Conquering the Rain!

A few weeks ago, I watched one of the most beautiful sights unfold before my eyes.

It was a dark and stormy night.  Well, not really, but it was a rainy afternoon, which in our house can turn into a dark and stormy night pretty quick!  If you are new to my blog, you can catch up on the rain posts here and here.

On this rainy afternoon though, Sketch blew me away… and it wasn’t even windy!  I had to meet him at the bus at the end of our long driveway.  So he had much farther to travel to get into the house, than when I was homeschooling him.  Plus, now I am expecting our fourth child (a surprise treasure from God, for sure!), and I simply am not able to carry him all the way in, as I had before.

So I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to make this work.  I decided to walk up to the bus with Sketch’s frog umbrella.  He loves that frog umbrella when it is dry, and he’s inside!  Not once has he used it in the rain. He always rejects it and while terrified of getting wet, he asks, “Carry?”.  So I thought if he saw me use it in the rain, he’d understand that it will keep him dry too.

When he stepped off the bus, he looked at the umbrella with a smile.  I handed it to him but he didn’t reach for it so I took his two hands and had him hold it.  When he seemed steady with it, I slowly released my hands.

Bigger Smile!

And he was soooo proud of himself!  He held it very tightly, and just seemed amazed at how it was keeping him dry.  He didn’t go in the house when we got to our door, he kept walking around in the backyard, cute as can be…soaking up his victory!

From our back window, this is what I saw:

Isn’t it beautiful?  There he is holding that umbrella as if it were the Flag, as if he were marching!  Maybe it was his victory march for conquering his rain fears 🙂  When I saw him walking around like that, tears came to my eyes…and granted, I am pregnant so maybe it was just the horrormones (as my friend, Kay, would call them), but really, what I was thinking about that made this picture so beautiful to me is what has happened to to get him to this place.

After the post Short, Sweet, and Silly was written, I had to take Sketch in the rain to OT.  He surprisingly didn’t object to leaving the house!  He didn’t want to get wet or deal with rain, but he didn’t let his fears stop him! (Lesson #1) and he asked to “Carry?” which I did.  He didn’t just have me simply carry him though.  When I picked him up, he wrapped his little long legs all around my waist and his little long arms all the way around my neck (almost twice!) and he clinged to me so tightly that I didn’t even have to hold him!  If I let go, he was just there, unbudged!  (Lesson #2)

The next time it rained, he did the same thing. Just accepted the rain and clung to me as if his life depended on it.

And the next time, it was a Sunday and we were at church.  Mr. Incredible got to carry him this time and I got to watch Sketch cling to him in the same adorable way.

It’s just intensely beautiful…because this is just what God wants us to do with our fears.  He does not want us to be held back by them, but to cling to Him through them!

Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

God must have been holding up Sketch under that umbrella, making the safety of His presence known to him.

And he’ll do it for you too!  Do not be afraid!  And as my favorite potty training card says, “You go girl!”

Merry Christmas everyone!

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head!

I’ve just got this vision playing in my mind, that takes place about 20 years from now.  I am 60 years old, carrying my 25 year old Sketch,who won’t step foot in the rain.  I’m wondering how that is going to work?

I am sure he’ll come to tolerate the rain a bit better by then than he does now, but at this point, his total disgust and fear of the rain is getting worse, not better!

Today I was coming home from taking him to OT, and the darkened skies opened wide, spilling it’s heavy rains to the earth.

When we got home, Sketch wanted just one thing:  to be in the house where it was dry.  There was just one problem with this what-should-be easily solved problem. He has to get though the torrential downpour that is blocking his way between the car and the house.

At first he wouldn’t even come near the car door.  When I opened it, with the umbrella in hand, he backed up away from the open-to-the-dreaded-rain door.  He was not ready to face his fear head-on….or, head under, as the case may be!

“Come on, Sketch, I’ll carry you!  See?  I have an umbrella to keep you dry. It will be ok!”

“Are you all done? AHHHHH!”

“Sketch, it’s ok, I’ll carry you in and keep you dry!  Then you can get your blue blanket (his favorite thing)”

“Ahhh!  All Done!” Sketch screams and cries in objection.

It took about 5 minutes of convincing him that it is safe, and worth it, to let me carry him in.  He screamed all the way… I’m sure the 4 steps to the porch and 4 stair-steps up to the door seemed to be more like 4 miles long, with each inch looming with the potential disaster of getting wet…of having “spots” on his shirt…of his shoes having a darker shade of leather than they did before…or…here’s the worst…wet hair!

But, it didn’t happen.  I kept him dry, just as I promised…all the while getting my own feet wet from walking in puddles since I couldn’t see the way while carrying him…my back was spotted with rain drop stains, my shoulders sore from attempting to coordinate the umbrella and Sketch at the same time.  But Sketch, he was ok.

Except, he didn’t think he was.

