I find my daily devotionals to be so helpful when I allow the Holy Spirit to show me how they are speaking wisdom into my daily life.
During the last week of July, I was becoming anxious and frustrated as I was keenly aware of the fact that a new school year was starting in a week, my daughter who has multiple diagnoses and a variety of disabilities was transitioning to high school, and CLEARLY the school was not ready for her and didn't have her on their radar.
Then my daily e-mail came through with a perfectly timed "updated" version of Oswald Chambers's My Utmost for His Highest. The passage opened with John 2: 24-25:
But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
Then, the passage went on to read:
Our Lord trusted no one, and never placed his faith in people, yet He was never suspicious or bitter. Our Lord's confidence in God...was so perfect that He never despaired, never giving up hope for any person.
That opened my eyes to a new perspective. Rather than getting my "undies in a bundle" about what I thought was going to be a disastrous start to my daughter's high school career, why not reach out to people in a more loving and encouraging way? God already has this well within HIS control, so I need not react in fear and frustration. How about if I try to make THEIR job EASIER?
For example, I started to consider how many IEPs the average teacher is supposed to read, know, and implement. The school my daughter attends has 2,550 students. Imagine how many of those are on IEPs. I started to consider how overwhelming the start of a new school year, with new classes to teach and new students to manage, could feel to a teacher. God spoke this into my heart and said to me, "How can you expect them to know all of this about 'your girl'?"
So, I reached out to my daughter's team. I looked up each of their e-mail addresses and put together an introduction e-mail. I scanned her IEP and most recent progress report from her middle school into PDFs and attached them to the e-mail. (Incidentally, there are some great free scanner apps for smart phones out there and they have made life much simpler with all the paperwork I have to fill out for insurance and such.)
The layout for my e-mail to her team was simple:
- Introduction of myself, and our daughter.
- Breakdown of the IEP and on WHAT PAGES you could find WHAT INFORMATION.
- Top 5 Things (bullet pointed) they needed to know in order to BEST support our daughter (just in case they couldn't dig into the IEP quite yet.)
- In the Top 5 Things, the first thingI put was "Follow modifications and accommodations" and I listed them under that category (bullet pointed) so they wouldn't need to weed through the IEP to find them.
I received so many thank yous in response to that e-mail, and so many positive messages, that it felt like an amazing start to the school year. Is it PERFECT? No. Will it EVER be? No. But just like Jesus, my confidence is in GOD, not man; so I will not despair, and I will never lose hope.
Pray: Heavenly Father, it's so easy to get wound up over the start of a new school year. It's SO easy to fall into the scarcity mentality and to start worrying about how our children need more and deserve more. Help me to listen to Your words which speak about life abundant and Your extravagant riches with which you shower us. Speak peace into my heart and help me see how I can make this new school year better for others...NOT worry about what they can do for me. Amen.