The new thing God is doing for Abbey, daughter of guest blogger Kimberly Drew, is a source of hope for Abbey, for Kimberly, for their family, for Abbey’s classmates, and for all who read this lovely story. You are advised to get a tissue now. You will need it!
A New Thing God Is Doing for Abbey
I remember lying awake the night before Abbey started high school and just praying over and over again, “Lord, please don’t let them be mean to her.”
The transition to a public high school was our first experience since preschool not being in a private school for the disabled. I was worried Abbey would be made fun of in her new school. She might not be aware of that, it hurt my heart just to think about it. When a regular school bus with an aide stopped at the end of the driveway we sent her off with tears in our eyes and hope in our hearts. I had no idea what was in store.
I wish I could explain all that has happened over the last two years of school for Abbey. She just finished her sophomore year with a bang. In a school just shy of 1,000 students, the social climate has allowed her to thrive. At the first back-to-school night several students from her self- class came up to meet Abbey’s mom.
One student with Downs syndrome told me Abbey, who is nonverbal, was one of her best friends. “I totally love her!” she said.
After 15 years, I finally met someone who told me that Abbey was her friend.
This new friend takes a close second place as a new thing to the fact that her teacher and personal aide made their mission: to get Abbey to use the toilet at school instead of a diaper. We had tried training Abbey countless times at home. So had her other schools with no success. But here was a team determined to see her do it. We now have a child who regularly uses the toilet, and occasionally initiates the need to use the bathroom by signing. We have now accomplished a goal that I had previously thought impossible! If you have a teenage child in diapers you know what a big deal this is and how it has changed our lives.
A new thing in third place was the call I got her freshman year about Abbey being frequently late to class. When I assured her teacher that she could probably walk faster, she let me know that it wasn’t her walking pace holding her up. She explained that too many students stopped to say hi and talk to her. So, she not only had a real friend, but also was being acknowledged by her peers in a social setting with the potential to make it embarrassing to talk to a nonverbal student.
A recent show that her class puts on in front of the whole school is the latest new thing. There sat Abbey on a stage surrounded by her neuro-typical peers who had learned sign language for the last song of the show.
The theme of the show was heros.
They had shirts made up that said “Abbey’s heros.”
With a sign language “A” in the middle of the Ssuperman logo.
Her scarf was blowing off the bottom of the logo in place of a cape.
These students don’t know about the nights we spent praying in bed.
Or the tears as the bus pulled away that first day.
They don’t know that for Abbey’s parents it was a moment of healing.
I believe in this difficult transition that the Lord had prepared a new thing for us. Where we had experienced failure and social isolation, something was new was about to break out. Isaiah 43:19 sums it up perfectly,
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
Kimberly grew up and went to college in the small town of Upland, IN. She graduated from Taylor University with a degree in Elementary Education in 2002. While at TU, she married her college sweetheart and so began their adventure! Ryan and Kimberly have three amazing kids on earth (Abigail, Jayden, and Cooper), and a baby boy waiting for them in heaven. Their daughter Abigail (Abbey) has multiple disabilities including cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, hearing loss, microcephaly, and oral dysphagia. She is the inspiration behind Kimberly’s desire to write. In addition to being a stay at home mom, Kimberly has been serving alongside her husband in full time youth ministry for almost fourteen years. She enjoys working with the senior high girls, scrapbooking, reading, and music. You can visit Kimberly at her website, Promises and Perspective.
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