I Found Myself Embracing Autism (Part 2)

Tears collected in a bottle

But God was aware of just how much was going on.  He was probably the only one fully aware of it. Not a moment went by that He did not see.  Not a tear passed my eyes that he did not collect.  Not a prayer was said, that He did not hear.

He encapsulates the broken-hearted, and that was certainly me. He never left my side. He whispered in my ears encouraging words.

Not only did I feel as if I was loosing my son, but I was trapped in a terribly distorted misunderstanding:  I thought God broke his promise.

He didn’t.

Looking back, I know He supplied for all my needs in caring for Dash during that time. He prepared me ahead of time too:

The year is 2006, the twins are one beautiful year old.

I see them standing in the living room, their eyes wide open, curious.

Their hair is red!  I’ve always wanted children with red hair!  Princess’s hair is a curly spiral of deep red and Dash’s is strawberry blonde–barely visible peach fuzz.  Oh how soft it is too!  Their faces are more adorable than I could ever have imagined: quirky smiles, chubby cheeks, rounded faces. Their tummies lead the way when they waddle around the house like penguins.

“Oh Father, you made them just perfect!” I pray.

“Yes I did. They are perfectly the way I intended them to be.”

His reply catches me off guard. I am grounded: the heaviness of His presence keeps me from moving.

A moment in time I will never forget.

And one of the reasons for that moment, was a line of string he was weaving in His tapestry of my life. He was preparing me even then, for the discovery of Dash’s autism.

God is Holy.  He doesn’t make mistakes. He knew then, that Dash has autism.  He knew he has autism and he declares him perfect. He says they are just the way he wants them to be.  He says:

“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

He says, “God saw all he had made, and it was very good.” vs. 31

Who am I to tell God he is wrong?  Rom 9:20b  “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?”

So I accept it.  I accept that God knows what he is doing and has a purpose in it.  I see the beauty that God crafted throughout my child with autism, because of the autism.  I love him exactly the way he is.

And I give him back to God; I give him to God to fulfill his purpose in Dash’s life.

______________________

But what about Sketch? I can’t let Sketch go, too. I can’t loose both my boys!  I can’t go through this again! I can’t!

Yet it happens.

It is Spring, 2007 at China Lake Retreat Center.  I am on a weekend retreat with the women from my church.

I hear the testimony of a lady who has been in Pakistan as a missionary.  All four of her children and her husband were there for the past year, living in terrible conditions with threats on their lives for most of the time.

She talks about how one day her husband leaves with the children to go teach at the school.  They were warned to stay in hiding; that their lives were in danger. He wants to go anyway, and she is at her home alone, arguing with God.  Afraid that her family will be torn away from her…her children, gone.  God asks of her, “Who’s children are they?”  And she knew He was asking her if she would trust Him with her children, no matter what the outcome.  Did she really give them back to God? Or does she cling to them and protect them from the God who saves?

And that was the question He was asking of me.  Her words, His words, speak deep into my soul, to places that until that moment, I don’t know exist.

And I realize I have not given my almost two-year old  Sketch over to God like I gave Dash. I wanted to keep him.  I wanted him to be mine.

But God was asking me to give Him back.  To trust Him with Sketch’s life, that He knows what is best.

“Savior, He can move the mountains, He is Mighty to Save, Jesus, Mighty to Save.”  We sing the song.

But He wasn’t moving the mountain of autism.  He was moving the mountain in my heart.

He is able, but chose not to save Sketch from autism, to not heal him.  But instead he healed me.

TO BE CONTINUED (again!)

[To read part one, click here]

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On The First Day of Winter My True Love Gave To Me…

Today it happened again.  Either these boys have inside knowledge about the weather, or Someone out there really loves them a lot and wants to make them happy!

It was Sketch this morning, who came out from his room, looked at the window with the ketcup-stained curtains still pulled closed, and asked, “Snow?”

I opened the curtain and looked outside, but there was no snow.

“Snow?” he asks again.

“Not today, Sketch.” I confidently reply, since I’d already checked the weather forecast.

No more than 5 minutes later a fluttering flake catches my eye.  Then another, and another.  “Sketch, look outside! It’s snowing!”

Rewind to nine days earlier, on the first day of Winter.  Dash comes downstairs and wanted to look outside.

“It’s the first day of Winter! We get snow!” he looks out the window, “Where’s the snow?”

