Thursday, May 7, 2009

Peace that Passes Understanding

We often pray for this indescribable peace. We try to explain what this peace means, what it feels like to others. It is difficult to capture the essence of what it means to experience peace that passes understanding. (Phil 4:7)

One needs to experience it in order to understand it, and even then it is difficult to explain. But I will try...

Last week I received a phone call from Braeden's teacher. Currently, he is in a program for children with severe cognitive delays (in his last year of elementary school - grade 5). Our expectation all year has been that he would continue in this program and go to the one and only middle school that offers it. This call, though, was to share good news - based on recent assessments, they would like to move Braeden UP to the program for children with mild to moderate cognitive delays! Unfortunately, the school that the teacher named is one of the two middle schools in town that I would "never, ever send any of my children to."

You see, this middle school is a place of bitter memories. In the eigth grade, while I attended that school, I was violently assaulted by another girl. During his two years there, in another special ed program (for children with learning disabilities), my nephew experienced endless bullying and abuse. It is difficult to believe anything but the thought that "most of the kids at that school are just plain mean."

Since the call, I have been praying for guidance, but continually felt my own emotions getting in the way of my understanding. I have been (somewhat frantically) seeking guidance from friends, other teachers, other parents, academic test results, and so on - looking mostly for evidence to back my belief that this school was no good.

Not one to typically be motivated by fear, I did not recognize what was driving my search for answers and affirmation.

Finally, growing weary in my own efforts, I gave up. "Lord, I can't hear Your voice over my own desires. I cannot be wise in making this decision. Please, just shut doors that I should not walk through and leave me with only one wide, open door."

Not much more than half an hour later, the phone rang. It was the Intervention Services Coordinator (the decision-maker as far as placements in special ed). I methodically and unemotionally shared my concerns with her (I had practiced what to say and how to say it so I wouldn't sound like an over-emotional mother - a total ruse). She listened and validated me, assured me she wanted to work to make our family happy.

Unfortunately, there was no space in this program in the school we wanted - two families would need to move out of the area for a space to open up. There was no bus to our second school of choice from our end of town. There was space, though, in one other middle school. Ironically, it was the other of the two schools I would "never, ever send any of my children to" (this one, though, for solid, valid reasons that may eventually result in that school being completely restructured) - it was my #1 never, ever school. Bang! Wham! Slam! Three doors firmly closed, only one door remaining.

She asked that I keep an open mind, meet the teachers, tour the program and the school. She assured me that these are her very best special ed teachers in the entire district - in this school I feared. She promised that she had not once had any complaints from parents of children in this program and at this school regarding bullying or mistreatment by the general population. She told me that they have another child in the program who is a good match for Braeden both academically and socially.

I turned toward the only door that was open for me, I took a tentative step, then I hurried right through. And the peace came. The fear dissipated. Blessed assurance that Braeden is in His hands before he is in mine. Peace that is indescribable and completely beyond my comprehending. Peace that is contrary to my basic instincts. Peace that passes understanding.


  1. That is so totally frustrating to not have the options open that you are comfortable with.

    Praise God that the other doors were closed so you knew without a doubt that you were willing to be guided by God!

    Keep us posted on the situation!

  2. We need to remember that God can see what we can't - and besides, He loves our children even more than we do!!!

  3. I am so proud of you!! You are an awesome example of trusting and obeying your Heavenly Father.


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