Tomorrow is April 1st….

April….Autism Awareness Month….Autism acceptance month….A Month where people who don’t pay much attention the rest of the year turn their eyes on the Autism community.

A month of “Light it up Blue” and profile pictures on Facebook, and the myths, facts, and blog posts fill the internet.

All this is well and good. We need more awareness as a society. We desperately need more acceptance and understanding.

Tonight I have been looking back through posts I have made in Aprils past….reading over things I have written, wondering what I would say this year. To be honest, I am still not sure, will have to take things one day at a time I guess. I MAY do a 30 days of Autism in Pictures again, it’s been a while since I did that, and that was , to me, a beautiful way to showcase what our flavor of Autism looks like. Imagine that, me, a photographer, expressing my thoughts with words and photos. ( LOL)

For now….Here is a one stop list of posts I have written that are meaningful to me as we head into another April, not including the 30 days of snapshots posts, as those are linked off to the right hand side…..

This is Our Autism

“Autism is love, Unconditional, deep love, stronger than any meltdown, bigger than any low. It is a love that keeps me going even on those days when I want to give up. It is a love that enables me to pick up the pieces, calm him down when he falls apart, to fight with doctors, to stand up for his rights at school. It is a love that is like nothing I have EVER known in my life.”

This is Our Autism revisited

“Autism is NOT the end of the world.

Autism IS beautiful

Autism is NOT Despair

Autism IS looking at the world differently

Autism is NOT a disease that is contagious, or in need of a cure. My kids do not need Fixing. They may need help in some areas, and a little extra support in others, but they do NOT need to be cured, or fixed.

Autism is Different, but NOT Less…”

There IS Hope!

“It is a Powerful thing! When someone loses hope, it is dangerous. Hearing the phrase “Your child has autism” Can be a very devastating thing to a parent, it’s true. The road is hard, it is an uphill battle, this I wont deny. There is grief, anger, sadness, days I feel overwhelmed. I cry, scream “Why??” , but I cling to HOPE. NOBODY , not a Doctor, Family members, even strangers, should EVER lead a parent raising a special needs child to think there is “No hope”.”

Aware

There are many others, and as I read through each of the posts I have written, I realized each post I have written is important in it’s own right. some made me smile, some made me laugh, some brought tears to my eyes, reminders of the not so easy days. This has been, and continues to be a roller-coaster of a journey, and I am incredibly thankful for the blessings that are my children. I am thankful God has blessed me with gifts of writing and photography, that I can capture the moments, that I can help others along the way. I have been reminded tonight of why I write, why I need to keep writing.

For now, I need to go try and sleep off this Migraine I have been fighting off all day. I will be back at some point tomorrow…..

 

The Garden of my Heart

This is How my day began….

 This was My Status on Facebook this morning:  “struggling to quiet the negative committee in my head today…feeling like I am gonna snap and say something I will regret if somebody pushes the “do not push button”…..

From the time I woke up this morning, the Negative committee in my head has been shouting. Reminders of past hurts, Negative things people have said about me, doubts about my parenting, doubts doubts doubts. The kids woke up fighting with each other, and the downward spiral continued. It was like a Big Ominous Dark cloud was hovering over our house. As I sat working through the war waging in my head, combating each negative thought as it surfaced, I found myself standing at a Crossroads….

This was the resulting Facebook Status: “Is it better to lock one’s heart away, to protect it from pain, perhaps to “shut down” or like in Once upon a time, rip one’s heart out to avoid heartache…or to love to the fullest, to experience life with all it’s joys and heartbreaks, to accept the pain and understand that when You let people in, they will at some point hurt you because nobody is perfect. The crossroad has been reached, the paths make no sense. Become a hermit and Hide from everyone?…no, that would surely be death , slow, painful, lonely death. Keep going on the path currently traveled, letting people in, giving and looking for good in all? Not sure that is right either. Too much pain, seems naive. That leaves the 3rd path; Guarded, careful steps. Accepting the pain, forgiving and learning to not be too trusting, without growing bitter and cold. Praying through a Mountain of negative thoughts today….”

