Forgive me. I don’t like to invest my time and later be told “to be continued,” either. But to fully appreciate God’s awesomeness, this is a long story.
Of all the 14 cousins in the Roeshot clan, aged 10-35, Ian is the most like his Grandpa. (which became even more pronounced with Parkinson’s). They are both…. confident, outgoing dreamers who love to talk to everyone and anyone, couldn’t care less if their socks match and are generally happy. In spite of poor memory and other deficits, they are unflappable, able to make light of any mishap. Uniquely creative, they both love to laugh and are comfortable as the center of attention. But at the same time they are tender hearted with a keen eye for the marginalized and the first to cry at movies.
Grandpa and Ian shared an extra special bond.
In 2012 Mother and Daddy moved to Foxdale, a retirement community that accommodates those who need an increasing level of care. Helpful since 5 years after Daddy’s Parkinsons diagnosis, mother joined the “P club.” We spent a lot of time at Foxdale and took full advantage of all the facility offered. To our kids, especially while Grandma and Grandpa were “well,” it seemed like a fun place to live.
In 2014, Ian’s senior year of high school, Ian had his first unwelcome stint of communal living. After emergency brain surgery for a large brain bleed, he spent six weeks at HealthSouth. The surgery saved his life but left some deficits. Deficits that officially qualified him as “disabled.” He and Grandpa would joke about their “parts that didn’t work” and the importance of living with purpose anyway.
That summer before college, Ian connected with VSA (Very Special Artists), an Albuquerque organization that serves the disabled community. With new empathy, Ian loved spending time at VSA. It warmed my heart to witness his interactions. Within weeks he was the big man on campus, fist bumping the students as he walked the halls. Normally withdrawn kids would light up around him and he would change seats often, so everyone got their turn to be close. Even though college had become exponentially difficult with his compromised memory, Ian had renewed motivation to finish. He would join their teaching staff.
Then, to really complicate Ian’s future, he was hit by a car in 2017 adding traumatic brain injury to his resume. Thankfully, VSA still welcomed him to volunteer and Ian was grateful to gain more experience. With Ian’s big personality and his comfort with strangers, Ian became a VSA representative and was relied upon at their promotional events and fund raising efforts. During Covid, many were blind-sided when VSA lost their DD Waiver status. The school abruptly and permanently closed, abandoning the many disabled artists and obliterating Ian’s dream to teach there.
Desperate to find some new motivation, I expanded my search beyond New Mexico.
Rainbow Acres, a residential facility in Arizona, with a strong art component, became interested in Ian. My crazy idea was that Ian could live there and get the added support he needed, but also be employed, so we/he could afford it. When I showed Ian their website, his reaction was immediate and harsh. “I’m not that bad, Mom. I just want to be normal!” Besides I’m moving to Brooklyn to sell my art!
More Closed Doors
I was so frustrated! But in time, the Lord softened my heart. I did and do get it. Ian feels like a fish out of water in every pond — too “behind” for his peers from college, and too “well” for much of the brain injured community. Still not afraid to put himself out there, Ian has worked several jobs. Each time, even though his employer is made aware of his challenges, eventually things crumble. An unpredictable TBI strikes again.
Past Several Months
While on sabbatical, I received a curiously timed email from Rainbow Acres. Was I aware that a donor had earmarked a large property in Sedona, Arizona, to be developed for the Neurodiverse? Might Ian be interested? It sat in my inbox for weeks. What the heck does “neurodiverse” mean anyway?
Separated by 5000 miles and the Atlantic Ocean, God was working on both Ian and me independently and simultaneously. In Albuquerque Ian, bored and unemployed, was acquiring some needed awareness of his not just physical deficits and a desire to address them. At the same time, in Cambridge, England, I was learning about a promising new opportunity targeting fish caught in the middle, like Ian. (Sedona Lago Gardens, the only program of its kind, is a short-term residential program for young adults with autism or brain injury. I think of it as a specialized degree in adulting for this amazing, gifted, and underserved population.
