evan- teaching us how to love


In the past several months God has been showing me the contrast between my current circumstances and those of my friends with teens.  So many friends and family have teens who cause them such heartache and act unkind and disrespectful.  These teens cause their parents such sadness and fear.  Drugs, alcohol, sex, diseases, emotional destruction etc…

They love their kids and yet, they have to stand by and watch them make life altering decisions, maybe even to death.  The dreams and expectations of these parents, for their kids, are dashed and they agonize over what is happening in front of their eyes. They stand by relatively powerless. We all know that God can intervene, but these kids are in a world where free choice dominates.  They live in such a seductive world and it makes anything I lived through look like a paddy cake.

When Ev was born, we were excited and had all the expectations of most parents.  We had no reason to believe anything was abnormal.  About 5 months into it, I noticed that he was not achieving the same milestones his little friends were… and the process of diagnosis began.  My heart was broken and fearful.  We went to our elders and pastor and I wept deeply saying,  ” I am not the one to do this job.  I can’t handle this.  I am not the one. I am not prepared to parent a child like this.  I am ill equipped.  God has made a mistake!”  Sounds stupid now.

I was devastated!!!  The heartache was indescribable.  I thought I would never emerge from the darkness.  It was as though the Earth spun so fast that I flew off.  I was out of sync with anything I had previously known.  I literally felt like I had spun off the face of the Earth. I no longer even knew myself.

I looked around me in every setting and saw typical children with their smiling mothers and my heart ached so deeply.  Yet I had to put on a face and walk on.  I secretly felt cheated.  We were an infertile couple and this was our one and only pregnancy.   I felt like the world saw us as a couple who had gotten damaged goods.  While in the grocery store, I was so in love with this kid, but really did not want anyone to look into my car seat, because I might have to explain something.  I was so ill equipped for all of this that I wanted to jump out of my skin.

The care giving was very exhausting and getting medical attention from our location in Lake Tahoe meant that we traveled constantly, to Sacramento and Davis.  We were both working and exhausted. We had therapists invading our private lives, and I felt violated to have to open up my most vulnerable situation to virtual strangers.  But I had to put aside my sense of privacy for the good of my son.

Again as the years moved on, I still looked at everyone around me and their kids were playing soccer and baseball and they were in the school plays and getting nice grades… and a twinge of jealousy washed over me time and time again… even though I had fallen madly in love with this amazing child, I still felt like I had been short changed somehow.  I felt very, very alone.  There were no other parents in town with whom I could connect.  Those were the years when I grew the most.

But lately, as Ev has become a teenager, I have been overwhelmed with the measure of love he dispenses freely and often.  Now, I have friends whose children yell at them and hurt them with words.  These kids lie to their parents and sneak out their windows.  They drink and use drugs.  They enter into relationships far beyond good judgment and wind up having meaningless sex and even getting pregnant.  Some wind up having abortions. In today’s world of technology, parents have less and less ability to guide the behavior of their teens and must watch them self destruct.

What I see out there is so frightening to me that I would not want to be the parent of a typical teen.  All of this makes these parents worry about where their kids are, who are they driving with?  What is the motive of that boy?  Is my teen telling me the truth?  Are they on the internet with some predator?  Are they being introduced to some new drug, or is someone taking advantage of them?  And the list goes on.

I Know parents have always had a hard time with teens, but today’s world is like no other.  There are more tempting options being offered up by the enemy than ever before.  But the love a parent has for their child is no different than it has ever been.  The rules have all just changed.

Many friends look at Ev and just want to soak up the love he emits.  God has gifted him with a spirit of compassion and love … and fun.  Who does not want to be around that?  It just all came wrapped in a different package.  He is also unaffected by the world.  He shines and moves through the world undefiled and pure.  It is such an honor to be his mother.  I have no heartache now.  I have an occasional sad moment when other kids are going to the prom or doing typical things, but Ev is mostly unaware that he is missing something.  He is having a wonderful life.  He has very little sadness in his life. There is no heartache in him, about him.  He is happy with himself and knows he is loved, and we as his parents have grown a lot.  We now know that we have a very special assignment and it is to be Evan’s parents and share him with a love and joy starved world.  He is to go out and share with others, the love of God that is planted within him.  He really has the very nature of God in him and it has been preserved for all to enjoy.  My heartache came early, and has now subsided.  My friends are just now experiencing a different kind of heartache, one that could scar their lives for the rest of their days.

Now, I look at my life and our “love dispenser” and  I thank God for what he has entrusted me with.  My heartache came, essentially because I did not trust God with my life.  I was still writing my own agenda and none of this fit in it.  I was not mature enough to trust that HE was making the best life for ME.   I could not see at that time, what a treasure God had given to us.  All I could see was the lack.  But when I was envying the parents of typical children in the early days, I did not realize that one day, they might envy me.


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  1. Connie Bohannon says:

    I know Nan personally and love and respect her very much for the Godly woman she is. She truly fits the Proverbs 31 woman and the verse that states, “She is a woman of strength and dignity.”

  2. Danielle Bohannon says:

    What a beautiful story of God turning our mourning into dancing! He really does know us better than we know ourselves! Praise Him for His faithfulness to us when we doubt that truth! God is so good…Thanks for the story Nancy…you are a great writer…I read it to the gal in my office :)

  3. What a wonderful story. It reminds me of my mom. While she has had a lot of heartache early on with my diagnosis and disease, she and I are best friends, even through the teenage years. She and I always joke about the perks of having a special needs child, “you get to keep them forever,” instead of having to let them go for a life away from you on their own like most parents have to mourn over.

  4. Nancy, After I read your and Evan’s inspiring story I shared it with my 18 year old son (typical sib). I took the opportunity to thank him for his dedication to resist the pull of today’s many teenage entrenchments. I reiterated your statements of the self distructive results our teenagers find themselves in with no means of recovery. His reply took me completely by surprise. I am sharing it with you because it emphasizes another way our special children bring blessings our way. He simply stated that he owed it all to Kris (his 17 year old autistic brother). I had no inclination to ask him to elaborate on this or explain himself. My gratitude was immediate and full. But without being asked, he added “All kids my age should have a brother like Kris.” He smiled, gestured with his arm towards the bedroom where his brother was and left the room.

    Many blessings to your family and especially to Evan……..Violet

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