The words hung in the air like little bubbles from a cartoon character: 'special education.' My son is in special ed. A wave of shame crossed over me that disgusted me immediately. If a friend told me her son was starting a special education program for a speech disability I wouldn't be ashamed for them or of them. Wouldn't even cross my mind. I would listen with empathy and be encouraging. 'This will help I'm sure.' I might even praise the wonders of speech therapy as I just went this past year for a breathing issue, and I was utterly amazed that speech therapy could actually help. So why do I talk to myself like an enemy and not like a friend? 'Its all your fault. You didn't do enough work to help him. Now he will be behind in school.' These are the thoughts swirling around my curly head this week. When they should be, and are with some effort: 'your son will be fine and you're doing the right thing.'
The devil must dance when he gets us to do his work for him. Especially when we beat ourselves up so he doesn't have to. I'm going through some stuff. And it's hard, and I'm doing the best I can. That's what I would tell a friend if they were me. So that's what I'm telling me. That the deep things take years to wade through, but the best treasures aren't found on the shallow shore. They are found where it gets deepest and darkest. And the lessons we only take once to learn aren't the ones that stick with us. It just is so. The epic struggles are the ones that engrave our very soul. The ones that change us.
So. Life can change. Things can happen. Changes, certainly, will happen like friends moving away. And little boys growing up and still babbling just a bit. But there is a God who gets us through the hard stuff. He truly has been there through it all. The devil keeps trying to write God out of the scenes in my life, for it is his ultimate trick for all of us.
How about I rewrite those scenes with him in it? See the bits of grace that were there for me despite my size nines clomping all over them. Feel the hope that was meant for me in those dark moments. Taste the freedom that he paid so dearly for. Cling to what he had for me, despite missing it the first time. For he truly is my hope and my stay.
Let him process what he has for me. It may just look like a perfect meal of fresh-cooked fish on a beach. Like he did for Peter. Healing given in words, spoken in threes. But spoken to undo what that wretched snake had first hissed. 'Feed my sheep.' Giving purpose and direction to a weary soul who quite expected to get fussed at instead of blessed. Move on. Get up little girl and do something. Hug that little boy and listen to him without fear of him never talking quite right.
Here is how you get through the hard stuff: you stay right behind Me in My wake and let me plow through it all for you. It looks like hell kicked in the teeth by a cross of glory. It looks like heaven opening up down here, a blast of light through this vast void of dark. Dear friend, you get through the hard by clinging to a good and holy God.