Life has thrown many curve balls my way, and more than a few land mines. Things meant to tear down, to break a person, to destroy. There are many reasons I should not be sitting here typing this. The list of reasons why I should be bitter and angry is long. The argument for hiding away from the world is a strong one. Locking my heart away forever, shutting out all but a VERY limited few certainly LOOKS like the best path. That being said, I have learned enough about myself through the course of this journey called life to know that to lock my heart away is not the answer. It would enable bitterness to take root. It would slowly kill the creativity and compassion that I have grown to realize I need.  It is also becoming clear that the current path is not working, in fact it has become dangerous. I have realized I have been too trusting, that looking for the good all the time is  Naive, and there are people who will take advantage, who will use and abuse such trust and kindness. The 3rd path seems to be my best option. It is FAR from the easiest, and in fact it is probably the hardest. It means accepting the pain, and working through it. It means forgiving, and refusing to let the poison of bitterness take root. It means continuing to be a part of the world, to keep giving, to continue to feed the compassion and creativity that I thrive on, while guarding my heart and making sure that I don’t allow myself to be used.

As I continued to work through the jungle of thoughts in my head, The positive thoughts began to regain control of my mind. As I prayed , my focus changed. I began to remember who I am, that I am important, that I am not worthless. I was reminded that I am here for a purpose, and locking myself away will not accomplish that purpose.  I was reminded of the Parable of the bags of Gold.

Matthew 25:14-30 (NIV)

The Parable of the Bags of Gold

 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them.  To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.  The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more.  So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more.  But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags.  For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

To lock myself away, to Not use the Talents I have been blessed with, would be the worst thing I could do. I have been blessed so that I can bless others.  The trials I have overcome have enabled me to be there for people facing similar battles. And so, I will continue to capture life’s beauty one Photo at a time, and I will continue to share my thoughts, to write when I can.

This was the Facebook status that came from the shift in perspective:

“It’s not you who creates insecurities in your mind; it’s others who plant that seed. It’s you who waters that seed and allows it to grow.”

It’s about Perspective….will we feed the negative thoughts an allow them to take root and grow? or do we combat them with Positive truths. what we choose to give power to is what will grow and thrive.

{Philippians 4:4-8 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.}

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It all comes down to a Choice….Every day, sometimes more than once a day. Will I focus on the negatives, on the hurts, the fears, the doubts? or will I choose to hold on to the positives, to focus on the blessings in my life. If You give something root, it will eventually begin to grow. What will You grow in the garden of Your heart and mind? I choose to weed out the bitterness, resentment, fear, doubt, hate, anger, rejection, jealousy, and make room for love, compassion, peace, hope, faith, joy, trust to grown. Some days , like today, are harder than others. This is after all, a fight.  I am reminded of a couple of quotes…, one I have said a lot recently, to a dear friend…and one apparently I need reminding of tonight….

“Promise me you’ll always remember:

You’re braver than you believe,

and stronger than you seem,

and smarter than you think.”

― A.A. Milne

“I’m quirky, silly, blunt, and broken. My days are sometimes too dark, and my nights are sometimes too long.

I often trip over my own insecurities. I require attention, long for passion, and wish to be desired.

I use music to speak when words fail me, even though words are as important to me as the air I breathe.

I love hard and with all that I have… and even with my faults, I am worth loving.”
– Danu Grayson

This is Our Autism…Revisiting a previous Post

Back in June of 2011, I wrote : “Autism is love, Unconditional, deep love, stronger than any meltdown, bigger than any low. It is a love that keeps me going even on those days when I want to give up. It is a love that enables me to pick up the pieces, calm him down when he falls apart, to fight with doctors, to stand up for his rights at school. It is a love that is like nothing I have EVER known in my life.” as a conclusion to a Post titled “This is Our Autism” which was in response to a question a Fellow Autism Momma, Blogger, and Military wife, who also happens to share the same first name as me posed. The question “What is Your Autism?”

I Have been doing a lot of thinking about this again, in light of something that is going on in the Autism community. Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, and grandmother to an autistic child, took time just this week to call for a National Autism Plan, based entirely on her opinion (which, therefore, is the opinion of Autism Speaks) that autism has “stolen” three million kids, and is making those kids’ families miserable. Here is a snipet of what she has to say….( You can read the full post Here, but PLEASE if You do….Take the time to read the COMMENTS, to hear the voices that are speaking out.)

