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Saturday, October 19, 2013

When God Plans a Party


We rode around the tower several times.  Our excitement could not be contained.  The blue lights shining from the tallest tower in our city signified that people knew about autism and that they understood.  Even more apparent to me was the fact that if they didn't understand, they WANTED to understand.


I looked at the park across the street from the tower in Montgomery and saw blue shirts everywhere. Families brought their kids out in droves to see this tower beautifully lit in their honor.  That was a sight much more beautiful than the tower could ever be, as each person out there was an ambassador for hope.

You see, my little man was not in a season where the park was a possibility for us.  It was too much stimulation for him to handle.  But every single person out there in blue told me that it would not always be that way... that ONE day we would be at the park celebrating with our autism family.



The lights reminded each of us that our community was celebrating those who walked this autism journey. 20+ floors of Government offices and Corporate America proclaiming Autism Awareness with the signature blue that represents World Autism Day...

The whole thing was just beautiful.

And then the voice from the passenger seat came... and the question changed my world... and will continue changing lives around the world for years to come.

"Momma, when will they celebrate me and my dyslexia?"



((Insert silence here.))

Tears filled my eyes as I squeaked out something less than profound like, "Soon, baby.  Soon.  Maybe next year."

See, my youngest blessing (we'll call him "D") has autism.  My eldest ("B") has dyslexia.

One child's exceptionality was being shouted from the rooftops and I was so happy about that.  The other was being whispered on a good day, but more often than that, it was being pushed under the rug.  And it broke my heart...

What B did not know is that I had spent the last 5 years begging people to say the "D word."

While I found a few willing folks here and there, countless hours of IEP meetings, testing, trainings, and so much more had left me in a heap of doubt.  I just wasn't sure if dyslexia would ever be understood and integrated into our schools like autism had been.  For my son and the 1 in 5 who have dyslexia, this was a tragedy.

Then, I thought of a sweet friend of mine.  Her child has a diagnosis shared by only 100 people in the WORLD.  How she must long for even just a moment where someone can relate to their circumstances... and how many more families are out there looking for the same?

This conversation played in my mind for months and I knew it would be a disservice to the world if it stayed there.

I began steps to start a 501(c)3 called Roundtable Solutions (because EVERYONE has equal position at a round table) and prepared to give our families, kids, and educators a voice.  Our goal would be to connect solutions, hope and acceptance for EVERY exceptionality.

The God-sized vision that I was given was that we would equip and inspire for our families, educators, and community members through community, technology, resources, and prayer coverage.  We would build relationships that spoke the languages of acceptance and grace and WE would be the change that I had so often wanted to find in the world.

Roundtable Solutions was created to be the special education 'city on a hill' and today we're working to finalize 501(c)3 paperwork.  Even without it, though, God has grown this group into a community and we're doing His work.

In honor of my 11 year old visionary, B, our first project would be "Dyslexia Day" and we'd start our celebratory efforts with the tower.  Our lights were about to shine... literally!  And not just our lights... the lights of many, many others to come!

Here's the fun part.  I've never planned anything bigger than a class reunion.  So, I was going to shoot out an email to the tower owners and ask for red lights (my son's favorite color) on a set date. Simple stuff.

They agreed.  It was done.

Or so I thought...

God is, apparently, quite the Event Planner and He had MORE in mind!

So, we added some balloon animals to the mix and balloon decor that would knock anyone socks off.  Yeah.  That would be fun.




What about face painting?  Well sure.  Face painting would be great.  Add a local ARTIST (like sells paintings for a living ARTIST) to mix?  Sure.  Why not! :)



And then it got bigger....

A bouncy house was donated by a family who loved a child with dyslexia.



Tables and chairs were rented and delivered to us by their business, also, who felt the same and thought our kids were worth the donation.

Musicians agreed to play because they loved my child with dyslexia and saw the vision for greater good.




A local photographer jumped on board to commemorate the event for families because he wanted to be the change.


Press coverage came out of the woodwork to talk about dyslexia awareness.  Newspaper, radio, TV...

