Having a family member with hidden disabilities often means that we need to give up our “ideal” version of reality for an altered version of reality. As a Christian, we need to remember that this different version of reality is not second best, but God’s perfect plan for our lives. God has reminded me of this truth several times this week in unexpected ways.
For the past few months, my husband’s disability has left him unable to drive. He also had knee surgery in June and has had to find rides twice weekly to physical therapy. We’re relying on friends and neighbors much more than we ever could have imagined…particularly since I recently started a new job 40 minutes from home. At the same time, the children have all started in new schools. I think I’ve mentioned here before that our kids have attended the same small, private Christian school for the last five years and this year we’ve enrolled them in public school. My new job has me once again struggling with the strange role-reversal that God has for me and my husband. Another one of my struggles has been that we would lose the close-knit Christian community in our church school.
Last week, during my daughter’s second week of public school, I received a call from the school nurse saying that my third grader hurt her knee and needed to come home. I haven’t accrued any leave time at my new job and I was forty minutes away from home. My husband was home, but couldn’t drive to go get her. I was tempted to despair. Ten minutes later my husband called me with a lift in his voice. “I’m home with Meg,” he said. “Who gave you a ride?” I asked, confused. “I went across the street and asked Al,” he replied. Al has been our neighbor for years but we’ve never really known him. I discovered that Ben has been building a relationship with him each morning as they wait for the school bus with our other neighbors and their children. In fact, Al is now on the schedule to give Ben a ride to physical therapy this week.
Today I received a text from a new friend whose daughter is in school with my third grader. This mom had graciously offered to give my daughter a ride home from an after-school program even though her own daughter wasn’t participating. Today she texted me with the name and phone number of another mom in our community whose daughter is in the after-school program Meg joined. “Carolyn will be happy to drive Meg home twice a week,” she texted me. My eyes filled with thankful tears…I’ve never met Carolyn, and I barely know the mom who had coordinated these rides.
I know it takes a village to raise a child. I have three children and a disabled husband. Coordinating rides for my husband and children has left me feeling that it takes a small city to care for our family! But as our circumstances continue to change, as I am drawn farther from home and our children are drawn farther from the safety of our church school, I see God enlarging our village. I am overwhelmed with thanks and look forward to meeting new villagers over the coming months. God is with us, and we are thankful for the ways He continues to surprise us with His care.