Sedona Lago Gardens
Over months of back and forth with SLG, it was hard to deny its ideal programming. Apparently Ian is the optimal candidate and they want to meet him. I delayed and deflected, keeping a lid on any possibility or excitement.
Upon return to Albuquerque and months of living under one roof, I couldn’t deny glimpses of change in Ian. His quirky, often inappropriate, behavior persisted. But now, he’s aware of it and wants to change!
Still, I’ve been down the road of possibility before. Disappointment after disappointment. So I tread carefully and prayerfully. But the Hound of Heaven wouldn’t let it go.
Early in January
Ian was dressed before noon and in one of his rare productive moods. Without any forethought or rehearsal I blurted…
Me. “Would you want to go on a road trip with me to Sedona Arizona?”
Ian. “Really? Why?”
Me. “Well there is this program for people that want independence and they’re interested in you. You may not like it, and it’s way too expensive and it probably won’t happen, but I guess it seems wise to at least check it out.”
Ian. “Yeah ok.”
Shocked but trying not to show it, I dropped the subject like a hot potato. With all the nonchalance I could muster, I ran it by Doug, contacted SLG and arranged a site visit before any of us chickened out.
Great Banquet Devotional
A couple weeks later, Doug asked me to share a devotional at our Great Banquet meeting. Just read one of your blogs, he suggested. But the Hound of Heaven wouldn’t let me off that easily. It was as if the Lord was shining a spotlight on the elephant in my heart. The scar tissue was thick and so were my walls of self-protection. He wanted me to trust Him, which meant I would risk being disappointed yet again.
So with reluctant obedience I did it. I spoke about my audacious hopes out loud, to an audience even. I mentioned our road trip and solicited their prayers. That single, simple act of obedience changed everything. The next day I felt lighter and… yes, hopeful. It was as if I, too, was along for the ride.
I felt emboldened as I prepared Ian for our trip. I showed him their website and thoroughly read the program description, not skipping over anything he may not like.
Ian didn’t flinch.
When I suggested he create a play list for our road-trip, he seemed excited even.
Loaded with favorite snacks, we set off. Before out of town, I asked Ian if it was ok that I pray. And I did. Out loud. I prayed for the Lord’s protection and for Ian to get what he needs out of this visit. I prayed that the Lord go before us and be with us every step of the way.
Deuteronomy 31:8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
The next morning, with great anticipation I plugged in the address and followed the GPS through the gorgeous red rocks of Sedona. Again I prayed, this time without asking. “Lord, please help Erin and Gary to get to know the real Ian. Help Ian to be completely honest and to remember any questions or concerns he has. If this is not meant to be, please make it obvious. If this is meant to be, help us to know how we can make it work. Our only hope is to trust you, Lord. Amen.”
To lighten the mood, Ian chose old familiar Disney tunes to set the tone for our day. Together we sang with gusto “Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities, forget about your worries and your strife, Yeah, man.” We were ready.
After quick introductions, the need for trust became immediately obvious. Without any confirmed residents, SLG had delayed their grand opening til July 1st. (A relief, giving us some time.) With intention to recruit an ideal freshman class, they made it clear Ian was on their list.
As Ian’s enthusiasm increased, so did my anxiety. Ian showed his true colors, and we hid nothing. Sedona Lago Gardens, though, is obscenely expensive. And I couldn’t get the word HOW out of my mind. My thoughts were interrupted when Ian said…“I probably shouldn’t say this now, but Mom, can I come here?”
After a site tour, Gary popped his head in wanting to see me alone before we left for home.
Across the desk in his office he asked, “can I give you some fatherly advice?” “Sure.”
“Don’t spend all of your retirement on your kid. You’ll need to live too.”