Each day across this country, those three million moms, dads and other care-takers I mentioned wake to the sounds of their son or daughter bounding through the house.  That is – if they aren’t already awake. Truth be told, many of them barely sleep—or when they do – they somehow sleep with one ear towards their child’s room—always waiting. Wondering what they will get into next. Will they try to escape? Hurt themselves? Strip off their clothes?  Climb the furniture? Raid the refrigerator?  Sometimes – the silence is worse.

These families are not living.

They are existing. Breathing – yes.  Eating – yes. Sleeping- maybe.  Working- most definitely – 24/7.

This is autism.

Life is lived moment-to-moment.  In anticipation of the child’s next move.  In despair.  In fear of the future.  

This is autism.

I am angry, The above comments made by an organization claiming to speak for my children, my Family, and so many others in the autism community has gotten it SO wrong. Am I saying life with Autism is easy? NO! But it is not something that needs fixing, or  a cure either. Yes there are times when my son wanders, and my children climb on furniture, and raid the fridge…..but Guess what, That is Part of having kids! I can remember , as the oldest of 4 kids growing up….Couch cushions strewn across the floor became rocks and if you stepped off onto the floor, You melted in Hot Lava, so we jumped from cushion to cushion, couch to chair…you get the idea.

When my non verbal child wanders, it scares me to death, BUT I have learned ways to keep Him safe, and still allow Him to explore the world We live in. I have learned to read His cues, and He has found ways to let me know “hey, mom, I am done and I need to go home”.

Autism is not, and never will be the end of all hope. My children are amazing, brilliant individuals. My daughter draws the most amazing artwork, a very visual and creative thinker. My son can make my computer do things I had NO clue it could do. They are NOT Broken!!!!! God made them special JUST the way that they are, and for an organization like Autism speaks to take the power it has, and irresponsibly feed the fear and lack of hope that society piles on families goes against everything I have fought for. I am not saying that it is easy, FAR From it. I  sadly lament not enjoying the parenting experience I always wanted and thought I’d have; birthdays, school, church, Dances, Concerts, slumber Parties, any social gathering for that matter, even bowling or going to the grocery store can feel like I’m being beat by this awful disease! I have days when I just curl up and cry, When I listen to friends complain about how their teenager spends too much time on the phone, or breaks curfew, is over board boy crazy, ect, and I look at my daughter who seems to have no interest in boys, didn’t ask for a cellphone until she was 15, and still RARELY uses hers, doesn’t live at the mall. I am Thankful she has a firm grip on who she is, and that she doesn’t look to her peers for acceptance,or approval, but I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t sometimes ache for those “typical mom moments”. There are sleepless nights, and meltdowns, sensory issues, and trials and hardships…But nothing in life is easy, and a little love and patience goes a long way. Sometimes I feel like I mourn the death of the parent I would be as much as the child I thought I’d raise. I know my Husband mourns those Father son bonding moments…Football, Riding dirt-bikes, ect. , and I know that there are things I will never be able to do with my daughter, like take her to see her favorite Boy Band in concert…it’s too crowded and too loud. There are days when I actively plan ways to live longer and take care of myself better because I know I have to be here to take care of my son. No one else will ever be willing or able to do it. Some people have the luxury of money or extended family to rely on, many of us do not. Should we make the best with what we’ve got? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean pretending to the rest of the world that it’s a “gift” or anything short of an ongoing challenge. They don’t advertise Boot camp as a Glorious Vacation in Paradise, neither should they make autism out to be just something “different than expected”. That would also be completely irresponsible & untrue. Autism is a spectrum, and there is no One autism. It is challenging and some days it seems down right impossible, BUT it is NOT the end of the world.  There was a time when I lived in fear of what tomorrow may hold, BUT I have learned that when I focus on the unknown and worry about tomorrow I miss today’s joys. My children deserve to be loved, and accepted for WHO hey are, not shunned and feared because somebody only hears the word Autism. To say that my family is not Living, that Autism will break me, that my marriage will fail because Autism causes too much stress is fearmongering, and there is NO PLACE FOR IT!

Autism is NOT the end of the world.

Autism IS beautiful

Autism is NOT Despair

Autism IS looking at the world differently

Autism is NOT a disease that is contagious, or in need of a cure. My kids do not need Fixing. They may need help in some areas, and a little extra support in others, but they do NOT need to be cured, or fixed.

