A Blessed Birthday

As every mom does, I am sure, I watched the minutes this evening counting down until the moment Abigail Faith entered our lives.  I recalled wanting to toss my natural birthing plan out the window, and thinking the nurse was on board.  Only later did I find out that my dear, supportive husband was standing behind me shaking his head no.  Poor woman — a desperate patient one one hand, and her very firm boss  on the other.

I seriously thought the IV team, and my epidural were on the way during the 15 minutes it took to go from 6 to 10cm dilation.  Nope.  I also assumed the doctor would be in the room when the baby arrived.  Wrong again.  Nothing went as expected that day, including welcoming an Abigail instead of a Jack Logan.  The depth of that surprise will never wear off, thankfully.

As 6:26 pm neared I was busy in the kitchen, preparing dinner for the boys.  It had been a beautiful day, capped by the full rainbow smiling at Chase and I as we left the gym in the afternoon.  I think I heard the rain before I saw it, because the sky really hadn’t  changed.  The pinks of approaching sunset, puffy clouds in the distance and the golden haze in my yard contrasted completely with the deluge that made my jaw drop.  The shock of the dissonance made me stop in my tracks, and brought the thought, “The blessings of God are heavy upon us.”  It only lasted five minutes — just long enough for me to get the Lord’s birthday message for Abbie.

As I finished dinner, and reflected on the year gone by, it struck me that on Abbie’s eighth birthday, we had  no idea how smart she is.  We were a month away from beginning to do math with her, and had just figured out that she could spell.  I wonder what she is going to surprise us with this year — I can hardly wait!  I pray that this would be the year that her body would be unbound.

This has already been a fairly lengthy update, but I want to share with you the message we got at church yesterday.  It was so exquisitely-timed that I laughed aloud when the subject, and the punchline, were revealed.  I think it was God’s birthday letter to Abbie (and her family.)

We had a visiting pastor yesterday, who said he would be speaking on faith, using the text in Genesis that describes when Abraham was called to sacrifice his much-prayed for son.  His decades of praying for Isaac made my years of pleading for Abbie pale in comparison.

The crux of the message was that there were two sides to that mountain that Abraham and his unaware son were climbing, and they could only see their side.  They could not see God coming up the other side to meet them with the ram, to be sacrificed in Isaac’s place.  Abraham did not delay his obedience in order to wait for God’s alternate provision.  And, if he had faltered, if he had stopped halfway up, or even just a few steps short, he never would have known God’s provision for him.  How different would his life and faith have been?

The pastor defined faith as the intersection of our obedience and God’s provision.  The challenge, he explained, is that we often want to see the provision before we obey. But, “Do not quit. Do not quit. Don’t give up.  Do not quit!!!” he exhorted us.

Oh no — we will not quit.  We will not stop.  We are just trying to keep up with an amazing girl who is charging up that mountain, confident in the provision that we only glimpse dimly.  May the Lord bless her deeply this year!

Hard Work Rewarded

We are just getting our feet back on the ground after a wonderful 2-week vacation in Washington State.  Abbie thrived on long walks through the woods, listening for birds and looking for deer.  She also spent quite a bit of time on a massage table positioned next to an enormous window overlooking a grove of pine trees.  If a body can say “ahhhhhhh”, that’s what she looked like much of the vacation.  I think she relished not having any appointments or therapies as much as we did.

The day after we got home I had a meeting at the elementary school to revalidate Abbie’s eligibility for special education and to discuss the reports written by school staff who had done observations in June and July.  Usually with Abbie, the eligibility meeting is simply a check-the-block exercise because it is obvious to everyone that she meets the criteria for provision of special ed.  This year, however, threw me a curveball blessing.

There are many categories of eligbility for special ed (i.e. deafness, vision impairment, autism, etc.)  Abbie has always fallen into the category titled “multiple disabilites”.  This seemed entirely appropriate to me, as she has challenges on many fronts.  This year, however, the special services coordinator, Ms. B., brought folders for all of us to review, containing the criteria  worksheets for each category.  For a student to meet the criteria, each question had to be answered “yes.”  I bit my lip when I read the first criteria under “multiple disabilities”.  It referred to “intellectual functioning three or more standard deviations below normal”.  The rest of the questions also included reference to significantly impaired intellectual function.  I certainly didn’t think this fit Abbie, but I didn’t know what the staff would think, given their rather limited exposure to her.

As we finished reading through that worksheet, I didn’t even have time to look up before Ms. B. stole my words, saying “I’m not sure Abbie really falls into this category anymore.”   WOW!  They see her!!!  They believe me, and her!  As a team we determined that Abbie is eligible for special ed under a category titled “Other Health Challenges”.   In other words,  I have a PHYSICALLY disabled daughter, who needs special ed services to work around these challenges to maximize her tremendous intellectual potential.  That little girl has worked so, so hard, for so many years….my heart rejoices over her accomplishments and progress, and the fact that more and more she is able to make her own point, which is “I am able!”

She will be homeschooled this year, with collaboration of school therapy staff and perhaps a tutor.  They are a great group of folks, so I am looking forward to seeing what we can do together to help Abbie.

We are blessed!