Donna Weston, Founder, and Executive Director
Stop In Your Tracks
Do you have a song that seems to always stop you in your tracks? One that is so meaningful to you that your heart tunes in? There have been just a handful of those over the years, but there is one that persists for me, maybe because I only hear it around Christmas.
Two years ago, I wrote my first blog post for our website. I titled the blog “Exclusive Insights – From My Heart to Yours” because each one has come from a deep place, fusing my mind and heart. That first blog article I wrote is still precious to me and so I am replicating it here. Read through to the end and there will be an additional link that will be special to you, if you know this story:
This is my first Christmas in our new home. I loved putting up the Christmas tree, decorating the mantel, hanging a wreath on the front door. All three of my adult sons will be able to be with us for Christmas…two of them coming all the way from LA! The Christmas season can be amazingly wonderful. It can also be amazingly complicated. Actually, life continues to be amazingly complicated!
One of my favorite Christmas songs of all time is “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant (a link to the full text is at the bottom). It is a musical version of Mary’s prayer when she was told that she was to carry the Son of God. I remember listening to the song with my hands lifted high as she communicated my heart, my concerns, my trust – or at least my desire to trust my Father in heaven.
“…I wonder what I’ve done
Holy Father, you have come
And chosen me now
To carry your son”
“I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now”
It is so ironic that in the middle of a family and church community I would feel alone. But raising a struggling learner, or a child with special needs of any sort, can feel isolating. I remember people with “average” or gifted children blaming me for my son’s behavior, as if I could control all of his choices and I was okay with his misbehavior or social gaffs. Add to that the hours of trying to help him learn…Ugh.
Privilege, yes. Easy, no. What I didn’t have then is a team. I needed others: teachers who understood (unfortunately rare), wise friends to listen and counsel who had been where I was, therapists to help him in ways that I could not because I had to focus so hard on being his mom.
“Breath of heaven
Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan
Help me be strong”
Ryan is now an adult. The raising part is over, but the loving is not! Much work and prayer went into the complicated family life we had. Today, Ryan is an amazing man, navigating the complicated life he has with honor, integrity, and great love for and from his family. He is a source of great joy.
I am confident that the Lord designed your child for your particular family. I am praying that through this season, you will grow in wisdom and strength, that you will stop and enjoy who your child is, who they are becoming, and that you will find and take full advantage of the team you have. And, I pray you will know God’s presence in your life:
“Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven”
*Breath of Heaven lyrics. Breath of Heaven video
This Christmas, I don’t know if our two other sons can join us. Life is so full that I am not even sure when I can go shopping for gifts (or even what I want to give!), never mind when we can start the process of decorating our home. It is mid-December and already I want to cry, “Stop the sleigh! I want to get off!”
So, I intentionally stop…or am jerked to a stop… when I hear “Breath of Heaven”. We need to stop sometimes, especially when life is chaotic.
Is there a song that stops you in your tracks? Choose to listen. Is there a movie that fills you with joy? Watch it with someone you love. If you are raising children, especially a child with learning challenges, I encourage you to take some time during Christmas to break from academics, to play with them and enjoy who they are. Be intentional.
I promised you a special link at the end of this article. Ryan, my struggling learner - the one whom I had wondered if he would be in jail someday because of his rebelliousness, or would even be alive at the age of 30 - has started his own video blog. Check out this short video and remember – at some point, if not now, you can rejoice that it was all worth it!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.