September: Times Are Changing

September 27, 2011

Ahhh…Despite everything that Bob Dylan *did*, he still made some really excellent music – very iconic.

September – Things have definitely changed this month.  It has been a whirlwind.

Our daycare provider quit on us, w ithout notice. I resigned from my position at St. Vincent Health.  And our bank rejected our paychecks.

That was just this week.  *laughs*

Yet, here are the truly memorable things from this month:

  • Tessa was furiously upset after taking a tumble. Evan went up and hugged her!  Precious.
  • Evan started hippotherapy (horse therapy). On his first day, he rode backwards and galloped.  The therapists were amazed at his natural ‘prowess’.
  • ‘Mommy’ will be home with Evan everyday starting October 16th.  The first time in his life!

I honestly can’t think of much else to say about this month.  I think the song summed up my sentiments exactly.  This month made me feel old!

‘The slow one now, will later be fast…The order is rapidly fading…The times they are a changin’.

What He Wants to Write

September 16, 2011

Its pretty incredible that in February I started out to write a blog about the things going on with Evan. I wanted our friends and family to keep up-to-date and understand how we were feeling.  Since then, I have posted over 25,000 words up here!

In July, something really shifted though. People that I hadn’t talked to in years started sending me facebook messages about how touched they were. Literally, everyday people were encouraging me with their responses. Driving home from work one night, I was praying for a girl that graduated with my brother, who is seven years older than me. She had reached out to say that  she had ‘gotten just what she needed’ that morning from my blog!  And then, I prayed this widly adventurous prayer…

“God, I would just really like to write a book for You.  You could say whatever You want to, especially about Autism, and it would just give You so much glory.”

Two weeks later, I sat talking with a fabulous guitar player at our church and his wife.  After raising their children, his wife had returned to college as a freshman. Today, she is a physician.  He started telling me about their home and that they were renovating it. Then, he said, “Be careful what you pray for you, because He’ll give it you. No, seriously, I look back at the things we prayed for and – WOW, its all come true!”

Seven chapters or 152 pages later, I’m staring at my book and trying to decide what to put on my blog and what to put in the book. 

What He Wants to Write…

Power of Three

September 10, 2011

After Evan was diagnosed with Autism in February, I talked with a representative from ASK (AboutSpecialKids ). We discussed everything from insurance, therapies, raising kids with and without autism and marriage. At the end of our conversation, she advised me that my husband and I should go to some counseling sessions – even if we did not feel like it or want to – we should do it.

So we did.

It was good. At the time, I was overwhelmed by everything and Jesse was feeling that Evan would be fine as time went on. I remember the counselor looking at me and saying ‘how does that make you feel’? 

No, really, that is what she said! 

It was a good moment though, because I felt like I could say to him that I was freaked out. We both knew it, of course. Saying it made it real. In turn, we learned that his optimistic attitude was a good thing, but that it could also make me feel isolated – as if I was the only one concerned about Evan.

About six months have passed. Each of our perspectives have changed since then. I think it is starting to set in that Evan is a special needs child. We certainly knew this months ago. Yet, as he starts school and moves up in the nursery, we find ourselves facing decisions and handling situations that tell us he is different than other kids.

Last Saturday, Evan was running a fever most of the day. He just seemed out of it and took a long nap. Then, on Sunday, he was sick to his stomach once and took two, three-hour naps. By the evening, he was in much better spirits. The doctor checked him out and there was no sore throat or earache.

However, for several days he was easily frustrated. It was kind of a long 3-4 days for all of us.  The last evening, he was so angry and throwing a fit right before bed. Honestly, I had reached my limit. I tucked him in bed and was prepared to hear him cry for awhile.

And then Jesse came.

Jesse went in and rubbed his head and said, “I know, buddy. Its been a rough day, but things will get better.” Evan stopped crying and looked him.  You could see it in his eyes that he understood. After a few minutes, Jesse came and joined me on the couch. All was quiet in Evan’s room.