Dance teams, cheerleaders, volunteers, prayer coverage, cupcakes.... the list goes on.


And God's Romans 8:28 stamp on the whole thing?

The Mayor of the City agreed to sign a Dyslexia Awareness Proclamation...



Read that again.  
Not only were we SAYING the "D word", but we were making it OFFICIAL.  We wrote it down! :)



How great is our God?

I want you to know that we serve the God that will use every bump, bruise, testing, wait, and diagnosis for our good and His glory.  He'll change your world, the world of those you love, and the rest of the world through the very thing that you thought might break you.

But, now... now, the disclaimer.

During our first Roundtable Solutions function, we did have a hiccup.  Isn't that so representative of life on this side of heaven?  There was a hiccup... and it was big.

The lights did not turn red when they were supposed to....  so we waited.

And we waited a teeny bit more.

They flipped on and we cheered with excitement...  and then they flipped back off to their normal color.

At first, I was so disillusioned.


Wasn't this what we centered the whole party around?  The marketing nerd in my head was having a heart attack... even though I was smiling.  (The marketing nerd is a multi-tasker!) :)

But the GOD of my mind and heart was not caught off guard at all!

See, lights on and lights off are so representative of the journey our families face.  Some days the world has light bulb moments.  Some days they "get it."  And special education families CHEER when they do! It's amazing!

Other days?  It's status quo... just white lights.

The average bystander doesn't notice because the world is going on and it's still beautiful, but our families notice... and it hurts our heart a little bit.  The world is still beautiful, but a piece, for us, is missing.


So, thanks to an unexpected technology moment that we never would have cheered about, we received REAL LIFE APPLICATION of what special education families live every single day.  What a blessing and CERTAINLY something to cheer about!

...

As I told our crowd that night, every inch of that park had been walked over and literally prayed over by me and by our volunteers  prior to the event and during the event.  Our prayer team was covering the park as all of this played out. :)

We prayed Jeremiah 29:11 and we prayed Romans 8:28... and I BELIEVED (even with white lights) that whatever God had in store here was for our good.  Even for the good of our little event.

And, OH HOW HE SHOWED UP!

We ended up "Shedding Light on Dyslexia" for several DAYS instead of just one evening.  The RSA Tower group was so fantastic in filling in the gap and then some!

The oohs and ahhs from our families as their kids (and my kid!) realized that THEY were celebrated is a sound that I won't ever forget.




THIS is what it looks like when the lights are on.  This is what it looks like when folks "get it" ... or even want to get it.






You see, when God plans a party, He goes big and doesn't leave one detail undone.



He even topped ours off with a movie screening by my son's school the next night.  (This school has so much vision for our kids!)

My fella got to open the movie with his school Director by introducing himself and his school.  A sweet surprise to follow that up? One of the pictures was shared by Dislecksia: The Movie on their FB page.  He was a spokesperson for himself and his peers.  What a gift that will be stamped in his heart and mind for a lifetime!



This was never about us.  It's all about God and a much bigger plan... what He has for special needs families.  Roundtable Solutions and this Mommy/son combo are simply blessed to be chosen for the journey.  (Dyslexia and special needs as a blessing?  Yep.  Only God can pull that off, friends!)

We're raising world changers that will be signing their own proclamations and agreeing to light up their towers one day.  So, keep an eye out.  You'll need these kids in your world.

In the meantime, the party continues! Dyslexia Day will be EVERY year for the 1 in 5 (we're hoping for the 15th going forward!) and Redeeming Red will continue on that day and every day.

Red is no longer the color on our kids' papers that remind them of their deficiencies.  It stands a color redeemed.... a redeemed POWER COLOR to empower them in God's love.  Redeeming Red will continue with us and beyond.  Stay tuned!

©Christie Aitken, 2013
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1 comment :

  1. A little side note? My 5 year old stayed at the park this year for the WHOLE celebration! :) That's just God showing off, huh? :) Miracles, favor, healing, and hope!

    ReplyDelete