I told him there is no snow today but that we’re supposed to get snow on Christmas. He was disappointed and left the kitchen. Then, I look out the window and wouldn’t you know, there was SNOW!

God really does care about the little things… really enjoys giving his loved ones things to make them happy.

I almost titled this post something like:  But What About the Stink?

Why, you ask?  Well, let me tell you…

I started this post weeks ago, well before the first day of Winter. I was having a Really-Bad-Day because things were going downhill quick in regards to our in-home supports.  Each boy was approved for 18 hours and we were using most of them.  But, big problems were getting worse and on this day, I knew it was over.  Our supports would yet again, be yanked out from underneath us.  The hardest part is that the boys were both attached to the staff we had, and we’d have to try to explain to them why they weren’t coming anymore, and the reason for this was not a reason a 6 and 9 year old should know.

It was a Tuesday when this all was going down. I was so worried about this, along with the other ramifications of  loosing 32 hours of help a week when I needed it more than ever.  Regardless,  I drive to the church for Ladies Bible Study:  Beth Moore’s “Believing God”.  I walked in to the study distracted and upset by all that was going on.  Funny… it really seems little compared to the other recent trials like job losses, health insurance loss and Rheumatoid Arthritis making it’s presence known.  God sure had taken care of all those “big” problems, in really BIG ways, too!

After missing the first part of Beth’s talk due to worry, I start to tune in to what Beth Moore was saying, and she was talking about what Martha was worried about with Lazarus.  Martha didn’t worry about if  Jesus could take care of the big problem of raising Lazarus from the dead. Instead, Martha worried because Lazarus had been in the tomb for 4 days and he may stink!     “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Luke 11:39  (I love Beth Moore, I don’t think I would have ever picked up on that line on my own!)

And it is so true, that we often believe God for the big problems, but think He is too busy for the stinky little ones, or we think they don’t matter to God.  Neither are true.

God does care about the seemingly little things. He has taken care of the boys emotions regarding the sudden loss of staff.  He’s taken care of us during our loss of help too.  And, He even took care of the boys desire to see snow on the first day of Winter!

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

What little things has God done for you?   Please add you experience and encouragement to this post with your comments!

Recommended Readings:

The Colors of Space in the Craziness of Time

Muller Moments

Struck Down But Not Destroyed

Muller Moments

When we don’t behave as Sketch expects, he gets mad.  For example, when we are driving somewhere, Sketch (and Dash too, for that matter!) have strong opinions on what roads we should take to get there.  This caused such problems, since they never agreed on the correct road, that we instituted a rule:  All the time, the driver picks!  It took a few weeks of disappointments when we went our way, but it did pay off and we could have somewhat peaceful drives again.  Sketch continued to request the route he wanted, and we’d faithfully chime, “All the time the driver picks!”  He’d come to love to hear that response, because that’s what happens when he gives a direction.  He could count on it.

Well, one day we found out how much he counted on it.  Usually, we turn right onto his favorite road, but it was a day with heavy rain, and part of the road was not paved, so we opted to go a different route.  This time, as we approached the road we usually take, Sketch requested, “Go straight!”  Typically, we would have said, “All the time the driver picks” and turn right anyway, but on this day we did to go straight because of the rain.  Sketch reached near panic level when we went straight, even though that was the way he said he wanted to go.  A full fledge tantrum the rest of the way home, followed.  All because we didn’t do what he expected. We didn’t behave.

Recently, it seemed to me that God wasn’t behaving either, and I felt like having my own tantrum!  I thought there was some “rule” in the Bible about how many “big problems” God would allow a person to go though at one time?  I was still in the middle of finding out I was struck with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Still had yet to see the Rheumatologist.  Still very crippled from the raging pain in my joints.  And then God allowed another “big problem”.  Mr. Incredible may loose his job!

God didn’t behave as I expected, but he did behave according to His promises.  He upheld every one, and our family as well.  He let me experience a taste of what George Muller experienced as he believed God for providing his every need, and every need of the orphanages he created.  I call these experiences, “Muller Moments”.

Here is what happened:

My “Mueller Moments” happened a couple months ago when my husband got word that there was trouble brewing with the parent company where he works.  That was Wednesday, September 28th.  By Friday morning, in an unfair and un-real set of events, he and all his coworkers were fired and the office was shut down.  This was the last day of the month, meaning we were also suddenly without health insurance.  To complicate matters, Cobra wasn’t even an option since the entire office was shut down, there was no insurance group to “Cobra” to.

