I learned the ‘squeaky wheel’ method from my red-headed toddler who, without any special training, was a pro. He picked his moments with deft timing— a busy grocery store, a crowded airplane, or what seemed to be his favorite, during worship. After Ian was diagnosed with his rare medical condition, as a desperate and overwhelmed young mom, I had plenty of opportunity to practice this method myself. Now as his guardian, I’ve used the method so many times that many would consider me an expert. Want some grease? Squeak until you get grease.
For no extra charge, here are my favorite strategies.
1. Never accept no for an answer.
2. Escalate, escalate, escalate
3. Make sure they see your heart. Even bureaucrats are human.
4. Kill ‘em with kindness.
5. Never burn a bridge; you may need them later.
Ian’s part-time job creating art with kids each afternoon has been both crucial and wonderful. In spite of the meager paycheck, he feels valued. More practically, it gives him a reason to get out of bed. He comes home exhausted but exuberant with kid stories and he’s painting more and grumbling less. But… I’ve been warned. His job coaching support will end March 10th. Without it, boots on the ground caution me, it’s just a matter of time before Ian will fall on his sword.
“I’m sure there are other resources that Ian qualifies for,” his employer suggests. “Perhaps this isn’t the right job for him,” his medicaid case manager offers. So….for the past month I’ve been entrenched in a squeaky wheel effort that has taken me to infinity and beyond. I’ve been on hold for days, spoken to a million people, squeaked like never before, and still I see no path to victory. March 10th looms.
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells a parable about another squeaky wheel. This desperate and powerless widow has a legal matter and the judge of the city “who neither feared God nor cared about people” ignores her. But she persists. In fact, she’s relentless. She comes back again, and again, and again, and again, and again. Her persistence becomes so annoying that the judge, who doesn’t care about her or upholding justice, is desperate for relief for himself. He applies the law (grease) and the widow (squeaky wheel) is vindicated (silenced).
So what should we conclude? Annoy those decision-makers to eventually get our way? The text provides some clues.
Luke 18:1 Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.
Luke 18: 6,7 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. 7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night?”
With this parable tucked in my mind, I went for a long walk. Instead of my norm of listening to my book, I prayed.
“Dear Jesus, You know how much time and energy I’ve expended on this quest. I’ve prayed. Direct me to the right person; help me to think outside the box. I’ve hit dead end after dead end, but I persist. Forgive me for being frustrated by Your silence and for not persisting in prayer to the same degree I persist in this hunt. I know You hear me and see me and care about even this. So I’ll keep at it, trusting that You’ll redirect me if necessary. But Lord, You know this because You know everything…deep in my gut I still feel as if I’m missing something.
After praying that prayer, I walked in silence hoping to hear a word from Him. I sensed His presence and my frustration was gone, but I heard nothing specific. When I got home though, I opened my journal and began to write. The floodgate opened in such a way that I had no doubt it was not from me.
That’s how prayer works.
The Lord’s Word For Me
Debbie, I love you. I created you. That bulldog trait that you are ashamed of was My design. Just as I empowered the desperate widow, I’ve empowered you. I’ve used tough circumstances to strengthen your tenacity and that was My doing, too. I am sovereign and see your faithful effort. But don’t miss this. What has felt like a wild goose chase has drawn you nearer to Me. I never want you to lose heart, but I allow challenges because that’s what I use to mold you and make you. I waste nothing. Continue to stay close and trust Me.
That SAME afternoon I got a shocking phone call from DVR, the provider of job coaching support. Monica the supervisor who was both my first adamant ‘no’ and the initiator of my frantic quest, called to explain. Because of her oversight, the paperwork to terminate Ian’s resources didn’t happen properly. She asked that I please accept her apology, but Ian’s job coaching must continue for now.
Stunned, I hung up the phone and laughed and then I cried.
That’s how God works.
For His Glory, Debbie Hucke
Wow, what a wonderful unexpected turn of events! I am awed at how God shapes us through our children.
Yes, Indeed! Unexpected for sure.
Toni k Hulce says
God really does work in mysterious ways-I am blessed to have you in my life, even if just on-line (for now). Thank you, Debbie, for all of the encouragement. Our daughter, Vicki-50 years old- has a nickname-like you-The Bulldog! So, I am well aware-Thank you for sharing. May the Lord watch over you for now and always.
Someday hopefully we’ll be back in Church in person.
I knew I liked your daughter. I bet you appreciate that she is in your corner!
I am known by my 4 siblings as “bossy sissy”!
Ha! I suspect I’d get the same title… if they dared.
Wow, once again Debbie. Your journaling is so much how I feel that I want to write it verbatim in my own journal! It is clearly spoken from God directly to your heart, now mine as well. You may recall I was an attorney in a prior life and and I think you will enjoy this little joke.. How do you tell the difference between a woman lawyer and a pitbull? The lip gloss! You are such a jewel Debbie and I praise God for his answer to your prayer. I too am so busy trying to make things happen, to make things work, that I forget the most important component, prayer.. Thank you for inspiring me week after week. God-bless you and All of your family during this Season of Lent.
