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Gasps and Growing

Earlier this week we visited Little Rock, Arkansas.  It was an extremely quick trip, there and back in about 38 hours. I was invited to interview with FamilyLife for their radio program. The program isn't available yet so I can't share links for it, but you can check out the FamilyLife website if you're interested in knowing more about them. ( The program will air sometime in Septmeber, and I will share it with you guys then!

I interviewed with FamilyLife about my book,
Through the Eyes of Hope.

We left the studio at 3pm and had a six hour drive ahead of us. We hoped to get home around 10pm and get the boys to bed. That was the plan. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. The first big snag was when I locked my keys in the car. That set us back a good hour.

Christian had dropped his iPod shuffle in the floor while I was driving, so when we stopped for gas, I tried to find it for him. It keeps him busy on the drive when there isn't much for him to do but sit and wait. So, we stopped for gas in Earle, Arkansas, and, trying to be smart with our time, we knew that this tank full would get us all the way home.

I got Christian out of the car and looked all over the floor and around his car seat. The iPod was nowhere, of course. Both boys were doing the potty dance, so I told Christian I would look again after we used the bathroom. So, I closed the doors and started walking towards the gas station. Before I even got passed my car, my dad who came with me says, "Do you have your keys?" In that instant I knew I didn't.

I had laid them in Christian's car seat to free my hands to look for the iPod and that's where they lay. I have the type of car that has the keyfob that won't allow you to lock your keys in your car. Unfortunately, the keyfob broke about a year ago and the dealership gave us an estimate of $150 just to reprogram it, and that price was for what they guessed to be wrong. If it was something else, it could be even more. I plan to get it fixed eventually. It just hasn't happened yet. *sigh*

Oh no!!!!! So, I immediately started trying to call a locksmith. NO ONE would answer their phone. It was the day after the Fourth of July, and I guess everyone was closed.  I called at least half a dozen places with no success. Great! So, we went to the cash register and asked the clerk if they knew if the local police department would come pop a lock. They said no. I called anyways, and they didn't answer!!!!  I was {    } <----this close to panicking. I mean, I was basically out of options. How were we going to get home?

Finally, I asked the clerks if they had a wire hanger. What else could we do? Breaking into my car was really all we had left. One of the clerks immediately began searching for a hanger for us. She spent a good ten minutes looking for a hanger, calling another part of the store to ask if they had one, even searching in her car for one. She finally came back with two hangers! Those hangers looked like salvation!

Not only did she produce a hanger, she came out to help us pop the lock! My dad pried my door back while she got the hanger inside and after just a couple of minutes, she was able to press down on my unlock button and unlock the doors! Unsung hero, y'all!!!!!

My dad grabbed his wallet to give her some money, but she refused to accept it!  She helped us just because she saw that we needed help. I am so thankful that if we had to get locked out of our car, it happened there at the gas station she worked at. If she had not helped us, I have no idea what we would've done.

So, we were finally back in our car. What a relief! My car alarm was going off and everyone was staring and I was so happy to just be in my car that I didn't care! lol!

We went on our way  towards home. By this time it was 6pm and we were still in Arkansas. We had only made it about 1/3 of our trip home.  So there was no way we would be home by 10pm now, but maybe 10:30 or 10:45pm if the rest of the trip went smoothly.

The rest of the trip did not go smoothly. -_-

About an hour after the keys-locked-in-car incident, the boys had to potty again. So, I pulled off the highway and found another gas station. Christian was literally about to pee on himself, so I jumped out of the car, grabbed him, and began a mad dash to the restrooms.

About the time we got to the door, a mother and her teenage daughter were standing there, and I had to step ever so slightly around them. In my mad rush, I was concerned about preventing Christian from peeing on himself, but just happened to notice the look on the face of the teenage daughter as we got closer to her and the gas station door. Ugh. She registered shock. I had no intentions of responding to that. I never do, anyways, but Christian needed to potty, and I was holding him and stood to get peed on too, if I didn't get him to a toilet soon, and that was a great concern in the moment. That all too familiar fear that I always feel in the pit of my stomach when things like this happen, it rose up, and a thousand things rushed through my head. "Please don't say anything. Please let us by. Please don't stop me to talk. Please don't stare. Please stop gawking. PLEASE JUST STOP!"