Autism is Different, but NOT Less…

So, this is a glimpse at My Family…..and Yes, We ARE Living, ENJOYING the moment to moment. Because Life is not the Breath You take, It’s the Moments that Take Your breath away!

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and, one more….

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Because the statistics say we should have divorced YEARS ago…I mean, Dual Military, 2 Children with Autism, Oh, we married too young, yeah, we have heard it all…all the reasons why we would never last, and I am not saying Our marriage is perfect, FAR from it! we have our ups and downs, but Autism has not destroyed our Marriage, in fact I think it has drawn us closer as we work together to make sure our children know that they are NOT broken, to give them the best love and home we can.  We are committed to each other, and to our children. When a mountain comes up, we climb it together. We have weathered many storms together, but To say we are just barely existing, ready to break at any moment, Autism speaks, You could not be more wrong. We don’t want or need pity, or fear. There is no place for fear, Only love, Hope, Joy, and Faith.

1 Corinthians 13: 3-7 {The Message}

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

Dakota~Heart

These are the Moments…

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch,

a smile,

a kind word,

a listening ear,

an honest compliment,

or the smallest act of caring,

all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

 ~Leo Buscaglia

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It’s the Simple things that often mean the most.

This is the stuff memories are made of

The Moments that stick with us Long after childhood….

It’s Nerf Wars with Daddy….

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Blowing Bubbles….

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Splashing in Puddles…

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Sidewalk chalk….

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Digging in the dirt….

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Sandcastles….

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Board Games….

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Jumping in Leaves…

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It’s time spent together, just being together….

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Life isn’t about Fancy Cars, or expensive things, it’s not about the Vacations You take, or how much You spend…..

It’s about the day to day moments…

It’s Legos , Laughter, Leaves , Love, sunshine, sandcastles, Hugs, kisses, bedtime stories,

and yes, even doing the dishes, splashing in puddles, sidewalk chalk drawings,

the moments of childhood that go by so quickly….

cherish each dandelion, each mud coated Hug,

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Time is so fleeting, and is the most precious of all gifts.

Redirect Your focus, it’s not about all the things You can’t do,

its about the things you CAN do.

Things You DO that You think are unnoticed….

Believe me, they Notice. Our children are watching, they don’t miss a thing.

A Legacy of Love, a Lifetime of Prayer

*Note , This may seem scattered and random, and should have been posted in April. For reasons hinted at in “Regaining Strength” , i never finished it, but am posting it now, because…even in it’s raw, scattered form, needs to be said. and besides, since when is grief ever “neat and organized” anyway?*
There is a group of people in my life who never gave up on me…
even through my wild rebellious years as a teenager,
no matter how angry I got, or how far out of control I spun,
They never stopped loving me, never stopped praying for me….
This is for them….
My Grandparents,
My Godparents,
my Mom and Dad ,
my siblings
The entire Jones/ Handy Family ( in my heart my 2nd Family).
I know that without all the love and non stop prayers,
my life would be totally different than what it is today,
and I thank God daily for blessing me with so many people who made sure I had firmly grounded roots,
but still gave me wings so I could soar….
The adults gave me roots and wings…
The kids filled my childhood with Friendship,
LOTS of memories,
They say there are people who leave footprints on your heart…
These are people who have left more than footprints…
This IS my Family, and I am Forever Blessed and Thankful….
Thankful for the Love,
the Laughter,
The memories,
the Friendship,
the Prayers and so much more…