It was as if he read my mind. My eyes got wet. And my thoughts raced…(But this would be such a relief, and what if it actually works, and it wouldn’t be up to me, and Ian would be safe, and Doug and I would experience a real empty nest and…)
Gary, sensitive to my emotional reaction, said, “Just remember that prayer works. I will join you in prayer.” In that awkward moment, with my head in my hands to gain some composure, a random thought came to me.
I told Gary about Ian’s experience at VSA and his success in helping their PR efforts. I wondered if Ian might help SLG? Seeing and hearing from a “typical” resident would go a long way to influence future residents, I suggested.
Our conversation ended with both of us committing to pray.
Home in Albuquerque
The next day, at home in Albuquerque, with my head still spinning, I sent a thank you email to the SLG team.
In a flash, I received Erin’s reply. “Gary spoke to me regarding your idea of Ian being Sedona Lago Garden’s spokesperson… I love this! What a great thought! We would, of course, give a significant rate reduction both on programming and room and board as compensation. We hope that will help. Thanks for your prayers for Sedona Lago Gardens.”
I re-read the email, dumfounded. Spokesperson. I never said spokesperson. I never suggested or even considered compensation.
Isn’t that just like the Lord?
I was excited and hopeful for some short-term relief! Perhaps a six- month reprieve from my caregiving duties, even if it was expensive. I would have been satisfied with that. But the Lord wanted so much more. He wanted purpose for Ian and success for their whole program. And who knows what else will transpire?!
For now we are buckled in for what feels like the ride of our life, unsure where it will take us. Ian is planning to move to Sedona July 1st and is EXCITED about it. And we are trusting the Lord with the HOW.
Ephesians 3:20,21 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
I sensed a God wink when I read on the application that each resident must introduce their hero. Without hesitation, Ian wrote about his amazing Grandpa.
If you’re so inclined, we covet your prayers as we trust the Lord with the How. Praise God for His Faithfulness.
For His Glory,
So amazing! Thanks for sharing! Praying God continues to open doors for all of you! God is honoring your faithfulness and fortitude!
Thanks for taking time to read it! And yes, we appreciate your prayers.
Mighty, continuing prayers for God’s perfect will and provision!!! 🙏🏻
Ginger Horner says
Wow!!! Your blog was well worth waiting for, Debbie. This is amazing for Ian.
Words are failing me right now as I process all that this might mean for Ian and for your family.
God’s hand is absolutely in this journey with all of you. Listening to and following God is always the best way. The listening part can be challenging for those who “like to do their own thing”.
(I mean me) But, the rewards of following God’s plan are beyond what we might have planned.
I will be praying for all to go well. Your blog is fantastic, Debbie!
Thanks Ginger. Praise God indeed. Thanks for your faithful support.
Wow! Wonderful news!
Thank you Wendy. Indeed!
John Reith says
Well, if God was able to part the Red Sea for the Israelites, why not blow the doors wide open for Ian? This sounds like a Godsidence to me. Keeping Ian and the Huckes in prayer for this whole thing to materialize will be on my radar. It’s exciting to hear that Ian is excited about this. And what a wonderful, beautiful place to spend time in Sedona, AZ. It sure beats Minot, North Dakota. (Please take no offense to that comment if you are from ND. It’s a good place to be from).
Ha. Why not blow the doors wide open for Ian. Love that thought.
Cat McKenzie says
Waiting “with God” in HIS time ,not always ours. My Prayers with and for, all of you, and for what sounds like an Amazing Program ! When Ian ‘ goes live’, would it possible to see, or hear, his presentation ? Would it be appropriate to share on our own Facebok pages to help get the word out ?
For now… yes, please spread the word. Here is their website… https://sedonalago.org/ That’s a good idea. When Ian is 100% I’ll definitely promote.
Praising God! What a miracle! I know it’s easy to still be cautious, because after all, July is a way off and anything could happen. But, I sense God has been in this place all along in Sedona as he says in Deuteronomy 31:8.