Before I could make it in the door around this mom and daughter, the daughter's look of shock turned into an audible gasp, a ridged body posture,  and terror on her face. My heart sank as my legs were still trudging towards the gas station door.  Then, as quickly as I felt the disappointment, I felt the anger rise up. Christian heard that gasp. I pray to God he didn't realize it was directed at him, but in that moment, that was all I could think. What do I tell Christian about this?

My instant reaction was to simply glare at her as I reached for the door to the building. If  looks could kill, y'all. Her mother noticed the entire incident play out. She looked from me to Christian to her daughter and back to Christian and I. She saw her daughter gasp in utter shock and fear at my child. She saw my look of disdain for her daughter's reaction, and in what I can only imagine was her  motherly instincts kicking in and attempting to help her daughter,  she said "Awwwww!" in a kind, sweet voice, and gave a large smile. I did not smile back. In fact, I was probably glaring at her too, as I shifted my eyes from her daughter to her when she spoke.

All of this transpired in literal seconds. As quickly as it happened, it was over and I was inside the gas station looking for a restroom. As I helped Christian with the toilet, I tried to register what just happened. I was angry and in disbelief, and also ashamed that I hadn't handled it better. I generally try not to glare at people in public. Generally, I try not to respond to rude people with rudeness.

Christian was saying something to me, I don't remember now what he was talking about. I just remember praying silently that he wouldn't mention what just happened, that he didn't realize what had just taken place in front of the gas station. I remember answering a question he had asked me, and I had to swallow the lump in my throat to get the words out. My legs and hands shook just slightly as I helped Christian off the toilet and to the sink.  He kept talking and I struggled to keep my voice upbeat and not let him hear the shaking in it.

As I took Christian back through the gas station to get to the car, we passed by the mother and daughter again, this time inside the store, and this time, not as close in proximity. They never looked over at me and I never looked over at them.

I kept my eyes locked straight ahead on the door and moved quickly to get Christian outside. I felt like I was running away from something. In reality, I seriously doubt they would have dared to approach us again, especially after my glaring at them, but I was terrified they would. I was terrified they would come up and try to apologize or say something about the incident, and then, if Christian hadn't realized what happened, he surely would at that point.

So, I bolted for the car, got Christian buckled in, sat down, and put the car in drive. I breathed in a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to let go of what just happened. I wish it was that easy. My shoulders slumped forward with the heavy weight of what I have carried for six years becoming just a little heavier in that moment.

Not only was I disappointed in the actions of the teenage girl, but I was also, and more so, disappointed in myself.  I could have I SHOULD have reacted better. I should have showed kindness. I was already stressed from the incident an hour earlier with my keys, and the exhaustion of an 800 mile round trip plus interviews in 38 hours was hitting me. But still,  I wish I had responded differently. In all honesty, I probably just built a barrier for that family when it comes to people with disabilities rather than a bridge, and that's not who I want to be. That's not who I am or what I am called to do.

When the pain of incidents like this is fresh, it's hard to remember, but I know overall, this will make me stronger. I will be a better person for having experienced this. I will allow God to use this to teach me, refine me, and help me be better than I was in that moment. Thank God that the incident didn't end when I walked out of the gas station. It continues inside of me while I process it and learn what God wants to teach me through it.


  1. We are all human, and accept that about yourself. Feelings come up and it does not define you as a person. I am so sorry this happened to you, but please be gentler on yourself. You are human and were exhausted, and had to kids to deal with, and wanted to get home. Don't allow others opinion to define who you are. Everybody does not understand special needs, and that's not your problem to change everybody.


  2. Many years ago, I had to take my boss' daughter (17) to the airport. While we were waiting for her flight, a man came into the waiting area. He had one normal arm and one extremely deformed small arm that just hung slightly below the shoulder. I had to listen to this young lady tell me over and over how she absolutely could not sit next to this man on her flight. I wanted to smack her silly. I wondered at that point what her parents were (or were not) teaching her. I tried very hard as a parent to teach my son that everyone is to be treated with respect and kindness. Hopefully it was a teachable moment for the mom, even if after the fact.

  3. I'm sorry you have to deal with things like this. It sounds D's to me, like this was also a learning experience for this mother and daughter. I don't think either of them meant to be unkind, and this made the mother realize that she needed to talk to her daughter about her reactions to those that may be a little different than she is. Just so thankful that Christian didn't know.

