To My Daughter with Learning Differences

Update!!! So excited this  was also shared on Huffington Post! Click link to check it out!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/to-my-daughter-with-learning-differences-whom-i-once_us_573a3382e4b06dede18b9937?hd45lep4nfyctyb9

This letter was written and submitted to The Mighty before I posted it here.  It is also posted on www.themighty.com with a few minor edits. I’m so grateful to my daughter for letting me share her story.  I pray it encourages others.  

Dear Daughter,

Thank you for being my child. I need you. Thank you for being you.

Although I never thought I’d say this, I’m grateful for the struggles we have had surrounding your ADHD and dyslexia and sensory issues. While I know for you, this has made school difficult, and it has made life challenging, I want to go on record and say that you have made me a better person.

I spent years wishing you were different. I didn’t want you to have to suffer. I have to admit it and we’ve talked about it before…it’s not easy to parent a child who is struggling. You become a mom who is struggling. You look at all the kids who are “thriving” and you wish they were your children. You start to resent the other moms. You close down and protect and build walls. I did all of that.

But you know what else I did? I fought for you. I fought with you. We stood together and reckoned with the future. Sometimes our fists were up and sometimes our hearts were open but we were in it. We were strong and courageous. Together.

I told you that you could do anything and you listened. You did it. High school graduation is upon us and you are headed to college.

 

natalie book

I think back to kindergarten and the teacher telling me that you didn’t quite understand the letters. In second grade when you were formally diagnosed with a learning disability, they kept saying, “She understands, she’s so smart, she just can’t decode the letters”. Or “She knows the material, she just can’t get it on paper”.

While often we were focusing on the decoding and the “treatment”, we tucked away the truth, “She’s so smart, she understands” in our hearts and we believed. I hope and pray that’s what you heard.

We had years of doctor appointments and therapy and meetings at school and tutoring and scary trips to the neurologist and so many questions. We fought for extra time on tests and notes written out. The paperwork alone takes up a whole room.

We were blessed with a school district that had resources and teachers who understood. Except for a few losers. Remember the one time we were so happy you got a D- we jumped up and down and cheered? Remember how I called your one teacher an “Asshole who doesn’t understand”? Well, I stand by that. Some people don’t get it. But because of you, I do get it. I am so grateful to be firmly planted on the side of understanding and compassion.

You can always be assured we’ve got your back.

Oh how I worried about you. I sought to understand you. I didn’t understand you. I cried and felt sorry for myself. My sense of entitlement was called into question. That one time when I was complaining to Dad and he said, “It’s not about you” was a moment of truth that changed the way I parent and live.

In an effort to get you what you needed, I called in the experts and I read the books and I prayed in a way that required surrender and trust. You gave me courage and you taught me to ask for help and you brought me closer to God.

You are heading off to college next fall and while I know I am not always a perfect mother, I can honestly say you are the perfect child for me.

I read a quote the other day that said, “Why do you keep trying to change the people God sent to change you?” This hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m sorry for trying to change you.

I think at times I might have justified my desire for you to change by explaining that it would just be easier for you if you were “like everybody else”.

I take it back.

Can I take it back?

You are a gift. You have changed me for good.

This is only the beginning. Now you get to go out and bless the world. I will be cheering you on forever. I’m thankful that I have been close enough to see you…God’s unique, beautiful creation…becoming.

So thank you daughter, for helping me become a better me.

And thank you God.

For knowing what I need and giving her to me.

I’m forever grateful.
©2016 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

Bono and The Message. Worlds collide.

When I first found The Message version of the Bible, the whole thing came alive for me.

There are so many translations but this version, by Eugene Peterson, is my favorite.  My Bible actually has the NIV version next to the Message  so it’s the best of both worlds.  As you know, I love writing and reading and words so now I have the Amplified Bible too – just to see the different words for each passage.  We also have the ESV and the King James and a bunch of study Bibles and well, you get the point.

There is a lot of chatter out there on this topic.  I have no interest in debating with the scholars.  I just know that in reading the Message, it has felt like God was sitting with me in my living room.  It has felt like He is in my marriage and my parenting and my worry and my loneliness and my laughter.  No longer was this a book to sit on a shelf and never be opened.  This was a living, breathing, manual for life.  These words were leaping off the page into my heart and found me shouting yes! yes! like Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch.  Minus the crazy.

No these words are not crazy.  They are true.  They are not only for the past, they are for NOW.  These words are alive and transformative and centering.  These words scream “YOU ARE NOT ALONE”.  These words comfort and heal and give hope and usher in peace and bring tears and laughter and wonder.

Words are so important.

The other day I learned that the word “repent” can be translated as “return” and that pretty much changed my life. No joke. This feels like it needs a whole other blog post or maybe a book.  But if we just encouraged everyone to see the word “repent” – when Jesus says it, when the church says it – if we could replace that word with “return”, think of the difference.  It’s not repent because you are terrible and awful and horrible.  It’s return to Jesus and His path and the truth.  It’s not you are doomed and miserable- it’s not a scary, depressing word…it’s you’ve just wandered away…it’s time to return.  See? It’s hope and expectation and promise and reconciliation.

Amen?

One of our required reading books for Holy Yoga is written by Eugene Peterson and it’s a guide to reading scripture.  So he’s one of my favorites.  I picture him sitting down translating the entire Bible so more people can feel the Word come alive.  The work. The time. The commitment.  Thank you Eugene Peterson for your obedience.

One of my personal missions in life is to recognize the Word of God, the truth of God, the LOVE of God in today.  In the here and now.  In our conversations and our jobs and our parenting and our relationships and our art.   Music is big for me and this conversation between Bono and Eugene Peterson just blew me away.  It’s like all the worlds I love collided.

When I think of Bono, I can’t help but remember when a friend was at the U2 concert and she called me and just held the phone up and then screamed, “Bono is God!” into the phone.  It makes me laugh. Honestly, he’s pretty cool but not God.  I do love the way he worships on stage and the way he honors God with his music.

Looks like I’m not the only one inspired by The Message.  Enjoy this.

©  2016 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™  All Rights Reserved

Trying a new thing – Great Big YES video!


Okay friends, bear with me…I just made a video.  I had something I wanted to “say” and I wasn’t sure I could write it down.  I wanted to just say it.  It has me thinking about the art of writing and the art of speaking and why sometimes speaking to me just feels more authentic.

Anyway, here’s the video.  Which I just watched and now, honestly… I’m considering podcasts…

©Sue Bidstrup, 2016  All Rights Reserved  Great Big Yes™