Grace, Learning Challenges, and The Short Bus


"Mama rode the short bus..."


Sounds like a "Your Mama" joke, but it's no joke,  cause this Mama did.  Ride the short bus to school.


The short bus arrived early for the students who needed a little extra help with basic reading and writing.  I was on that bus, along with the ESL crew and other "slow kids."  We listened to Peter Rabbit and the Briar Patch, wearing puffy pleather earphones, turning the page when the recording when "Ding."  Then the school bell went "Brrring", and the average and smart joined us for the rest of the day.

Some time after lunch I'd get pulled again... for speech therapy.  So there I was, the girl who stuttered when reading aloud, who struggled through her multiplication table, and couldn't say an R or L to save her life.  That was me, the one who almost repeated fourth grade.

Then Middle School was a puddle of Cs, except for the D of my bra size, which was even more embarrassing than my lousy grades.  But somehow I managed to survive that too.  And by the time I hit High School my bra size went down, and my grades went up.

The change in size had more to do with losing my baby fat than anything else, but the grades I attribute entirely to my poetry closet - a cube shaped space behind a narrow door in my room.  In that closet, decorated with pictures of the ocean, I wrote a love song to River Phoenix.  And in that closet I learned to pray.  And in that closet I read God's Word in my Precious Moments Bible.  And as I did, there in that closet, I started to embrace who I was.


Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Me.


For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

(Psalm 139:13-14)


Now here I am, on the other side of the short bus, many years past Elementary School, Jr. High, High School, and my little girl bedroom with a canopy bed and that poetry closet.  Having since graduated College Summa Cum Laude, worked successfully as an actress, married a loving man, and birthed three baby boys.

But my highest achievement is something I NEVER had to earn.  It was God's sweet Saving Love, through Grace.  Not because of my wits or my charm, my grades, income, or which bus I rode upon.  It was simply that God gave me the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the mind to perceive...


His.  Great. Love. For. Me.


And that Salvation truth is the bus I take today,
it is the ride that can take us all the way to Heaven for an eternity.
No grades can earn that bus ticket.  It's free.
And that Grace is my identity today,
covering and displacing the insecurities of my youth.


And I know, in the deepest, most honest parts of me, I would choose the gift of this grace over a high IQ and AP courses for my children any day!  But here's my awful confession:  Sometimes I forget.  I forget how God can use the stuttering Moses.  And I forget how God looks at the David heart.  And I forget how Grace applies, when I start judging, labeling, even shaming my boys for their own learning challenges.

The one who can't focus, and the one who's behind, and the other who suddenly lost every bit of knowledge he learned last year.  So I harp and wag my finger, as though the nagging will increase their smarts.  Then huff and walk away when the little one can't remember how to count by 2s, and the middle-est can't remember 9x7, and the oldest won't sit still to have a deep conversation with me about his summer reading.


I know a therapist could have a field day with this post!  But I don't need any professional to tell me this:
The grace I received, is my legacy to pass down.  As much as their speech impediments and reading challenges may have come from my side of the gene pool, so grace and love are mine to impart as well.


So tomorrow, before I bring them all my grace-forgetting tendencies, I will climb back into the quiet space of my heart and mind, so very much like my poetry closet, and remember again that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and so are they.

God has wonderful things in store for each one of our children... which may or may not include a full-ride ticket to an Ivy League school.  But I know without a doubt that every good thing God prepared for my boys will come to pass.


The timing

and the blooming

and the grace-believing harvest

belong to Him...