  4. You were in mom mode you should not feel bad at all. The teenager may learn from this. Not all people are the same in this world. I have always taught my kids that not everybody people are going to be different people are going to look different maybe that Mom and teenager had a long talk along the way wherever they were going. It was probably meant for you to lock your keys out of your car forever thing to play out the way it did maybe the teenager needed a little wake up call I've always been taught that everything happens for a reason and if I'm late or something happens I used to get mad and aggravated but I don't do that anymore I'm like okay for some reason something slowing me down or it happened for a reason. And if that little girl had talked to Christian she would have understood he is one of the sweetest children God ever put on this Earth.

  5. Oh momma... Although I am so sorry that you were so stressed this story however warmed my heart so much. Just LOOK at what God is doing in you and how he is using Christian for so many wonderful things. What an honor it is to be his mommy and to create understanding where there is ignorance and to show love where there is well....everything else. I am so proud of the woman you have become and I adore your sweet beautiful family so much. Thank you for being so brave to share your story with everyone. I haven't walked in your shoes but I do know what it's like to worry about your child being made fun of or talked about. I do know what it's like to feel completely exhausted from carrying heavy loads for years and I do know what it's like to pray through hard situations trying your hardest to react how God would want you to and feeling like you're just going to fall apart. Those are some difficult challenges in life momma and you are doing an amazing job. I pray God continues to bless your family as he guides you on this ever so wonderful path he's chosen you all for. Love you girl! -Ashley Franklin

  6. Lacey, I'm sure that if the urgency to get Christian to the toilet hadn't been your top priority, you absolutely would have responded differently. Don't beat yourself up about something you probably couldn't control. Your stress levels were already at maximum high levels and this was the last straw.

    By pouring it out to God and asking forgiveness, you know it's been made right. You also know you'll handle it differently if the situation happens again. That's all you can do.

    By educating others, you do a wonderful job protecting Christian from the hurts in this world. I admire you SO much. Thank you for sharing stories from your life, even when they're not the happy, cheerful upbeat ones. You share your real life with us, and that is a rare gift.

  7. as i read-i saw you, getting IT, what god wants to teach you-simply, be the change, you want to see and from someone who locked their keys in their car-one time too many-i now have a spare key, taped to the back of a business card in my wallet and believe me, i've had to use it a few times.

  8. My son had down syndrome. He's high functioning, sweet, kind of looks like a Mexican Harry potter. I receive a stupid letter every year around the holidays from some Neanderthal telling me my son is an abomination and he's being punished for my sins. First letter, I flipped my lid.....second the same. He's 9 now, they still come, I just don't care anymore. You can't fix people, you can try to educate....but at our current climate...... it's tough. Much love to you and yours......always.

  9. Sorry.....has down syndrome.....dang auto correct.

  10. Christian is truly an inspiration to all of us.My children (4 over 18 and one that is 6) have 3 stepsisters that were adopted with down syndrome. my 18 year old daughter is starting college to be a teacher for special needs.... i must have taught them something right because the love children/adults with special needs..youbare doing a wonderful job wirh Christian and i wish that one day we could meet you..Chritiam wojld get the biggest hug we could give him❤❤

  11. Your harrowing experience affected me greatly, I couldn't sleep the night I read it, I really wanted to give you all a big hug. I couldn't stop thinking about what had happened to you and why it had happened. Suddenly it dawned on me that God is using you and darling Christian to teach others humility. That Mom must have been mortified at her daughter's reaction and would have spoken to her about it. Neither of them will forget C and that young girl may become a great helper in people who are not as able as she is. You two may be creating our future heroes who will be helping those less fortunate in theither time. I hope this brings you some joy as your photos and stories bring me. Love to you all. XxX

  12. Three thoughts: Jesus was so angry at the disrespect the vendors were showing toward the Father's house that he tore the temple apart and trashed the place. I think that you reacted from a place of love and protection towards your son and do not need to feel bad about it. I don't see how any part of your reaction was out of place. Second, perhaps the teen's reaction was more of a compassionate, "Oh no, poor little guy, looks like he really hurt his eyes!!" Last of all, in 1979 I had an emergency C-section due to my son's foot and cord being born first. My full term, healthy son experienced breathing difficulties after delivery, so the dr. resuscitated him several times. After 15 mins. of breathing intervention, rather than calling in an emergency team, my dr. refused to continue resuscitation and allowed my newly born son to die. The dr. told me later that day, to my face, "I figured he may have had brain damage and was better off...". Then he ended his shift at the hospital, went home to his family, and I was left with a belly full of staples, emotionally in shock and trying to figure out how to plan my son's funeral...

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