“Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout triumphantly to Him in song.
For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods.”
When Thanks Is Hard to Give
I dropped my body into my favorite chair and stretched out my legs, hoping the soft embrace of my chaise lounge would comfort more than my tired bones.
After two months, and more than 10 assessments with our 8-year-old little girl who has special needs, my husband and I met with her school’s IEP team and developmental specialists to discuss results so we could develop a therapy and educational plan for the next year.
The first meeting lasted two hours. The second meeting lasted three. And I’m not exaggerating.
Nothing prepares you for times like these.
During the first meeting, I took endless notes so I would’t forget anything. I wanted to remember all the medical terms and glean insights from observations they’d made during Aster’s evaluations. I listened as her specialist shared how some scores went down instead of up, and I remember feeling a surprising sense of peace and strength.
After a year of extensive weekly and daily exercises and occupational therapy, Aster’s visual memory and perceptual processing had decreased, which caused a lot of concern. But there were areas where she had made progress, so we tried to focus on those. Still, before I left, her specialist wrote a referral for us to see pediatric neurologist for more testing next month.
On the way home I felt numb. And then I cried.
A few days later we had our second meeting with Aster’s IEP team at school. Peace and strength didn’t show up this time. In fact, tears filled my eyes as I listened to the school psychologist give an overview of the tests our brave girl had taken and how inconsistent scores made it hard for them to draw a clear conclusion. I understood.
The past six years have felt like a puzzle we can’t solve, so we just keep trying to find all the pieces.
Five presentations and three hours later, I had eaten almost all the chocolate covered short-bread mini star cookies I brought to share. We signed forms and thanked each person there for being incredibly thorough and developing the best individualized education plan they could for our daughter this year.
I walked out of that meeting with a stack of papers and information I did’t know how to process. And I went home where I let the weight of it all sink into the cushions of my chaise lounge.
I knew I needed God.
I needed Him to hold me and help me not sink into sadness. I needed Truth to untangle my racing thoughts and over-analyzing tendencies. But I was tired and didn’t feel like reading, journaling, crying or praying.
I don’t know why but I opened my Bible anyway. And there it was; a verse I did not want to see:
Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout triumphantly to Him in song. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. (Psalm 95:2-3)
How in the world was I supposed to do that? I didn’t have thanks to give and triumphant was no where close to how I felt.
But I kept reading.
Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the sheep under His care. (Psalm 95:6-7)
I found thanks I could give.
But it wasn’t until I let God remind me, through Scripture, Who He is and how much I am kept under His care. How closely He holds my little girl because He is her God. I am His sheep and she is His lamb.
Jesus is my daughter’s Shepherd and her life is in His pasture, not mine.
I stayed in my comfortable chair that night and knelt my heart before my Maker. I claimed His triumph over my daughter’s unknown future and I thanked Him for being a good Father by providing support and resources we need, surrounding us with people who look like His hands and feet, and helping me see thanks that I could give when it was hardest to find.
What can you give thanks for today?