There are no words to express the panic and stress that followed the news on Wednesday.  We were unable to sleep, literally sick to our stomachs….  I was still in the beginning of understanding my illness. How could He allow this to happen now?  How could He let this happen with a new baby to care & provide for?  God was not behaving the way I thought he should!

Thursday, Mr. Incredible went to work and cleared out his office, in expectation of the worst occurring.  I tried to recapture some of the sleep that I had missed the night before, so I took Polkadot to the changing table to give her a clean diaper before tucking her in.  As I looked at those diapers, seeing how many were left I worried about how we will buy diapers if we suddenly have no income.

I took Polkadot up to bed and attempt to sleep…my head was buzzing from the adrenalin that had been surging in my mind.  After about 40 minutes, I finally felt myself start to nod off to sleep.

RING! RING!    RING! RING!

Of course, the phone rings!  Frustrated to be woken, I answer the phone. It’s someone from our church. She wanted to know if we could use any size one diapers, since her son just outgrew them.

“Yes, we’d love to take them! Thank you so much!” I said.

Wasn’t I just worried about how we’d get diapers?  Did this really just happen?  I mean, I know God says not to worry, but it is really hard to apply that when fearing the very floor of your house is about to be ripped out from under your feet.

When Mr. Incredible was done packing up his personal things from his office, he came home…  Because of how badly the RA was raging through my joints, I needed his help to make dinner.  I didn’t really feel like eating, but was very grateful to have as much food in the house as we did.

I add the final touch to the dish I’d made, sprinkling cheese on top.  I secure the lid and let the heat melt the cheese.  The table has been cleared off, and I go to the cupboard to get the first plate to load a serving onto.

KNOCK–KNOCK–KNOCK

Who on earth could that be?

“Hello?” I answer the door with the blue plate resting in my arm.

“Hi, I’m Theresa, from ladies Bible study. I brought you a meal.” She had a still-hot, ready-to-eat meal in her hands!  I’d forgotten it is Thursday, and the people from my Bible study were bringing us meals since it was so painful and hard for me to cook.

“Thank you, very much!” I said as I flash back to a story I’d read about George Muller, who started orphanages in England, and would only ask God for the things he needed to start and maintain it.  He never asked a person for anything.  God always provided.  One time though, things got really tight:

“I hate to bother you , Mr. Muller, ” began the matron, “but it’s happened.  The children are all ready for breakfast and there is not a thing in the house to eat. What shall I tell them?”  

George stood up.  “I’ll take care of it. Just give me a minute,” he said. 

Before going to the dining room at Number One Orphan House, George walked out into the garden.  “Abigail, Abigail, come here, ” he called.

Abigail ran up to him. “What is it?” she asked.  

George reached down and took her hand.  “Come and see what God will do,”he said as he escorted her to the dining room.  

Inside they found three hundred children standing in neat rows behind their chairs.  Set on the table in front of each child were a plate, a mug , and a knife, fork, and spooon.  But there was no food whatsoever to be seen.  George watched as Abigail’s eyes grew wide with astonishment.  “But, where’s the food?” Abigail asked in a whisper. 

“God will supply,” George told her quietly, before he turned to address the children.  “there’s not much time. I don’t want any of you to be late for school, so let us pray,” he announced.  

As the children bowed their heads, George simply prayed, “Dear God, we thank you for what you are going to give us to eat.  Amen.”

George looked up and smiled at the children.  “You may be seated,” he said.  He had no idea at all where the food he had just prayed for would come from or how it would get to the orphanage.  He just knew God would not fail the children.  

A thunderous din filled the room as three hundred chairs were scuffed across the wooden floor.  Soon all three hundred children sat obediently in front of their empty plates.  

No sooner had the noise in the dining room subsided than there was a knock at the door.  George walked over and opened the door.  In the doorway stood the baker, holding a huge tray of delicious smelling bread. 

“Mr. Muller,” began the baker, “I couldn’t sleep last night.  I kept thinking that somehow you would need bread this morning and that I was supposed to get up and bake it for you.  So I got up at two o’clock and made three batches for you. I hope you can use it.”

George smiled broadly.  “God has blessed us through you this morning,” he said as he took the tray of bread from the baker.  

“There’s two more trays out in the cart,” said the baker.  “I’ll fetch them.”

