Its funny how God works. And by funny I mean amazing. So much so that I find it hard to believe that anyone could deny His existence. I’m sure many people read my words and think I’m crazy for believing in a Deity that I can’t see, touch, feel, hear …. only I do see, feel, touch and hear Him. Just not in the way we look for in today’s society of instant, immediate, concrete gratification.
I felt and saw Him just the other day. It was Reid’s birthday party and I was gathered in my backyard with his buddies from school and their moms. We all sat around chatting and enjoying one another’s company. One of the moms I hadn’t really gotten to know yet, other than a smile and “hello” at preschool dropoff and pickup. She casually mentioned since they were new to the area she wasn’t sure what she would do for school next year. They are zoned for our same school district but she didn’t know a lot about PES. I started to tell her how much we LOVED our school (with my mom and dad nodding along in total agreement). She added that there were some complicating factors as her son receives speech and occupational therapy. My antenna went up and I zoned in on a mom who I could relate to all too well. I felt like I was circling back to three years ago only instead I was the mom on the other side of the table. The mom three years later who had survived those scary early years of frustration, confusion and doubt. I was the mom who could point to my 8 year old and say “its not easy but he IS doing ok!” Yes he is in a “normal” classroom. Yes he has had a wonderful experience at school. Yes his school is just the right place for him. Yes you will survive all of this and YES somehow your heart will not shatter into a million pieces despite feeling sure it will.
In the busyness of the day I might have missed just how profound that meeting and following conversation was if not from this text later in the day from my friend Ally. “I had tears in my eyes listening to you and A talk about your kids … God is AWESOME!!” You see, Ally was around 3 years ago when our friend Lisa shared with her that she had met a mom whose son might be on the spectrum. She listened as Lisa was encouraged that her own journey might help another mom (me) facing the same challenges. And she was there years later to watch as that formerly unknown mom could put her arm around another mom and say “its ok, its going to be ok, and I would love to help you in any way I can”. The way God uses our stories to strengthen and encourage one another never ceases to amaze me. When we first began this journey so many years ago sweet friends would occasionally comment that they couldn’t wait to see how God was going to use this struggle for good. I was encouraged and pissed at the same time by those words. Like I want to hug you and punch you in the face all in the same motion. Because I know in my head that God works all things together for good. But at that time I wasn’t willing to offer up my son and his future prospects on that altar. I am not Abraham and Jake is not Issac I wanted to scream.
But I’ve learned it doesn’t always matter if you are willing or not. I’m sure Abraham wasn’t running down that road in anticipation of tying his son down and giving him over to God. I’m sure he wouldn’t have picked that road to travel. But the good news is that God doesn’t leave it up to me. And the good news is that with years and time and prayer my perspective has changed. Its not that God has given Jake autism so that I can be an encouragement to other moms. Its that in spite of the autism God is able to bring redemption. A light. A good to come from a world of hurt. And for that I am so blessed and humbled.