Author’s note: I have started writing this post, and stopped several times…it sort of ended up taking it’s own direction
Been a while since I wrote anything, about 10 days. A Lot has happened since my post about my husband coming home. It is amazing how so much, so many moments, so many ups and downs, can happen in one day much less 10. I do not even know where to begin…Denial, IEP meetings, celebrations, pain, anger, the rollercoaster.
An incident occurred on Mother’s day that sent me into a tailspin, emotionally it was devastating, but it was also enlightening. There is a person in my son’s world, in my world, who for whatever reason, can’t accept that autism is a part of our world. Denial is a dangerous reaction, especially when it is in the face of a diagnosis such as autism. In this case, denial can do devastating damage to a family. When denial comes into play, statements like “oh that child is just spoiled” and ” You are just a bad mother/father” are heard, and are the LAST thing a parent raising a child on the spectrum needs to hear. Most times, they do enough 2nd guessing themselves without your help.
To hear the above mentioned statements cut deep, especially on Mother’s day. For the span of 9 years since we heard the words “your son has autism” this person has been anything but supportive. Time and again, forgiveness and patience on my part, along with lots of heartache and tears, have followed family gatherings. This time I asked myself when was enough enough? How many times does this person have to stomp on my heart? Having escaped a physically and emotionally abusive relationship before I met my husband, finding myself in this emotionally painful, verbally abusive situation has been REALLY hard. Thanks to my Husband’s love, and patience, and a LOT of prayer, the healing from 3 years of prior abuse has come a LONG way. The part that is still healing, because the wound keeps getting re-opened , is me doubting myself, that nagging voice that says “you can’t do anything right” . I KNOW that voice is wrong, but I can’t silence it. The difference is, now when I hear it, I fight BACK. I get my Bible out. I pray. I remind myself that Jesus Loves me, that he died for me, and when He did, He not only bore my sin, He also bore rejection, pain, heartache, abuse, and as a result, in HIM, I am free. HE gives me the strength to go on each day, to love even those who continually hurt me. As I cried, As I prayed, The song “You are more” by Tenth Avenue North came on the radio, and the lyrics to the chorus JUMPED at me…
“”You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade. “
Last week, I asked on Facebook “How does one forgive someone who continues to cause pain? How does one not let their heart get hardened after repeatedly getting hurt? at what point is enough enough?” I was more venting than anything. I was struggling, my attitude was NOT where it needed to be, and I knew that. I was crying out for help, and Boy did I get it!! The people who have stood by me no matter what, were there again, with prayer and encouragement.
After I posted that status, some pretty amazing things happened. A Friend, no she is more than that, a sister , called me with an analogy that I should think of the offending person, not as someone who is spiteful and cruel, but as someone suffering from a tumor. The truth is, she was DEAD on. Bitterness and denial ARE like a tumor. They take over. It opened my eyes that rather than get angry, I needed to pray.
A Mentor, someone I have looked up to since childhood, Posted this: “The only thing that helps me is to put it into perspective. Chuck Missler once said: “…Remember He did this all for you and me. Specifically for you and me. Not in some broad brush sense, no, specifically. I personally hold the view that every one of my sins he specifically paid for. I don’t think He got a package deal. I don’t think He got a discount. I think He had to pay for each one of my sins specifically. Staggering. Staggering. That has a very disturbing flip side. Next week, when something occurs where I really mess up, I don’t do what I should do, and I sin—I believe He paid for that too. And I believe that next week provides me an ‘opportunity’ to add to His pain on that cross 2000 years ago. That’s a strange kind of time ellipses here, that my sins forthcoming are ones that He paid for back then, and it scares me to realize that my conduct going forward has the capacity of adding pain to Him on that cross 2000 years ago. “ And the verse: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me–we can forgive because He first forgave us–it’s a choice to release the debt, not to feel warm and fuzzy about the debtor. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we are suddenly filled with happy happy joy joy, it means we release a debt we are owed. The joy will come in restored fellowship with your Father (Matthew 6). The perspective this gave me, sent me straight to my knees, begging for forgiveness for my attitude, praying for the person who continually hurts me, and for help with my own attitude.
The other thing that happened as a result, is that after 15 years of marriage, I heard without a doubt, that I am , in fact, NOT an outsider. That some of my husband’s family is glad I am a part of the family, and that even though it is HARD, my unconditional love for the person who breaks my heart is a witness of God in my life. WOW, when God wants to blow me away, He does it BIG! He took a situation that devastated me, that crushed me completely, and turned it into something bigger, and better than I EVER could have seen.
When there is a member of the family diagnosed with autism, the last things needed are pity, judgment, denial and ignorance. What IS needed is UNCONDITIONAL ( No strings attached) Love, support, prayer.
I leave you with one more thought, another song that spoke to me this past 2 weeks. This one is called “Perfect Peace” by Laura Story…
“in this time of trial
pain that no-one sees
trust me when i say
i will give you perfect peace
…and you’ll never walk alone
and you’ll never be in need
though i may not calm the storms around you
you can hide in me”