"I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of God in the land of the living."
🌱 Psalm 27:13 🌱
For over 34 years, Sandra Robinson, Ph.D. was an educator, administrator, and school psychologist in the public school system. She has been the Director of Special Education in two different school districts. She taught teacher preparation courses at California State University, Riverside. Dr. Sandy has trained educators, administrators, and parents in Crisis Intervention, Positive Behavior Techniques, Effective Teaching and Learning Strategies, Curriculum Implementation, Special Education Law, Resilience Training in the Face of Disability, Trauma, and Mental Health Challenges.
She brings her extensive experience in the field of Special Education to faith communities. Dr. Sandy is currently the International Coordinator of Training and a member of the leadership team for the Champions Club Organization, which is an international ministry for individuals with special needs and their families. She opened the first Champions Club outside of Lakewood Church in 2012. Dr. Sandy, and a team of volunteers she trained, also opened the first Champions Club on African soil in Malawi, Africa. She recently provided training in the area of trauma and resilience to church leaders and volunteers, educators, and parents of individuals with special needs in the wake of the 2018 Alaskan earthquake. Dr. Sandy is an Inclusion Specialist. She desires to assist communities of faith to successfully include kids, teens, and adults with special needs and their families in all aspects of their community.
Dr. Sandy wrote the first full-scale faith based curriculum for kids, teens, and adults with special need with Pastor Craig Johnson in 2014. She also co-authored the Champions Curriculum Home Edition in 2016.
She has been married to Rob Robinson, the love of her life, for over 30 years. They have two amazing daughters. Both daughters are committed to helping individuals with special needs of all ages identify their God-given purpose and fulfill it. Rob and Sandy welcomed their first grandchild in October 2019. She is the joy of their lives. Dr. Sandy can empathize and provide insight to others in the area of mental health because she is on her own mental health journey.
I have loved God and attended church faithfully my entire life. I married the right man. We raised two beautiful daughters. I have an alphabet of degrees attached to my name and experienced a modicum of success as an educator and administrator. I have trained people all over the world on how to develop individuals with special needs with excellence. But, I have kept many secrets from just about everyone I know. I have spent an enormous amount of time and energy starring in my one-woman show entitled, “She’s got it all together.” In 2005, the play closed, the public mask slipped, and I was placed in a psych ward involuntarily for two weeks for a failed suicide attempt. At that time, I refused to accept my diagnosis - Bipolar I with Mixed Episodes. I played the game, did what I had to do to get out of the hospital so I could finish what I started. I couldn’t live with the bone-crushing adversity of my life. When I was a teenager, I made a deal with God. I would do everything right, and He was supposed to ensure that I had a good life - a little pain here and there but nothing like my childhood. I felt that if I could survive the Armageddon of my childhood, my reward should be a life with less trauma, less pain. What I was to learn is that there are no human-generated deals with God. He gives life. We make choices. My life is a result of my choices and the choices of people on this planet. Hurting people hurt people.
The events that lead up to my first stay in the psych ward were an undiagnosed mental illness with symptoms manifesting at about age five, the abuse and subsequent trauma of a close family member, the deep, soul-crushing betrayal of very close relative, and the gut retching suicide of my most cherished childhood friend, my brother. At that time, our family of four were all a small inflatable raft, bobbing up and down in shark-infested waters. There were relentless tsunamis of pain, hurt, anger, confusion, and frustration crashing down on us. This category five hurricane raged on and on in our lives for over ten years. During this time, we experienced six visits to the psych ward, alcohol and porn addictions, night terrors, an unwarranted lawsuit, estrangement from family, and Type II Diabetes.
But through it all, we survived. What I came to understand much later, was that our survival was the direct result of the fifth entity on our raft. We were never alone. Love was there, seated in the middle of our sorrows. Love never jumped ship. Love never failed us. Love lifted us. Love restored our souls. In the Bible it says that God is Love. It is His Love that allows me to love and forgive myself for failing my family. His Love assures me that no matter what my diagnosis, is or how many mistakes I have made, that I am His and He created me because He wanted me. He had to have me in His world. I don’t have to earn His love, it simply exists.
God feels the same way about you. You are loved. He created you because He absolutely wanted you. We all look different, experience things differently, have different love and loss stories. Still, this much I know to be true when we experience God’s love, our differences make no difference. We are all in a raft together and at the center of our raft, calming our raging seas, is Love.