If I thought he was screaming before, it was just a minor whimper in comparison to what came next.  Now that he’s in the house and dry & safe, he lets loose with the high pitch alarm sounding scream…the one usually reserved for severe pain or terror!

Ignoring his screams, I sit with him by the fire place to get warm and dry.  I grab a extra-comfortable quilted blanket with a rainbow colored sunburst in the center, and wrap it around us both.

He giggles.

I squeeze, and he giggles in relief, again.

I just hold him and warm him and give him squeezes of pressure & hugs that make him feel safe.  (I really don’t mind this part at all!)

We cuddle by the fire, feeling safe from the dangers outdoors.

Sometimes we have a storm in our lives, or a dreaded event, or something we just don’t like.  And we have to endure it to get to the promised land of comfort & safety. And just like I carried Sketch in the house, God offers to guide and protect us as well, while we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death”  We don’t need to fear any evil, for “your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

And even though we may be absolutely dreading the path we have to take, and it takes all we have to make that first step out of the door into the arms of God (who’s holding us under a really big umbrella), God is there and He carefully takes us to the other side.  God takes the rain on his own shoes and back.  “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

And once we are safe… we may still feel a bit traumatized by the whole thing.  We may still want to throw our fit and scream:  “Did it really have to happen THAT way God???  Couldn’t you magically get me here from the car while avoiding the rain???”

And God comes, and takes us by the warm fire of his presence, re-assures us with his Word, and wraps us with the Holy Spirit like a blanket, and comforts us.  And we relax. And we may giggle at how silly we were about the magic tricks, or the situation we dreaded so much but just turned out to be no big deal in comparison to God. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

Often at the point of finally relaxing, we want to just move on. To get up and start doing things that need to be done.  But I encourage you to follow Sketch’s example and to not do that.  Treasure the moment. Stop by the fire place and rest, soak in the love of our incredible Savior.  Rest in the presence of God, absorb the Words of God and soak in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

It’s still raining outside here in Maine, and maybe it is still raining where you are too. Maybe you are about to take that first step out of the car to make the journey to the other side, and to you I say:

Fear not, the God of the universe is waiting to take you safely over, hand-in-hand, or perhaps by carrying you all the way.

High Flying Dust

I'm sure there is a treasure in here somewhere!

The dreaded week has occurred.

It actually didn’t start out that way…but quickly became that when our last in-home supports staff quit last week, leaving us this week with no help and all three kids home, with only me during the day while Mr. Incredible is at work.

This is the week between Sketch’s last day at preschool, and the twins first day of public school.

This is the week, in which the dust of life has kicked up as high as it can get, without permanent damage.

The craziness started on Monday. The boys were at odds from the start. It went something like this:

“Sketch turned the light off!” in Dash’s well practiced whiney voice, bordering on a yell.

“Aaaaahhhhh!” squeals Sketch back at Dash.

“Sketch wants the lights off! It’s daytime. Sketch wants the lights off because why? Sketch! Lights go off at bedtime! Sketch wants the lights OFF!”

Sketch moves the table an inch or two, and looks at Dash.

“Sketch moved the table! NO Sketch!” and Dash attempts to move it back.

Sketch tries to move it again and yells at dash.

Dash starts screaming at Sketch.

Sketch screams at Dash.

Time to SEPARATE the children!!!

Sketch goes to the basement.

Dash works on his maps.

Ahhh…peace an quiet…

What’s that smell?

Sketch comes up without his beloved undies on and goes to the bathroom. I SEE the smell. Ugh… again!

I help clean up Sketch and he goes to his room to get more undies. I go to the basement and see the unspeakable horrors of what happened.


All over the carpet, the pillows, the toys. Everywhere. And the ubiquitous stink knew no bounds.

I start to clean up and get the well-used carpet cleaner ready.

“AAAAhhhhh! All Done!” Sketch protests. He doesn’t like the sound of the carpet cleaner, or the fact that the play room will be off limits for a while.

While I’m cleaning up, Dash, Sketch, and Princess Buttercup are upstairs TOGETHER…with no adult supervision… I can’t stay downstairs cleaning so I do the minimum required, and close off the basement until Mr. Incredible gets home.

The smell is still strong, even upstairs. It’s Sketch…I think it is in his hair.

“Sketch, time for a bath!”

“Aaaaahhhhhh! All Done!”

And on it goes…

A friend sends a word of encouragement. It is Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

The sun went down, the moon calmly shined through the night.

As I got up on Tuesday morning, I was sure the day would go better. The kids all had a good nights sleep, the morning was quiet. I got to take my shower and even have a cup of coffee before everyone was up and going.

Quiet mornings can be utterly deceiving.

Once everyone was up for the day, the arguing and fighting continued. Sketch was in rare form. He asked for some Special K, so I gave some to him in a red bowl. He looked at it, got angry and yelled, “All Done!” and threw the bowl at me with flakes flying all over the kitchen. He screamed and flailed about, attempting to scratch. ( I am still not sure what that was about. Maybe the bowl was the wrong color?)

