10/07/2014

All Things New

So I need to just state right off that the most amazingly talented Lizzy made my blog stupid gorgeous, saying nice things about me to boot. *swoon* Even without saying the kind things, she is the best, and you can either hire her to make pretty things for you or pop on over to her Etsy shop! I ordered a coupl'a prints and I will post them when I finish up a li'l project happening in our home once it is all done!

Now, to that which is so much less pretty than this gorgeous space. I am going to admit something in this post, and I confess that I am ashamed of it. It's not a pretty thing, this horrible thought I had. So let us get there.

When Roger started his special ed preschool, there was a gorgeous little boy who clearly had a severe case of autism. With Roger, many people are surprised to find out he's on the spectrum, due to how he manifests, but with this precious boy it is clear right away. One thing that stood out to me was his chewy, this little teething-type tube that attached to his clothes. He used it for oral stimulation, and it really calmed him. Even though Roger wears a Spio (a special compression vest for children with autism) that chewy seemed infinitely worse to me. It represented the severe case. It was obvious and different and, truthfully, I remember thinking, "I am so glad Roger doesn't need one of those." 

Juliet recently started CUBS, a birth to three class for kids either on the spectrum or exhibiting behaviors similar to the autism spectrum--some of you may remember that Roger was in the same program this time last year. One thing her OT (occupational therapist) recommended is...a chewy. Today* they tried one and she really thrived. She struggles so much with sitting still for activities yet there was a marked difference when she had the chewy. It stimulated her mind so she could focus. It helped her. So, onto Amazon I went to find her one.

As I clicked "Add to Cart" the horrible, terrible, shameful thought ran through my mind, unwelcome and without warning:

"People are going to think she's a freak."

You know how I know at least some people will? Because I am the mother of two autistic children. I also tend to be empathetic and feel people's heartache in palpable ways. Yet, the little boy with a chewy in Roger's class seemed like a bit of a freak to me. That boy who is someone's beloved son, likely of parents who have grieved the loss of the son they thought they would have and felt the helplessness to do anything to rescue him from the prison of his mind. And I just think, "Thank God our case isn't that bad." 

Lord, have mercy.

I fought against the the thought, didn't let my heart run amok with feeling better about my son by thinking, "Ew," and staying there regarding someone else's precious boy. Yet the thought was there. Others will have it regarding my daughter when they see her gnawing on a "Q" shaped tube attached to her shirt. They just will. Not everyone, but some will think ugly thoughts about my beautiful daughter.


She'll always be my baby.

That's my baby girl. I cradled her newborn body onto my bare chest and felt utter bliss just 733 days ago. And I now see a glimpse of the ways this world will beat her down. The grief shatters my heart over and over.

People don't like suffering. We avoid it. We really hate it when others are suffering and it persists and they don't seem "better" already. I cannot tell you the number of times people have told me, "Tami, your kids are great. They'll be just fine. They'll grow up and be great."

Maybe that is so. But even if one day all of this heartache is a distant memory, what about today?  What about October 6, 2014 when I clicked "Add to Cart" and the ugliness sauntered about in my head and the waves of grief were fresh and familiar all at once and I wept? That "one day" is not today. There is no promise it will certainly come. I could easily die tomorrow and my suffering will have never ebbed. 

Text convo with my husband 

So where then is my hope?

There are two tattoos I want. One is "it is finished" just under my left clavicle. The other isn't quite as set, but it's something on my right inner forearm referencing this scripture: 

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 
II Corinthians 12:9-10, NASB

Friends, I am so weak. I can't have a perfect heart that never sees the severely autistic child as a freak. I can't have the perfect faith that Jesus allowed all of this out of love. I can't have the perfect peace that snuffs 0ut fear of the future, or fear of what people will think. Hell, I can't have the perfect faith to not think the horrible things myself let alone not fear what others are thinking. I try to honor Jesus, to find rest and hope and peace and surrender, but I fail repeatedly. I'm simply far too weak.

Therein is my hope. My grace is sufficient for you. Jesus is enough! Grace pours into my failure! For [Christ's] power is perfected in weakness. The Gospel! I fail. I can't be perfect like Jesus! So he died as perfection, imputed his righteousness to me. Acknowledging my weakness ushers in his power to give his all sufficient grace. He perfects his power in me as I cling to him in my weakness and desperate need. 

I feel like this is the same entry I have written a thousand times. Perhaps I am a resounding gong. But this is my theme and shall be until I die--I need Jesus. Every single second of every single day.

And there is a "one day" ahead of me, but it's not this side of heaven. There is a day where autism will be no more. Where my last tear of sorrow and grief will be tenderly wiped from my cheek by Jesus' thumb as he cradles my face in his nail scarred hands.

No, really. Take heart, my own dear soul--Jesus said this. It is as true and real as the ground beneath my feet. Or chair cushion beneath my butt. You know. Really, really real.


...and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”      
And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 
Revelation 21:3b-6, NASB

I'm tired of this pain. This theme. I'm ready to move beyond it, to a new chapter. That's just not what Jesus has for me. Truth be told, every time I try to not talk about my pain, or fear that I will just sound like a Mrs. Debbie Downer Whiner, Jesus gently brings someone to (seemingly) at random tell me how thankful they are that I am raw and honest, how much it points them to Jesus and his Gospel. How much he's able to comfort them and meet them right where they are because I took the risk of honesty and sounding like an ungrateful grumbler. In my weakness, he is strong.

So, friend, do your circumstances feel like more than you can handle? Is anxiety gripping your soul and no matter how hard you try you just can't believe Jesus enough to nihilate the angst? Do you repeatedly find yourself angry beyond explanation and no amount of Bible study on "in your anger do not sin" extricates the rage from your soul? Maybe depression clouds you and just will. not. pass. over. Or you are just impatient? Rolling your eyes and sighing countless times a day? Frustrated with God that you don't have a husband or kids? Bitter toward your husband and/or kids for how it feels like you disappeared and life is only ever about them? Just those things that lurk beneath when we have all the smiles and serving and giving and doing but things just still aren't right. Maybe you are like me, and all of the above is or has been true.

We don't feel arrived. 

My Dear, we do not arrive. 


I get it--your mind is nodding and saying, "Oh, I know," while your heart is whispering, "No, if we just _____ enough then we can get to that place! Where we actually trust God without wavering! Where he can finally use us for all those things we are holding him back from!"

Nope. But through all of it, Jesus is with you, allowing you the opportunity to receive his sufficiency in your weakness. We're right there together, sister (or brother). And, hello, you have nowhere near the power nor glory to hold God back from anything.

Finally, speaking of new things, I got around to making our condo decorated. Our "gallery wall" has had one picture...of our family with Juliet as a newborn.

She turned 2 on Friday.

Sooooo...yeah.

Anyway, I want to end with this, because I normally am not into this sort of thing, cheesy sayings on the wall (gotta be holy and only post scripture, duh. I kid, I kid), but this just made me start crying right in the middle of HomeGoods. Classy, I know. Plus the colors worked.


*excuse me while I ugly cry*

I leave you with this: the truth is that no matter how you feel, Jesus is always holding out his hand and asking for this dance in rain. He is with you, friend. Confess your weakness and experience the grace of his sufficiency. And Jesus is a generous partner so feel free to cut in and take a spin around in this storm that is life with me.



*I wrote this yesterday, October 6th and am posting today, October 7th

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing, Tami! I'm weak too! LOVE that precious pic of you and baby J. Sweet sweet baby face.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cam! Much love to your sweet family, too! I have yard envy! But...maybe not yard *work* envy.

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