Prayers for Ian’s new mission as the Program’s Spokesperson! So exciting! I thank Him for the “pull” Ian felt in your absence overseas–the whispers to come along God, to come where God wants him–at His place and His time! I am so excited for all of you!
Thank you Vickie. We are excited too!
Katherine Ott says
Oh, Debbie, your post brought me to tears. God is so amazingly good to us. He knows us and loves us and provides for us. I will continue praying for His perfect will for Ian.
Thank you Katherine. God is good indeed. Thank you for your prayers.
Lynne Baehr says
This is so amazing! Prayers for all of you for Ian’s success in Sedona. Beautifully written, held me in suspense since last month.
Not my intent Lynne… but it has been a lot. Thank you for your prayers.
Emmy Browning says
Wow. What awesome news. God is good. Will pray for all of you. Happy that Ian likes it and wants to go there. That is important.
Yes… Ian’s support has shocked us all. All of us except God! Thanks Emmy for your prayers.
As a friend of mine often says Yah God!
God has this and all of you!
Shrubby, Yay God indeed!
Lifting Ian up in prayers! You too!
Thank you Gail.
Holy cow! An amazing story of God’s faithfulness and love and purpose for each of us. What mighty things He does when we let go—always much more than we ever dreamed of much less thought to pray for. Your story blesses my heart today. Hallelujah!
Thank you Dear Dorma. I’m praying for YOU… too.
Ruthie Mendoza says
Yes, prayers from here for this remarkable journey! The identical smiles in your photo are as eloquent as your writing is here.
Thank you dear Ruthie.
Dawn Johnston says
Oh my goodness, Debbie!! Such exciting news. I’ll be praying for you all. Your faith and trust in God is, as always, an inspiration. …and I am going to ask for your prayers as well, as big changes are afoot at our house too. Xoxo
P.S. and Sedona!! One of the most beautiful places ever.
Thank you Dawn. Praying for your big changes. Please do tell!
Julia Merson says
Thank you for sharing, Debbie,
What an awesome God we have .
Our prayers will be going with Ian as he moves forward on this new adventure to
Sedona Lago Garden’s and our prayers will be with you and Doug during this emotionally stressful but exciting time.
After having been through the financially draining experience with our son know that God will remain faithful and carry you through.
Thank you Julia! He is faithful. We’re counting on it.
To God be the glory. Everything in His time.
Berta Pitzer says
Thank you for being transparent and sharing your life with us!! Your last 2 blogs have really spoken to my heart deeply! I rejoice with you and commit to praying for you and Ian as this progresses! God’s timing is always perfect!! His Will, His Way, in His Time!!!
And one more amazing thing happening in KY is a Revival that started 2/8/23 and is going 24/7 at Asbury University! Check it out! https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2023/february/revival-underway-at-asbury-university-in-kentucky-the-holy-spirit-was-tangible-in-the-room
Thank you Berta! And I’m grateful for your prayers. How exciting. Come Holy Spirit! Praying for revival!
Annette Rohrbeck says
How interesting!! Can’t wait to see how it all works out for Ian. I’m glad he realizes what an amazing grandpa he had!
For sure. Thank you Annette.
Toni & Clark Hulce says
God speaks to us in so many ways-What a blessing for your whole family. I read every word with high hopes that God would work miracles and I was not disappointed. Ian has a huge and wonderful adventure ahead in July. You and Doug must be so happy for him.
Thank you so much for sharing with us.
Someday we hope to come back in person to Church-We are still immunocompromised.
We do not ever miss a Sunday online. It is such a blessing.
God bless you and your family-
Toni, we do miss you. We could get a team to pray that the Lord would protect you when you do come back to church. (Even though you are immunocompromised!) God is big enough when you’re ready. ❤️
Linda Ferrarone says
Debbie I am so excited for all of you! Sedona sounds like a heavenly place for Ian to go and spread his wings for a little while. Praying for God’s perfect plan for Ian and your family.
