayers are being answered.
God’s glory shows up in the quiet places of my heart when I struggle to accept changes that hurt. He gives me the gift of Himself to comfort and reassure me that He is in control.
His glory is being revealed to me in the progress that Mason makes each day in his development. I recognize that any new ability Mason achieves is only by the work of God enabling him to grow.
His glory is being made evident to me by the way that my heart is changing as I embrace the life that God has given. There was a time when I begged God to have the tests come back negative, giving us a ‘normal’ son. Now, I’m thankful for Mason’s Down syndrome. Can I just tell you that is a miracle that God has worked in my heart?
No, God didn’t cure my son, like he healed the blind man that day. But God’s glory is being revealed.
I may not ever know all the ways that God is using Mason’s life to glorify Himself, but I’m thankful that He’s giving me glimpses of it now.
Change, grief, loss, sorrow, struggles–they all have a purpose.
God making Himself known and revealing His glory.
Sometimes He does that in miraculous ways like giving sight to the blind or anonymously meeting a need.
Other times He reveals His glory in the quiet, small places of our souls. Meeting us in the midst of our hurts and joys, in the changes that we struggle to accept, to show us He is at work and we are not alone.