Ok, this is for all you people who avoid the Camera,or hide behind it instead of putting yourself IN photos….
myself included…
There are people who love You who will want Photos of you to look back on when You are gone.
Don’t make them wish they had more Photos to cherish.
Finding myself wishing i had more of two special people in my life, both of whom has already left this earth.
This Photo is the only one I have, that I KNOW of….
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My Goal from this point on is to put ME in more photos with my kids….with the people I love.
This week has been one of reflecting, remembering, rejoicing, and mourning.  On Thursday (April 11,2013), I wrote this on Facebook ” As The Lord prepares to call a Precious Very Special Lady home, My heart cries, and rejoices at the same time. You see this dear Lady is my Godmother, and played a HUGE Role in my life. Her Love and Prayers, even when I was being unlovable are part of why I am the woman I am today……I Can’t help wondering if she knows how deeply she impacted my life. I regret not telling her often enough…and though I can’t make it to NY, I want to say THANK YOU, I Love You, and will never forget you!”
April 13,2013: At approximately 12:30 this morning my Godmother, Janice Handy went home to be with the LORD. She was a wonderful, gracious lady and taught us all very well how to survive in the world, but mostly how to live a life of faith. She fought the good fight, she won the race. She sees Jesus face to face. She was one of the Most Influential women in my Life and I am Thankful and blessed that my Parents chose her and her husband as my Godparents.
She leaves behind 25 grandchildren and 48 great grandchildren, three who predeceased her. She leaves behind a legacy of faith.
My Godfather went to be with the Lord my Senior Year of High school. At approximately 12:30 this morning My Godmother Joined him. When I think about the legacy they left, the Impact they had on my life, I count myself Very Blessed.
To Quote My Friend, Their Granddaughter, Jennifer: “My grandfather once felt that he was going to leave nothing behind for his family when it was his time to pass away. In reading all the posts here today, it is obvious that money cannot buy what he & my grandmother left behind. In the 65 years since the day they married, they had 6 children, who in turn had 25, who in turn have had 48. 3 of these met Jesus before they did. Most of these know Jesus as their Savior. Keith & Janice Handy were successful in passing on their faith and their love of family. What could be better than a legacy like this? I should be so blessed to do the same. “
They Truly Built a Household of Faith.

Regaining strength

I have not written in FAR too long. My world seemed to be spiraling out of control, and feeling overwhelmed i lost sight of any positive, of the inspiration and lessons i do my best to look for in the midst of life’s storms. I felt that if i had nothing positive to say, then why write? I am not ready to go into all the details , but the long and the short of it is i was sinking…deeper and deeper into depression. I put my writing on the shelf, and set my camera beside it. Sure, i continued to take photos of the kids sporting events, of the obvious highlight moments, but i lost sight of the every day joys.

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Things really came to a head this past 6 months. Depression took a physical toll, and in May i had surgery. The Physical limitations only increased my depression, yeah i know, vicious cycle. Thing is, as a stay at home mom, its MY job to take care of the kids, and the house, and the grocery shopping, and….you get the idea. well all of the sudden I couldn’t do any of that, and i felt i was failing my kids, my husband, myself.

I am in the process of climbing out of a deep hole, of mending things that have been damaged, and of moving forward. The storm clouds are breaking, and the sun it beginning to shine again.  I am dusting off my virtual pen, and have picked my camera back up off the shelf….

Spiraling downward,retreating inward

hitting bottom,something snaps

a wake up call to stand and fight

a forgotten corner of her mind

a well of strength within she finds

shakily rising, tears falling

cleansing tears of a heart on overload

washing over her like a flood

shoulders back, feet planted firmly

her faith was shaken, her foundation rattled

and yet she stands

another battle wages between heart and mind

This too shall pass

as the storm clouds clear

she stands, scarred but stronger

the rose once again rising from the ashes

~~R.E.B , July 7,2013~~

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Peace be still…

The Past few months I have been doing quite a bit of thinking, reflecting, re-directing. My son turned 13 in September, in the middle of a stretch of REALLY rocky road on this journey with Autism. School had started in August, and one month in, He still had not settled back into routine, and it was clear from almost day one, something was wrong. He protested that school was bad, and cried daily, BEGGING to stay home. He started running from class, his behavior went downhill FAST, and He started trying to hurt himself at school, all so He could come home. He was not sleeping at night…which of course meant, I was not sleeping at night.

All the no sleep gave me plenty of time to think, to cry, and to pray. I looked back at when the journey began. I thought about how long I had been fighting…with Doctors, insurance companies, schools. I realized I was Exhausted, I longed for a break from the “front lines”.  I lost sight of just how far we have come, the progress made. My focus was off. I spent more time focusing on how tired I was, on the storms raging around me than on my source of Hope. Exhaustion took over, and I started to get angry. I felt lost and alone.  I felt helpless. The worse things seemed to get for my son at school, the more helpless I felt. I was sinking, and I knew it. What I didn’t know, was how to turn my focus back to where it needed to be.