Within minutes, the children were all eating freshly baked bread.  As they were enjoying it, there was a second knock at the door.  This time it was the milkman, who took off his hat and addressed George.  “I’m needing a little help, if you could, sir.  The wheel on my cart has broken, right outside your establishment.  I’ll have to lighten my load before I can fix it.  There’s ten full cans of milk on it.  Could you use them?”  Then looking at the orphans, sitting in neat rows,  he added, “Free of charge, of course.  Just send someone out to get them.  I’ll never fix the cart with all that weight on it.”  

George dispatched twenty of the older children to help, and soon they had the ten cans of milk stowed in the kitchen, where it was dispensed with a ladle.  There was enough milk for every child to have a mug full and enough left over for them all to have some in their tea at lunch.

Half an hour after George and Abigail had entered the dining room, three hundred orphans with full stomaches filed out.” pp 166-168 from George Muller, The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans, by Janet & Geoff Benge

As the picture of this scene replayed in my mind, I stood in shock at the door with my empty plate.  I put the plate down and received the hot meal.  I turned to Mr. Incredible and said, “We just had a Muller Moment!”

Funny thing is, that we didn’t need a meal that night. We had one, literally ready to be dished out onto plates.  But God burned deep into my soul, that He is aware of what is happening, and He will provide. We can count on it. He even provided when we thought we’d be in need, but actually had plenty, so that we wouldn’t worry. So we would trust Him.  So I would know that He is my provider, not a job, not any person, but God alone.

Friday, it was official that everyone lost their jobs. I was sick, still, thinking about how badly things could turn out.  There was no way we could sell our house.  And just imagining having to move and find new in-home supports, new schools, new IEP’s, new teachers, new doctors, new specialists, all while Mr. Incredible (hopefully) starts a new job, was overwhelming!

Remembering George Muller, and how he would not worry, but believed God to provide for everything, thinking about how he prayed specificially for every detail of his needs, I decided that I was being called to do the same thing.

I went upstairs and prayed over every single bill we had, every upcoming expense, every need I was worrying about.  I was specific, to the point of praying for long sleeve onesies for Polkadot, and some jeans. The weather was getting colder and she only had summer clothes in 0-3 month size.  I asked God to provide for everything. I didn’t ask a person for anything, I didn’t mention what I had prayed for to anyone.

The next Tuesday our Bible study met again.  A friend greeted me with a gift bag, a belated baby-shower gift since she was in another state when Polkadot had her shower.

I could not believe my eyes when I opened that bag and saw some long sleeve onesies and a pair of jeans!  And, in 0-3 month size!  Most people buy up for a new baby, but she bought the exact size she needed right now.

God provides.  He promises it and tells us not to worry about anything. He knows how hard that is for us, but he also knows how good it is for us to not be anxious about anything.  So he promises us that He is our provider, and He always keeps his promises!

Everything has turned out ok.  Mr. Incredible was offered a temporary but full time (with benefits) job the same Friday that he lost his job.  We thought we had no insurance for October, but in some unknown strange set of events, the insurance we had with his previous company was reinstated, retroactive to October 1st and his new insurance started November 1st!  God took care of all the details.

As Beth Moore said in the video sessions for Believing God:  Sometimes God doesn’t move the mountain, sometimes he splits the mountain in half so we can walk through it.

That’s exactly what happened.  When there was no way, God made a way.

I don’t know about you, but I’m Believing God!

Be Still And Know

Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know I’m here
Be still and know I love you so
Be still and know I’m near

Be still and know I’m who I say
Be still and know I AM
Be still and know I am Truth
Be still and know I can

Be still and know I can do what I say
nothing is too hard
Be still and know you can do all things
My Word is in your heart

Be still and know you’re who I say
Be still and know you’re Mine
Be still and know you are My child
Be still and know you’re My design

Be still and know you are forgiven
Be still and know you’re clean
Be still and know I am the Healer
Be still and know you’re free

Be still and know I move the mountains
the powers in My Word
Be still and know My Word is active
speak it so it’s heard

I wrote this poem as a response to the Bible study we are doing at church, Believing God, by Beth Moore.  I decided to post it here, because so often we forget that these things are true about our children with (or without) ASD as well.  So if you read it thinking about this being true for yourself, go back and read it again with your child in mind.  It’s really neat to think about God’s Word being alive and active in our kids, with their child-like faith…that they could speak to the mountain, and it move.

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