May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may
overflow with hope..Romans 15:13
Romans 15:13 is one of my faves. Thank you Linda!
Heidi Shepard says
Rejoicing with you! How clearly I can see the Lord’s love for you and Ian through this story. Giving praise!!
Thank you Heidi! Miss you my friend.
Helen Marie Brigham says
Debbie, I will be holding you all in prayer. Praying that this is where and what God has been leading Ian to and that he will be happy and successful in this new setting.
Thank you Helen Marie. We are grateful.
Sharon Powell says
God works in amazing ways! Continued prayers for Ian and your whole family Debbie. Thank you for letting us in on your journey. It gives inspiration and hope in our Lord Jesus.
Thank you Sharon. He is indeed Faithful. In His way in His Time.
anne kole says
Wonderful news! I am especially glad that Ian wants to go to Sedona! And Debbie, nothing is I
impossible for God. Perhaps he’s been waiting with you until Ian is willing for this and the facility is ready for him!
Thanks for sharing. Of course I will be praying for Ian, you and Doug, and for God’s plan to unfold. 💕
You are so right. His timing is always perfect.
Barb Frans says
Absolutely beautiful ❤️
Praying for Ian 🙏🏻
God Is Good
Love and Miss You All
Thank you Barb. Thank you for praying!
Cathy Jones says
Your blog was definitely not too long. I read every word, hoping for this good news! Praying that God will watch over Ian as he faces this new journey. How wonderful that he made the decision to go for it! Thank you for sharing.
Thank you Cathy. Thanks for your prayers.
Dorothy Sandusky says
Wow every time I read one of your devotionals it is just what I need to hear. Bless you, Doug and Ian God is with you what an example you are. Thanks for cheering me up and giving me hope in God
God knows what we need. He is the God of Hope! Im glad to know that truth hit your heart. 💕
Christine Vandermyde says
His involvement in the small details never ceases to amaze me. Thankful for your recognition of Gods push to trust Him in all things. He wants us to have Hope in all circumstances, but I understand the past making us hesitant to believe in the future.
So excited for ALL the possibilities that are in this new plan for Ian and you and Doug. Continued prayers that things move forward and that you continue to see His hand in the details that unfold…some as planned and others that you all will laugh at later.
Yes christine.. im quite certain we’re not traveling a straight line. But we are buckled in with the best driver.
Karen S says
This is such amazing and wonderful news! Praying praises to God. I’m so grateful you shared this in the GB devotional and that we got to join you in prayer for the trip. Also, getting to hear that Ian is still making progress gives me Godly goosebumps! Continuing prayers for the next step of this journey!
Thanks Karen for standing with us. Godly goodebumps … me too.
Pam Walsh says
What a great story. God is good! Sedona is a very healing, beautiful place and it might be just the place for Ian to blossom and allow you to have a much needed respite. Sending prayers your way!
Pam, thank you friend. We appreciate your prayers.
Just an amazing story! Gods delays are never denials! Your faithfulness is a true testimony! Praise God for his work in Ian and providing Ian such an opportunity! Prayers for you and your family
I’ve never heard it phrased like that. Gods delays are never denials. Thank you Debbie.
Liz Bass says
Oh Debbie, I can’t tell you how excited I am for your family and most especially Ian. He is such a special young man and deserves to have some good, exciting breaks. My prayer will certainly be the plan is fully
implemented and Ian can feel useful and needed in this exciting new chapter in his life. Thank goodness our loving Father never, ever gives up on us.
Thank you Liz! You have been such a faithful pray-er and supporter. The good Lord is indeed faithful and never ever gives up on us.
Marybeth Barkocy says
God is so good. His provision blows my mind. With your prayerful approach, God is opening doors for Ian and you. What has seemed hopeless so many times now has so much possibility. It is so like God, and all in His timing. I am praying for all of you!
Oh goodness! How did i miss your comment??? Thank you. Yes so much like God.