LOVE your joke. You better believe I’ll be wearing lip gloss today. 🙂
To add to my joke, in a trial once I was defending a lady lawyer who had caused a car accident. The lawyer on the other side was a lady and the victim was a lady. Looking down the counsel table I noticed with a chuckle to myself, all 3 of us lady lawyers had our lip glosses sitting on the counsel table for ready use, only the lady victim was without hers! Gotta laugh …
Heidi Shepard says
Wow! What a great story and somehow I just see the Lord’s humor through Supervisor Monica’s response that it simply must continue! Thank you so much for sharing. Always encouraged!
Thanks my friend. I bet you can picture lots about that story. Miss you.
Christy Atkinson says
You are doing a great job Debbie and HE is honoring your efforts. You are obedient and HE is taking care of all of you.
Sending my love,
Thank you Christy. It never gets old to hear you’re doing a great job. You are such a loving encouragement to me.
Betsy Everett says
I love a happy ending! So glad Ian has this opportunity to feel useful and to have this esteem building job! Thank you Debbie for reminding us again of the power of prayer and of giving it all to God. And thanks for being the “bulldog.” He is blessed to have you as his mother.
Thank you Betsy.
Barb Frans says
Love this ❤️
He is always with us ❤️
Prayers for Ukraine 🙏🏻
Thanks Barb. Miss you all. Praying with you.
Gerrie Dempsey says
I have been praying for Ian regularly not even knowing what he needs. I pray for diligence, Colossians 3: 23 , Whatever you do, work heartily , as for the Lord, and not for men . I also pray for determination for God’s leading, 11 Timothy 4:7 , I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Even though my circumstances are different, my struggles are the same, so it is easier to pray for several children as for one using the same prayers.
On a sadder note , I felt it necessary to sell my home in Corrales of 43 years. It was emotional, but necessary. Three acre’s of fruit trees in my condition and circumstances were too much for me to keep. I moved to Pueblo, Colorado to be near family that could help me. I will be back regularly for cancer treatment at UNM . I will then be at Sandia Pres during those times, meanwhile I continue to treasure your blogs.
54 Country Club Village, Pueblo, Colorado, 81008
Oh Gerrie… My heart is heavy for this transition. But I do understand. I hope our paths cross every time possible. You are a blessing to me.
I love it! Thanks for sharing! I worked with special needs students and families for many years and came up against walls but there were so many positive stories 😊 Finding the right job for the right person always brought me much joy! It is worth fighting for. I always thought it would b a great idea to link a retired person who wanted to volunteer up as a mentor in these types of situations! Will pray that a permanent solution can be found😘 You are doing a great job of advocating!
Thank you Cinda. The climate of advocacy in this area is getting even harder. The right fit is rewarding for sure.
Anne kole says
Oh Debbie! I am overjoyed by God’s surprising answer to your persistence. You are the best momma bulldog I have ever known!
God was listening to you and working behind the scenes for Ian all along. He alone is worthy of praise and always faithful! Thank you for again honestly sharing your story. Your articles point to God’s goodness every time. I need to be reminded of that truth often.
Praying for Ian. Praying for Ukraine.💕
You are a gem and such a faithful encouragement.
Emmy Browning says
So glad you are a bulldog with God’s presence right there with you. So happy for Ian. Prayers for Ukraine. Such a tragic situation.
Thanks for your prayers.
Gigner Horner says
Good Morning, Debbie,
I am so very happy that Ian’s job continues. I can truly relate to your “bulldog” persistence.
Way to go! God is with you and always will be and he answers our prayers in the most surprising and unexpected ways. You are a wonderful caregiver and advocate for your son.
Thank you Ginger. I think any red hair is BORN with the trait. 🙂
Yes! I grew up being told that, too.
Thanks for your inspiring posts and for providing a way to encourage one another.
Karen Chalmers says
What wonderful wonderful news! I’ve been a little down lately but this encourages me to keep on keeping on. Knowing Jesus is with me every step of the way AND with others He and I love so much. Go Mom! Go Ian!
Praying for Ukraine.
Yes…. we’re in that hard in between. But hope is strong for the not yet. I’m ready as I know you are. God have mercy on the people of Ukraine.
Berta Pitzer says
God’s timing is perfect!! I love the timing of the phone call and how He used it to draw you closer to Him! I, too, have been known to be persistent! LOL!! Thanks for sharing the complexities and the firey pits in your life to help me see Jesus in the fires of my life. I just finished reading Daniel and all that went on with being thrown into the fire and NOT getting burned up. They went from the fire to being promoted! And God was with them through it all. What you wrote fit right in with what God was showing me about being with me in the firey times of my life.
Amen. Walking with Him closely with Him has been more beneficial than any generic bible study. I remember you talking about the refiners fire in a GB talk.
Martha Nail says
What a great encouragement! Prayer is so necessary. Your experience is a great encouragement.
As a mother of a”redheaded squeaky wheel, ” I remember those bulldog times on both sides.
I will be a bulldog for the issues I will be facing, but I sure need God’s guidance first and foremost.
Love and Blessings and praying for the Ukraine with you.
Enjoyed our catch up Martha! So glad you’re encouraged.