We talked about Evan a lot that night. As I shared how Evan could not tell us his tummy ached or that he felt sick, tears rolled down my husband’s face.  And he, in turn, remarked that Evan must feel so isolated much of the time.  He probably doesn’t know what he is feeling, but the emotion is there.  We see it in the outbursts of anger and grinding his teeth.  We see it in the running and laughing.  He feels.  Just as much as you or I.

It struck me while we were talking that Jesse is the heart of our family.  For months, I have worried about Evan, prayed about Evan, lobbied for Evan, worked on things for Evan. In truth, very few times, I have ever thought about how Evan must feel. 

I definitely could feel guilty about this.  Yet, I don’t.  I do my part for Evan.  Jesse does his.  We have different parts to play in this journey.  We connect each other with those different parts.  In doing so, we make each other better contenders in the fight.

In the end, neither Jesse or I are in this alone.

“Though one may be overpowered in the fight by another,

two can withstand it. 

And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

(Ecclesiastes 4:12)

We keep fighting the fight together. And with God, we will not be conquered. 

This may be obvious, but I am disappointed that my son has autism.  I think I have been in denial. Gung-ho, take on the world, face in a grimace – denial.  Not in denial that he has autism – he doesn’t talk, folks!  In denial that I am disappointed.

Most of my life, I have felt like a disappointment to my parents.  Creative and Artistic = black sheep. Intelligent and Not-Ever-Concerned-About-School = black sheep. No college degree = black sheep.  They don’t read this (gasp! Surprise!), so I feel comfortable saying that. My siblings do and I’m fairly certain they might echo my sentiments. Don’t get my wrong.

I have awesome parents.

Awesome parents with high expectations. I’m fairly certain that my own insecurity plays a large role in my ‘black sheep’ feelings. I’m also comfortable saying that.

All of this being said, I have an overwhelming fear of making my children feel that they are disappointments. Enter ‘the truth’ at stage left…

Fear is stupid and, most often, irrational. In One, Extremely Powerful and Wise Book, it is written that ‘perfect love casts out fear’. 

the Good News is that I have known Perfect Love.

Jesus, Cross, Tomb.

So back to disappointment…

Its been difficult for me to admit that I am disappointed about autism, because I was worried that it might be confused with being disappointed in Evan. So NOT THE CASE.

Evan is magnificent. He is bold, strong and courageous. He is also gentle in spirit. I could never be disappointed in him, because God made him.

Yes, God. *romantic sigh*

A few weeks ago, I was feeling discouraged about Evan and his progress. I went forward for some prayer and the woman who prayed for me just cut to the chase. She started praying for me to give my disappointment to God. Then, she hugged me and we cried together and it was very Ya-Ya Sisterhood.  While we were hugging, I just felt peace wash over me and I gave my disappointment to God.

Only to have God tell me something…

The flip side of disappointment is Appointment.

Appointment (n.) A fixed meeting or purpose; The act of appointing or designating.

Appointed (adj.) Predetermined, arranged; Provided with what is necessary.

So Evan and I, our family. Appointed. 

Insert smiley face emoticon…

To be seperated from your appointment is the essence of satan’s desire. To be connected with your appointment is the essence of God’s desire.

Sometimes I wonder what we are appointed for exactly. And then I think of God’s desire.  He made us an appointment with autism – a date with destiny.  Satan is doing everything to keep us from meeting that appointment.

When I say it like that, it plays out like a movie in my head. Of the ‘Terminator’ variety.  We are racing against time and the world to meet our ‘date with destiny’ – live or die. Queue dramatic, bass music: duh, duh, duh…  Who will win?

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom he has called according to his plan. This is true because he already knew his people and had already appointed them to have the same form as the image of his Son. Therefore, his Son is the firstborn among many children. He also called those whom he had already appointed. He approved of those whom he had called, and he gave glory to those whom he had approved of.

What can we say about all of this? If God is for us, who can be against us?…What will separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can trouble, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or violent death separate us from his love?…

The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties. I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us.We can’t be separated by death or life, by angels or rulers, by anything in the present or anything in the future, by forces or powers in the world above or in the world below, or by anything else in creation.

We Win!