Our son Keller is starting a new chapter in his life this year as he is now attending Grade R (called Kindergarten in the USA) and it's been a huge transition for him. When we went to visit the school and had the 'meet the teacher' day, he ended the day crying because he was so overwhelmed and just wanted to stay at his playschool. My heart was broken watching him struggle and we began to tell him over and over again that he was BRAVE. He is BRAVE.
Now Keller has started school, and today was a true revelation in my heart that Keller doesn't need to become brave because KELLER ALREADY IS BRAVE. Today Keller went to school just as normal but a friend who teaches in his school sent us a beautiful picture of him as he chose to be brave today and get dressed up as a skeleton which he had never done before. He was smiling with pride and my momma heart soared to know he is choosing bravery in something that was an obsticle before.
Every day at school, without the help of his obsessively loving parents, Keller is choosing to be brave and step into new and unknown things. We watch from the sidelines and cheer from the background and couldn't be more proud of him.
But as I cheer I can hear God speaking very clearly to me about my own path and the obstacles that are in my way. Just as we have been telling Keller to be brave, God has been telling ME that it's my turn to be brave. It's time for ME to choose bravery.
Having a child with special needs is a journey that is hard to even describe to those who haven't walked this path. You live constantly planning, thinking, therapizing, sacrificing and praying for your child and each day is a challenge to tackle. We have walked that road for three years, but now our little miracle is flying into his own world and living bravely all the things we have taught him. It is stunning to watch your child thrive, but can I be honest that it's also strangely painful to see your child fly away. I have walked with Keller every step of his past three years and what he is doing now is beyond my wildest dreams, and when I am honest it also causes a sharp pain in my heart because I am no longer needed. This calling that was put on my life to be a special needs mother, the calling I never asked for and never-ever wanted is now part of my identity. But what happens if it's NOT my identity any more? What I never wanted is now so deeply who I am that I do not know how to separate from it. Part of me doesn't want to separate from it. All of me doesn't know how to separate from it.
And so in this confusion and heart pang God is telling ME now to choose bravery. God knows my hurt and searching and has gone before every moment I am feeling. God is telling me to choose to be brave, even when I would rather cry and be overwhelmed like Keller has in previous times. God is telling me to BE BRAVE. May we always choose to be brave.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – NELSON MANDELA