One night I was talking to a friend about it all, venting and crying, and she said to me “Stop. It’s time for you to remember you are not alone. It’s time for you to stop focusing on how hard it is, and focus on what you need to do. Your kids need you to not fall apart.” My mom listened to me day in and day out, crying on the phone sometimes for hours, she never stopped praying, never stopped encouraging.

One Sunday in Sunday school, my Sunday School teacher said ” I don’t know why but before we start I feel I need to read a passage of scripture that is totally unrelated to what we are studying.” He read Habakkuk 3:17-18 which reads as follows:

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

It was a wake up call for me, a Reminder that I need to give thanks to God NO MATTER WHAT.  That even in the darkest hours, I should be praising God, in the Midst of the storm. My Focus should be on HIM and not on the waves crashing around me. I was reminded of a Psalm that My Dad used to read to us all the time when I was Growing Up:

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I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.

11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?

13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.

14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

16 The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

17 The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.

18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.

20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.

21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.

22 The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

I realized that I needed to start making a Conscious choice, every day, to give Thanks…to put my focus on God, and not on how big the storm was. God Knows what my son needs, even if Dak can’t tell me what is wrong. God goes with Dak to school, even if I Can’t. I started turning it all over, one step at a time, releasing control BACK to God. I did not realize I had been trying to handle it all on my own. Autism is TOO big for me. I Can’t do it. I don’t understand it. I started making the CHOICE to let go of each worry….My son’s fear of school…My Youngest Daughter’s grief over losing her closest friend to Cancer the end of August….Financial stresses…..As each doubt or worry or fear crept in, I fought it. Verses I have known all my life came back to my mind….

Matthew 6:25-34

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.

Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 

 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 

For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 

 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

All the worrying I do was dragging me down. God has NEVER let me down. He has ALWAYS kept his word, so WHY was I wearing myself out stressing about every little bump in the road. Like Peter when He stepped out of the boat, I had taken my eyes off Jesus and put my focus on the water, and was sinking. (Matthew 14:22-33 ). I began to pray for help re-directing my focus OFF of how hard things are and back onto the one who gave His life for me. As I cried night after sleepless night, HE gave me a song…one I have known since childhood, but had forgotten….

You said you’d come and share all my sorrows
You said you’d be there for all my tomorrows
I came so close to sending you away,
But just like you promised, you came there to stay
I just had to pray

And Jesus said 
“Come to the water, stand by my side
I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied
I felt every tear drop, when in darkness you
cried, and I strove to remind you,
That for those tears I died”

We have been studying Saul and David in Sunday school, and This week we were looking at 1 Samuel 13 and Israel’s fear of the Philistine Army. The root of Israel’s fear was that they forgot their Identity in God ( they are God’s Chosen People) and they lost their Hope in God. They forgot about all the times before when God had rescued them from overwhelming Odds, because God IS Bigger. This Hit me like a ton of bricks. How often have I forgotten all the times God has Provided, heard my cry, answered my prayers, come to my rescue when all seemed hopeless. I realized I was letting Fear into my day to day, and when Fear takes over, darkness sets in. I was reminded that Perfect Love Casts out Fear. (1 John 4:18) God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of Power, Love and a sound Mind. (2 Timothy 1:7). I continued to look deeper into this, seeking God’s help to overcome my struggle with worry, fear and anxiety and He reminded me of my Identity in HIM. He reminded me I am Bought with a Price, and when He looks at my life he does not see all the bad I have done, He sees what Jesus did for me when He died on the cross.

I cried again, asking the question once again that I have asked SO many times in the past 10 years since we heard the words “Your son has Autism”…I asked “WHY?” The answer I got was the same one I got all the times before…..

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

…Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

WOW…lets hear that again…“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  I need to Daily remember that..NO Matter what comes my way, HIS Grace IS enough. I am not perfect, and I struggle with this daily. I am learning to turn my focus OFF the storms in my life, and to look TO Jesus…My Hope, My Refuge, my deliverer, my Peace. I am thankful for the Blessings he gave me when He gave me my three children. I am thankful for the lessons that autism continues to teach me about love, about patience, about peace and hope and joy. Sure, the road is hard, and the tears often fall, sleep is often …well non existent, but HIS GRACE IS ENOUGH!