I once sat in the kitchen of my aunt’s house feeling spiritually broken. She looked into my eyes and said “Baby, what are you worrying about? Don’t you know we serve a God that specializes in Great Outcomes? Just pray about it.”
Now as I stand with my dyslexic son Jacob, at the threshold of a bachelor’s degree in Entertainment Business obtained in three years of college, I am overwhelmed and reminded that “Our God specializes in great outcomes. All I got to do is pray.”
Jacob was diagnosed with dyslexia very early in life. By the time he reached the first grade, everyone knew he had an issue, and it wasn’t just writing his letters backwards. He had an auditory processing issue, which means he could not hear phonetic sounds. (I’m was thinking how is this child ever going to learn how to read and write) They also determined he had attention deficit disorder. When all of these diagnoses were handed to us, private school was not an option. As a matter of fact, this all took place while we were living in the valley in sunny California, and I was in the process of unraveling my business relationship with my “friends” and looking for work. His nice little public school decided they did not have time to show Jacob or me any mercy. They wanted an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and demanded that he be placed on Ritalin. My sister, who lived near us at the time, was furious and stated she was praying against the diagnosis and would not speak to me if I agreed to place him on the medication.
I informed the school that I would not be placing Jacob on the medication. When the principal asked what was I planning to do then.
“I’m going to pray,” I said.
“I am an atheist,” he said, chuckling. “And I definitely know that won’t work.”
I thought “that’s what’s wrong at this school, the head is all screwed up.”
However, I began to pray and to ask my family to pray, as well. Over the next few weeks, the principal and the administration decided that Jacob should be placed in a school for behavior issues. I insisted that his behavior or disturbance problems were because of the dyslexia and not because he was ADHD. One of my sister’s friends said she had been through a similar situation and to just remain in prayer and trust God. The principal kept probing me and stated that they were almost done with the paperwork. Jacob would be receiving the transfer soon. He also said he would give me one more chance to reconsider giving him the medication as he felt that I didn’t realize how severe the issues were with the kids at the behavior school. I concluded that I would just remain in prayer and if he had to go there, then God would cover him. I believed that God would cover him but I was scared.
During this time, I had noticed this other school – Chandler Elementary. It wasn’t far from our house and the kids seemed happy there. Every time I drove past, I felt this sense of peace. So one evening I just prayed in the car under my breath, nothing serious “God I want that type of environment for Jacob.” I didn’t think much more about it as we waited to hear about the transfer date to the behavior school.
We waited about 2-3 weeks, and then finally the principal sent a note home with Jacob that he wanted to meet with me the next day to discuss Jacob’s transfer. I dropped Jacob off the next morning and headed to the principal’s office to receive the news and transfer dates. He asked that I sit.
“I really was set on transferring your son to the behavior school,” he said. “But my spirit wouldn’t let me rest with my decision. I have to be honest. Jacob doesn’t really deserve to go there.”
He went on to say Jacob was severely dyslexic and needed to be at a school that can help him function properly. Then he said Jacob would be transferred to Chandler Elementary, a very nice school with an amazing program for kids with learning disabilities.
I began to cry and thank him because whether he knew it or believed it, the Holy Spirit had moved him to do what was just and fair by my child. Jacob was transferred and he loved his new peaceful, amazing school and it was on my way to work and on my way home so no one was inconvenienced.
Also, a few weeks after he left, all the kids from his old class, the ones who had been annoyed and disturbed by him and his behavior, wrote him letters about how much they missed him. I keep those letters in a shoebox for Jacob as a reminder of God’s favor and how he can change the heart of man. I could go on and on about God’s favor in Jacob’s life. How when we moved back to Atlanta, God moved the judge to rule on our behalf and make his Dad pay for Jacob to attend this program providing him with all the tools he needed to succeed in school and provide him with his core phonetic principles. In middle school, Jacob was blessed with a counselor that wrote a grant for him to receive hundreds of dollars worth of software so he could write term papers and do other grammar properly and remain on grade level.
And so the story goes – Jacob passed the dreaded state of Georgia senior test on his second try, he graduated and was accepted into Full Sail University, not a traditional school but an accredited and industry respected institution that has been very supportive of Jacob and his dyslexia. In October of this year he will graduate with a bachelors degree obtained in exactly three years of college. I have been praying for that boy all his life, and when things get tough or I get scared, I only a pray a little prayer. Sometimes it’s our “little prayers” that pack a big punch and yield some of our greatest outcomes.
Tracey Baker-Simmons is a Christian, Wife, Mother, Visionary, Executive Producer, Boss, Lecturer. Nurturer, Teacher. Professor, Leader, and Giver. She works as a development executive in television and resides in North Bergen, NJ with her husband Karriem and her son Jacob (when he is not away at college). She loves GOD above ALL!! Follow her on Twitter @tbakersimmons.