Monday, when I flipped the calendar to the weeks’ schedule my heart skipped a beat but not with excitement over Valentine’s Day. After being out of town, re-orienting to the needs at home had me feeling weary on the spot. The week would start with high school visits to observe programs for Chase and end with his triennial IEP. In English, this is Morse code for an “Individual Education Plan” built around results from more tests than an evil biology teacher would give.
Chase is the one who deserves a word of encouragement since he has to sit through all the testing. He’s usually a champ about this but I wonder if he ever questions the necessity? With his sense of humor I imagine a word bubble over his head that says, “I know what I know, don’t they know that?” while he endures another testing session.
After logging at least fifty meetings in the last eleven years to plan for the boys you’d expect this Mom to not miss a heartbeat. That’s not the case. My chest seized up because I hate them. I’d prefer a root canal to an IEP meeting since you get pain medication.
All of the specialists are kind, encouraging, and careful to shine the spotlight on your child’s strengths so his weaknesses aren’t glaringly obvious. I appreciate this but like every hover mother, I’m as vigilant as the stars and I carry a flashlight. Every detail matters. What is not said paints an equally important picture that must be seen.
Even with rose colored glasses it’s hard to take a look. I leave IEP’s anxious knowing Chase has more mountains to climb. Reaching a plateau doesn’t mean you’ve hit the summit. Meetings are good to tell you where you’ve been and set a course for the future, however, they don’t answer the question of whether or not he’ll make it to the finish line.
Recognizing the anxiety is new for me. I used to walk into planning meetings brimming with a false bravado. I would ignore the missed heartbeats and press on exhausting myself. I’ve learned not to do that anymore. Feeling stressed, I asked God to re-frame the picture for me. Please Lord, give me a word to encourage me through this. I know what everyone else would say but what do you have to say? A simple prayer that was answered right away when I opened my Bible at random and read:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1
I read it for Chase acknowledging that the pause in my heart is fear. It’s a subterranean worry that Chase won’t be okay in this world. The meetings surface these feelings. I don’t like admitting this but God knows I am not fearless when it comes to my children. This is why I landed on that verse with my Bible roulette.
As I sat with the verse a new acronym typed across the screen in my mind, “I’m Ever Present” and with that image God spoke it into my consciousness. It instantly became my new mantra for the week shifting my focus from a “plan” to God’s presence. Chase has nothing to fear and neither do I. God is with us and working through plans made by man or in spite of them. His purpose will prevail in Chase’s life. It will prevail in your life too.