Today was hard, but sometimes I write that and think, What else is new? A Christian friend who also has an autistic child, one that’s an adult already, brought this home recently: “I know life is hard, but sometimes I want to say to God, Does it have to be this hard?”
And another Christian friend is suffering deeply as her child suffers with a medical condition that is painful, life changing and incurable. Yet another Christian I know lost so much thanks to his daughter’s vaccine injury (it was proven), and is suffering daily as she grows older.
As for me, this week was beyond hard. On Wednesday, Zoe wouldn’t go to school without her dad around (he left much earlier), and a huge struggle for the rest of the day, that I won’t bother to describe. We both failed. When I finally dropped her off with only 2 hours left in her school day, the roads had a slippery texture from light rain. Unloading the car, I twisted my foot, and it’s still very sore. Augh. And as I’m writing this, I know something else super crappy happened, I just can’t remember.
Thursday was fine but this morning she was upset and last night barely slept. And I’m still wondering about the pieces of the the problems that seem serious and unfixable.
And we are all left in the dark, clinging to our faith and trying to push away the selfish thoughts of “Why me, Lord?
Between all this suffering and all my work projects, I’ve had a question on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been wondering about all the people who believe that autism is a gift, without considering that for some autistic people, it’s not a gift at all.
That’s actually something I think about a lot. I do feel that part of the push to make autism acceptable (and it SHOULD be) is misguided, making it out to be something that it’s often not. Did you know, for example, that autistic people with genius level skills account for only about 10% of all people with autism? Did you know that there is a larger number of people whose autism means intellectual or developmental disability?
I also believe that this is tied to the medical community’s (and the CDC’s) position that autism is still rare (no, it’s not) and that it’s strictly genetic (plenty of GOOD science refutes that), as well as the entire vaccine debate (won’t get into that here).
This leaves the question of whether or not autism is a blessing.
When I’m frustrated and exhausted and PISSED OFF, I can’t process that. In those moments, I believe it’s nothing but a burden.
But when I’m clearer, relaxed, or have solved an issue for my child (even if it’s just calming her down), I can clearly see that, blessing or not, it IS God’s will for me.
That, truthfully, kind of hurts.
It hurts that my friends’ problems with their kids’ issues are ALSO God’s will for them.
It hurts that God won’t come down right now and solve this.
All of that makes me want to say, “Why, God, why?”
The truth is, I know why. My former church was led by a pastor who had been shepherded by a senior pastor from Las Vegas who wrote a book in which he referenced my pastor vaguely.
My pastor had lost his teenaged daughter in a car accident that was no one’s fault many years before. In the Las Vegas pastor’s church, years later, another family lost their child senselessly. No names were mentioned but it was clear to me in reading the book, that it was my pastor that was chosen to shepherd this family through their difficulty.
No Christian wants to hear that this dark road is His will for you, but sometimes it is.
And I know, whenever I’m sitting on the floor crying over my kid, that God has led me to this place to be a witness in the dark.
I don’t want to be, not at all, but I can’t stand the thought that other moms may be sitting on their floor, hearts breaking, in despair that there may not be any hope any more. Any mom scared of her own child beating her up. Any mom tired of cleaning poop or changing an adult child’s diapers. Any mom who is terrified of another seizure, and another, and another. Any mom who doesn’t think she can take just one more day.
We know there are moms who get to this breaking point, especially with autistic children. It’s still, thankfully, rare, but there are parents who have taken their autistic child’s life because they could not go on.
Please know I am NOT excusing these people, even if they had PTSD. Murder is never the answer.
But if my own troubles and consequential reliance on God to help me through them helps even ONE person, at all, then it’s worth it. In my heart, I honestly know I couldn’t get through this without His grace, mercy and support. In fact, I truly believe that many parents raising autistic children who don’t have the Lord are putting themselves in danger of burnout, despair or worse.
I mean, look how tough this is for those of us who do have Jesus! These trials are to ensure that our daily reliance is on Him, and Him alone. Isaiah 51:6 says,
This is what the Lord says:
“Be just and fair to all.
Do what is right and good,
for I am coming soon to rescue you
and to display my righteousness among you.
He truly wants to be your hero – not your co-pilot, not your “go-to” resource when in need, but the actual Person who is carrying you down that beach when you can no longer walk. And He is true to answer that need faithfully, like it says in Psalm 3:3-4:
Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
Jesus came down here just for us, in reality, but we can take this figuratively too. After His death, when the curtain in the temple was torn, God made it so that He could come down directly to us any time we need it at all!
For anything? you might be thinking.
YES. Anything, anything at all.
A few years back in my Bible study group, we had a good laugh over this old SNL video:
It’s hilarious and we were having a good laugh over it. I poohed poohed Sally’s character, but a trusted friend said, “But honestly, Gina, why not pray for the rice? Doesn’t He want us to to ask him for help in all things?”
Rice may be inconsequential but sometimes it’s the little things that help. On Tuesday, I was driving to Bible study and the rain was coming down in sheets. The more I drove, the worse it got. I hate to drive and I was pretty scared. I almost turned back half a dozen times.
Then I realized I could pray. Normally, I’d pray for help to drive – and I did – but I could also pray for the rain to stop. I asked earnestly for God to stop the rain, because I didn’t want to be tempted to go back home and miss learning about God’s word and fellowship with other women. I begged Him to stop the rain. At the end of my prayer – no kidding here – the rain JUST STOPPED.
I know that it took one hundred and seventy billion perfectly timed things to make that rain stop for little ol’ me, but that’s how big our God is. I have not a doubt in my heart that this was His way of showing me love.
I kinda tear up every time I think of it.
And this week with Zoe’s school refusal? I did the best I could, but I was livid the whole day. It was hard to grant her mercy when she was so aggressive. And I had to get through the next morning too. I prayed – earnestly again – because she can’t just miss school every time he’s not home. What if my husband gets a commuting job? What if something happens?
Yesterday morning, we had a flawless day in which she was thrilled to go. She even took her vitamins and ate breakfast! Brushing teeth had zero complaints too. She was in a mood later and the next morning, so I have no explanation for this, either, except answered prayer.
And that’s what faith is like sometimes. Just making tiny little puddle jumps from one crisis to the next and allowing our mighty God to show up big time, even when we screw up by yelling at our kids or throwing out a few choice words of profanity. (Guilty.)
Let Him drive, man, when you’re in deep darkness. Let Him drive when you’re overwhelmed with little things. Let Him drive when the world is on overwhelm and all you want to do is run away and hide from everyone.
Just. Let. Jesus. Drive.
He’s actually pretty good at it – better than you and me!
And then go out and be the light to someone else who doesn’t know that He can steer when they can’t.