• Amber Albee Swenson

Master Weaver, weave this story, too

I'm not sure I've made it through a parent/teacher conference without crying, at least not since my son started school. School came naturally to my firstborn. My second child, my son, is magnificent, but not always in ways that can be measured at school. If you know what I'm talking about I'm giving you a high five right now.

Deep sigh. Let's make that a hug.

I vividly remember the conference with his first grade teacher (who was and still is FABULOUS!) and hearing what a joy it was to have him in her class; not because he was the first to come up with an answer, but because of the spiritual insight he added to discussions.

His second grade teacher knew early on there were problems. When I recently went to the same teacher to have a conference about my youngest daughter, she paused to lament that she didn't have the tools five years ago for my son that she has now.

That made me think of all the ways God has been faithful. There was that "chance" meeting with a friend I hadn't seen for years. She explained her own son's learning disabilities and told me where to start the process of getting my son help. That led to a diagnosis and finally a tutor; not just any tutor, but a woman who takes the time to tell us how much she enjoys our son. Just a few months before the tutoring started, God was faithful to provide me with a job to pay for the tutor.

There have been the caring teachers every step of the way; the third grade teacher who told me I could write the answers instead of watching my frustrated son struggle with the writing; the fourth grade teacher who instilled self-confidence in a child who learned a little differently; the 5-6th grade teacher who sent books home for my husband and I to keep at home so we could follow the lessons.

God hasn't taken the problems away (yet), but in His great mercy, and I do mean great, He has provided teachers who see not just the problems, but the value in my son. God has provided the means and the people to reach us with tools that allow me to better communicate with teachers and allow my son to better cope with his deficiencies.

I have been studying the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15. She's the woman who called out to Jesus to have mercy on her daughter who was suffering from an evil spirit. When Jesus didn't answer she followed Him until the disciples asked Jesus to send her away. Jesus told her, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

The woman knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

Do you know what she didn't do? She didn't tell Jesus how to help her. She didn't tell Him what was best. She knelt before Him and said, "I need help!" and left it up to Him as to what kind of help He gave.

If it were up to me, I'd have taken my son's disabilities away, but if that had happened, I'd never have seen the love in so many others. I'd never have confronted my own arrogance looking at other families and thinking if only they worked harder with their children, their children could succeed. If God removed this from us I wouldn't have seen His provision or the perfect plan He was weaving for my son, whom He loves.

I see the blessing in that struggle, but there are other struggles I'm in the midst of that aren't falling into place. I don't see God working or know what the answer will be. I feel like that Canaanite woman calling after Him, but not hearing the answer.

Yesterday I hid in the bathroom for a while to pray. When I emerged I went to my daughter's basketball game and sat by someone I'd never talked to before; someone who was also feeling overwhelmed, and together we laughed at our inability to cope while trying to teach children to cope. I saw others who were clearly overwhelmed, which made me wonder if you, too, aren't feeling a little overwhelmed with life.

So often I fail to see the blessings of friendship or encouragement because I'm looking for answers. And in my mind the answers look the way I want them to look. But God in His infinite wisdom responds with, "You do not know what you are asking" or "You do not understand now, but you will."

And so I put my hand in my Heavenly Father's and try to trust and be still and let Him do the work of untangling strings and weaving a new path. And to those of you, who like me, tend to think that if you're not untangling strings the world may fall apart, take advice from a woman who also gets weary: life is too hard to untangle on your own. Give those threads to the One who can handle it, and emerge from the bathroom.

This, too, will pass and become another story of God's faithfulness.

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