Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Finding the good in a hopeless situation

(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 4 of Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore we ask, if you feel like it please share in the comments section what you got out of the reading as well. We're sure you'll lift someone's spirit.)

Why do I feel like chapter 4, Embracing the Moment, was written just for me? Did you get this feeling as well? This chapter spoke volumes to me this week. Especially after the week we've had in our household. (Long story crashed, I broke my big toe, Sean was fighting off viruses left and right which was bringing on regression, my other son "hid" my wallet which I thought was then stolen and to top it all off...Sean broke his foot.) And this week Stormie wants me to Embrace the Moment?

Brief recap...

Chapter 4, Embracing the Moment, teaches us how to take all of the challenges that we go through and look for the good. Stormie mentions a time when she was with her family and they lost power in their home for a good number of days. No heat, no lights, no phone. Instead of worrying about what could happen, she prayed to God to help her know that He's there. In that moment she realized the goodness that was in that situation. They were all together so she didn't have to worry about members of her family and their safety. They had a good supply of food and water. They had a fireplace and enough clothes to keep them from freezing. She saw her blessings from God. Stormie also touches on the fact that God knows that too much light can be too much for us. We would be confused by it. So instead of dwelling on the negative, Stormie encourages us to find the goodness in each struggle we face.

It was very ironic that this week's study fell on my turn to write in the blog. About a week ago, I shared with family and friends on my personal blog what I feel are the positives in autism. I'll share them with you as well. I agree with Stormie that we need to find the blessings in the difficult situations. When I wrote my personal blog entry, I was thinking to myself "how in the world am I going to find the positives in autism?" I knew at least two but I have to find more. That day I prayed about it. I asked God to show me the blessings we've received all because my son has autism. Here's my list:

1. I'm a better Mommy. I appreciate all of the little things that most moms miss out on.
2. My marriage. My marriage has been through alot but we've come out strong. My husband is a better husband and I'm a better wife. Together, we're better parents for both of our children.
3. My family. Since Sean's diagnosis, I've gotten so much closer to my side of the family as well as my in laws.
4. How I see others...I have so much more respect for children as well as adults with special needs. I try to talk to everyone and show them I care.
5. Most importantly, my relationship with God. Autism brought me to my knees...literally. I re-dedicated my life to Christ, was baptized and am eager to learn more. I have so much more spiritual growing to do. I know that autism has brought me closer to God.

What would you say are some blessings that you've had in your life because of your child having autism? I know it's hard to think about the goodness in autism because it's our children. If it were me with autism, I'd hope that I would say "ok God, if that's what you need for your plan, I'll do it." But it's our children. It's hard to find the good when it's something that's harming our children. However, we have to see the good that is coming out of what seems to be a very hard and at times hopeless situation. If not, we may not see where God is working His blessings in the midst of autism. Then we'll never spiritually grow from this. If we do, it will only strengthen us which in turn will help our children.

When Stormie mentioned God only giving us a little light at a time because it may blind us, that really hit home to me. My son Sean is now 6. He was diagnosed about 3 years ago. We went from praying "please let them have made a mistake" to "please heal him" to "please give me strength." At least once a week I pray the following prayer.... "please God tell me if you're going to heal Sean from autism. If it's in Your Will for him to have autism just tell me so that I can know what to expect. If it's in Your Will to heal him, tell me so I don't give up. Just let me know what Your plan is with this." While reading Chapter 4, specifically page 41, I thought I found someone who feels the same way I do. Stormie says "Why can't I have all the light I need right now Lord" I actually thought to myself "Amen sister! He needs to just let us know up front what's going on." Then I kept reading "However, God knows that too much light can be hard to take. It can blind and confuse us. He prefers to give us just enough to keep us dependent on Him. In that way, He can teach us to take bigger steps of faith in order to prepare for what He is calling us to in the future." (pg. 41) After I read this, I realized how true that is. If He were to tell me..."Nicole, Sean will always have autism" I don't know what I would do. Would I give up and not work with him as much? If He were to tel me "yes Nicole, Sean will be healed by the time he reaches age 8." Would I try to rush things and not listen to what He's telling me to do next? The things is, if I knew exactly what would happen with my son having autism I wouldn't put my faith in Him. Right now, I have total faith in God. What do I do that I can't tell you for certain I would continue to do if I saw all of the light? Would I rely on Him? Would I pray as much and as hard as I do now? Would I even read the Bible? What about this study, would I still participate in an online Bible study for mom's with children with autism. I honestly don't know if I would continue to do all of these things if I "had all of the answers."

So again, I ask you....what are your blessings that you can find in this difficult situation? Maybe you're going through something in addition to autism. Whatever the case may be, let's all try to help each other find the blessings as much as we can.

I'd like to end with a scripture that Stormie mentions in the study guide:

"For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever."
2 Corinthians 4:17-18

"Lord I thank you for all the moms that you brought to this site. I thank you for giving us each other to lean on, pray over and help each other grow. Lord, you know how hard autism is. You know the struggles we face on a daily basis and the worries that creep into our day for the future. I pray that You will shine the light that we need on our days to show us the blessings that you've given us. Help us not miss out on seeing these blessings and thanking you for them. In Your name we pray, Amen."

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Thanks so much, Nicole. I relate to so many of your positives. It can be so hard to see the blessings in the midst of our trials.

I have come to appreciate both of my children so much more because we deal with autism. My older son's ADHD is put in perspective and appreciated for his strengths. As overwhelming as having both ADHD and autism in the same house is, it is a blessing how one kid's difficulties bring out the other child's strengths. Little things mean so much more and are celebrated instead of overlooked.

Autism has also brought me closer to God. In my prayers for Matthew, I also seek to know and grow in my faith and knowledge of God. This has made all the difference for me, though I've still got lots of learning and growing to do too!

It really made alot of sense to me when Stormie said, "God knows that too much light can be hard to take. It can blind and confuse us. " I too want "all the light", to have all the answers now. At the same time, I don't want to waste or not appreciate a tremendous blessing by receiving before I'm ready. I don't want to get in the way of God's plan, for myself and the others that are affected by our lives. I try to remind myself there is always so much more I don't know that God does and to just trust in His goodness and love.