Then he started crying and rubbed his eyes into my shirt as if to say, “I’m sorry”. He went to the basement to play again, with his trains.

The twins continued their fighting throughout the morning.

I attempted to get some laundry done, and while switching clothes from washer to dryer, I remember the verse my friend gave me the other day. He is my refuge and strength. He is my ever-present help in trouble. “But Lord! I need your physical presence! I need an actual set up extra eyes and hands and feet!”

“Am I not enough for you?” I hear him whisper back. “Can’t I help you my way?”

Oh yeah… “I’m sorry Lord, I have made you too small in my eyes…forgive me!”

There are many ways He can help me…he can send a calmness over the house. He could send a person to help, there are any number of creative ways He can help. Who am I to limit Him? “Ok, You have promised to be my ever-present help. You have promised to provide for me, you have promised that through You (who gives me strength), I can do all things.

The afternoon arrived and I decided to go to BJ’s, where I could get a car-cart and have all three kids contained. Maybe getting out of the house would help everyone be in a better mood. Things seemed calmer for a while.

For the first time in my BJ’s-going experience, BJ’s had no car-carts to be found!

So we moved on to plan B, and got a regular cart. Sketch sat in the back and Dash and princess Buttercup “helped” push the cart. Dash was very upset about not getting the car-cart, and spent the first half of the trip underneath the cart, watching the floor pass as we “drove” along, collecting the few items we needed.

Sketch and Dash fought over which direction to turn next.

“Going to turn right please!” Sketch demands

“Turn left please?” Dash immediately asks.

“Mommy is picking the direction. All the time, the driver picks” I remind the boys. I turn right.

“Sketch picks! It’s Sketch’s turn to pick!” Dash bellows as I turn.

This is just too much, so before things get worse, I go straight to the self check out. I want to get out of here before to much attention is brought to us! I go to scan my BJ’s card and Sketch stands up in the back of the cart and loudly exclaims, “Poopy in the POTTY? POTTY!” So much for not causing a scene!

I tell him to wait until we check out. He didn’t like that and tried to get out of the cart on his own, while screaming. I avoid looking at anyone else in the store. I am sure there area thousand eyes watching me, and I just wish there was a way to tell them the boys have autism and I am really not a terrible mom!

Sketch finally settled down and waited as I scanned all the food. Dash wants to “help”. Despite my attempts to tell him he cannot scan stuff, he continued to grab things and reach around me to the scanner. I decide to hold his hand so he can’t do that, and put the last thing on the scanner. I swipe my card to pay for it. Sketch has to go potty! I’m almost done. Then, before the card can be processed, Dash kicks the BIG RED button that shuts the entire machine off. We have to be rung up all over again, every single item… Sketch needs to go potty!

Finally, we are done paying for groceries, and we can go to the bathroom. He wasn’t kidding, Sketch needed to go potty!

We arrive home without incident (besides the constant arguing over which direction to turn at every opportunity!). It is cool outside so the kids are happy to play in the back yard.

Mr. Incredible comes home a little early! Yeah! Relief!!!

I usually go out on Tuesday nights with a friend for Bible Study, but it was rescheduled this time. So, I decided to go out anyway, to get a break from the madness, and went to the mall to use a gift card we had.

Not too long after I arrived, I received the phone call no one wants to get.

It is Mr. Incredible, “Hi, can you come home? Sketch is missing, I can’t find him anywhere”.

I drop everything and rush to the car. I call the police, they are already there seaching for him, and they brought a rescue dog. I wonder how long he’s been missing? I call my friend, Edna Mode and tell her what happened. She was at church so she and others there pray. Hard. She comes to help. She calls her husband who is nearby and he comes to help. I am racing home. The police said to be careful. I’m trying.

I am panicking and praying. I am crying out to God, loudly, in my car… “You are ever-present in my time of need! You are there with Sketch Please keep him safe. Let him be ok. Please SHOW me you are ever-present! Please GOD!!!” So many thoughts race through my mind. So many “what if’s” and “If only’s”.

Mr. Incredible calls, “They found him!”

The police call, “They found Sketch and he is alright!”

Relief. Kinda. I mostly think that vomiting on the side of the road would be a good thing to do.

I call Edna to tell her they found him and he’s ok.

He was in the woods beside our house. Sketch loves the woods…or “forest” as he calls it. He was barefoot and wandered out of the yard to a section of the “forest” he doesn’t usually go into. We don’t know what happened or why he went there. We can only speculate. But out he came, and he is safe. And he is OK.

And God was PRESENT in our time of trouble.

Just like He said.

And today, Sketch is happy as can be, dancing and singing a Hillsong song, “My souls set free in the one I love! Come on! Come on! And the whole world sings in the freedom we know! Come on! Come on and praise Him!”

Dash is working on his maps.

Princess Buttercup is making things.

There is very little fighting or arguing.

Mr. Incredible comes home early again.

All is well.

Come on! Come on and praise Him!

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