He was the last thought I had before I left.
All the preparation, all the plans, and all the instructions- everything had been leading to this moment.
I kept thinking of all the “what-ifs’” and running them through my mind over and over. Above all else, while getting ready to leave on my extended trip, I wanted to make sure all the preparations were in place.
Right before I boarded the plane to fly across the country, I said a silent prayer for God’s protection and covering on my son with special needs.
His special needs make him so vulnerable, so helpless, and so dependent on us.
My last thoughts as I departed were about him. My last words to him were to reassure him of my love, and that I would return.
During this Holy Week, we will recount the Easter story. Messages will be delivered, blogs will be written, and stories will be expressed telling the story of the cross and the resurrection.
One of my favorite parts of the Easter story will garner little attention. It may not even be discussed or mentioned. Most people will overlook this powerful nugget of hope.
But as a parent of a child with special needs, it is one of the most endearing, treasured, and relatable aspects of the entire story to me.
When this journey as a special needs parent gets unbearable and I give in the fears that whisper in my ear, I have to stop to remember the moment.
After one last meal with his disciples, one last teaching moment, one last powerful demonstration of his purpose, He slipped out of the upper room.
He walked through the dark city and its alleys headed for the Mount of Olives, and the moment from which all history would be marked.
He walked with the purpose of God and the pain of man.
And just like me, preparing to leave on my extended trip, His mind had to be on the preparations. He was leaving his children behind, had He done enough for them? What did they need to know?
He passed through the Kidron Valley and began his ascent up the Mount of Olives where the Garden of Gethsemane awaited Him.
That’s when it happened. That’s the moment you and I as special needs parents cannot miss.
Jesus pauses on his walk. He turns his gaze and voice to Heaven, and He begins to pray.
“Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. “
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” (John 17:17-20)
Did you catch that last request? When he prayed for “all those who will ever believe in me through their message,” that’s you and me!
We were the last thought on his mind before leaving this earth. He wanted to make sure that you and I were protected, loved, and would never be alone.
Jesus was asking God to take care of you, to claim you as family, and for you and I to be united in His love. He wanted us to be reassured that He would not forget us.
You are never alone. God’s grace allows room for your doubts. God’s grace allows room for your fears. And God’s grace means you never leave His thoughts.
You are loved beyond measure. It’s the last thing He wanted you to know. You are not forgotten.