In my last post I promised that I had something to tell you. It’s about an answer to hundreds of prayers, and the amazing grace that God has poured out on us during this time of transition with Zack, as he’s moved on from school to …
To what? To adult life? To work? To … ?
That’s the big question for people with disabilities, isn’t it? What do they do when they grow up? What do families do when their sons and daughters graduate from school and can’t live independently, as is the norm with most kids?
We spend years in school preparing to go out on our own and make our own way in the world. And with kids who are disabled, we as parents hope those years will give them enough skills to do what everyone else does. But what if they don’t? What if everyone has done the right things, what if all the teachers have been above and beyond excellent, but the child-growing-into-adulthood just isn’t able to master the skills needed to become independent? What happens then?
Facing the Future
No one really knows the anxiety I’ve felt when looking ahead to Zack finishing school. You probably have walk this road yourself to really understand. (I don’t say that to shut anyone out; it’s just the truth.)
There have been so many times when well-meaning people have asked me, “What will Zack do when he’s done with school? What does his future look like?”
I’ve always just answered, “I have no idea. But God has brought us this far, and I know He’s going to take care of us.”
What else could I say? I have faith, but in my weaker moments I’m so terrified that I want to run as far away as possible, screaming and crying my eyes out.
It’s probably a good idea to NEVER ask that question to someone with a child who is disabled.
Zack’s teachers and aids have been A ROCK for me through the years. Whether or not I called on them, just knowing there was someone I could turn to with a question, or to find hope in our journey, has provided much security for me. And of course, knowing he had a safe place to be every day for eight hours provided needed respite.
HOPE. Now there’s a word. I think that’s what being in school represents. It means there’s still hope. We’re not done yet. There’s still time. Maybe something we never expected will happen and suddenly Zack will be able to do something amazingly well … even marginally well.
Saying that sounds so mean to me. But it’s not meant that way. Zack is so incredibly precious and loving and good. I’ve just always thought: Couldn’t we have just a little bit more, Lord? Couldn’t he be just a little more able?
The idea of the safety net of school being taken away has been, well … let me put it this way: I pictured Zack and me at home, every day, all day long, like the boy in The Cat in the Hat and his sister, Sally. (It rains a lot where we live.) Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. Me slowly going insane as I read Dr. Seuss books over and over and over and over and over again.
Not very inspirational, huh?
I Never Expected What Was Coming
And that’s why what has happened is so miraculous. It’s something I never could have imagined or come up with on my own in a million years. It perfectly illustrates a scripture verse that I’ve heard many times:
But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)
I think ultimately this verse is about heaven. But it’s also what’s happening to us right now!
But first let me tell you … about a year ago I began to feel like Jay and I were on the cusp of something new. I had no idea what it was, but I knew it would be good. And I began to stop feeling anxious about Zack graduating. Honest. I felt at peace about it. I knew God wouldn’t leave me hanging.
Backing up just a bit more: Jay has worked evenings (from about 3 pm to 3 am) for the past 15 years. It was always a trial for me, but doable until our oldest son left for college. With Taylor gone, the past few years have been really lonely. I was committed to our marriage, but also knew things weren’t good. I was lonely, and my highly-conscientious-provider-husband was unwilling to change his work situation to be home more with Zack and me.
You know when you get those irrational thoughts like “If he really loved me, he’d make a change” OR “He really doesn’t want to be with us. Work is a nice excuse for him to be away.” That’s what I was fighting.
Then my job that enabled me to work at home ended. So I got an interim position that was full time and an hour away … and Jay and I saw each other for about 10 minutes a day when he dropped Zack off at my work on his way into the office. NOT a good way to nurture a marriage.
Here comes the good part … drum roll and trumpet blast please … I was offered a job at World Concern as a writer!
Those of you who know me well understand how this is the best position there could possibly be for me. First of all, I get to write full time, and I actually get paid for it. And secondly, I am passionate about global relief work, especially with a Christian worldview.
But it’s also full time. And I wasn’t sure how that would work with Zack finishing school and Jay working night hours. He was already chronically sleep deprived and I couldn’t see how he could care for Zack during the day AND work at night. And when would we ever see each other?
So I asked Jay if he would be willing to cut back on his hours and only work three nights a week. And my husband, who recently said he didn’t think he’d ever retire, said, “Really? I’d love to do that!”
Cue a heavenly chorus singing Hallelujah!
Life changing. A brand new season. Completely unexpected. Life giving for each of us.
It’s been about a month and Jay texted me the other day: Life is so much easier now. Thanks for letting me do this!
I feel the same way.
Jay loves to go out with Zack every day, downtown, to Costco, to walk at a snail’s pace around a local lake, wherever! Zack loves it! And I have a reason to take a shower every day, wear nice clothes, and be around lots of people while I write for a purpose I am passionate about (while still having lots of time with my precious family in the evenings and on weekends).
It’s a total win-win-win.
I feel like I should have a neon sign over my head that reads: God is Faithful!