(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 15 of Just Enough Light For The Step I'm On. Please know that what we all learn in a study is usually different. Therefore, we ask, if you feel like it, please leave what you got out of the reading as well. We're sure you'll lift someone's spirit.)
Chapter 15, Surviving Disappointment...I think we all as mom's to children with autism have experienced disappointment. I remember the day my son was diagnosed like it was yesterday. I'm sure you all do as well. I felt like the lady who was testing my son failed me. I felt like I failed my son. I felt like God failed me. I remember getting to my car and looking at my husband and telling him "I just don't want Sean to feel like he's disappointed us." It was very tough. How do we as mom's deal with these emotions we feel through this incredibly difficult journey with autism and the constant disappointments? How do we help our child survive a world in which we feel people are constantly failing us? What should we do when it feels like all the walls are crashing down around us? Stormie says it perfectly in Chapter 15 on page 132.....If you will maintain a humble, submitted, faith-filled expectant heart, you will see God's goodness manifest in the midst of all that's happening to you.
Unfortunately, autism has effected our family. It happened to us almost three years ago. Ever since that day, disappointment and failure has happened a lot as well. Therapies that we had every hope in working that didn't, supplements that helped one child and back fired on us, friends who consistently compare what my son is doing to what the character in Rain Man did, family who constantly question what we do, the public schools, private schools....the list could go on and on. I always wonder "what if we didn't get the shots?" "I should have noticed the signs sooner." "We should have started therapy sooner?" "Why didn't I try the diet when he was first diagnosed?"
The one thing we have to keep in mind that Stormie writes as her first sentence in Chapter 15 is....Disappointment is inevitable. Everyone's life is full of disappointments. Whether a mom to a child with special needs or a mom to child who has no difficulties what so ever in life, your life has disappointments. We all have our own cross to bear. What we do during these disappointments is what matters the most. On page 131, Stormie says....We make a mistake in expecting too much from ourselves, other people, and life, when our expectations should be from God. I believe that what Stormie is saying here is that when we are living our lives for God and wanting His will to be done, our disappointments don't seem so tough. They are still there but they are easier to deal with. Stormie also compares it to a big work project that fell through and how she had to ask her husband if this is more important than God's will? Now, I'm not going to lie to you, when I first read this I thought "Ok God, I get that situation but we're talking autism. Not a work project. This is my child." The very next thing I felt was from God. He's my child too. Trust Me.
Stormie continues on page 131....God often allows hard things to happen in our lives in order to bless us in some way. If we are willing to allow for that possibility in everything that happens, it saves us from being devastated by people and situations that are ultimately going to be used for God's glory. On page 132, Stormie talks about the Israelites....Instead of choosing to see God's hand in the moment, they blamed Moses and God for everything that disappointed them. As a result, their suffering was prolonged.
So now, I want to go back to the question I asked earlier....what are we as moms who have children with autism supposed to do as we and our children are faced with disappointment? On page 132 Stormie answers this question for us by saying...
When disappointing things happen to you, ask God to help you discern His truth about what you are experiencing. Ask Him to reign in the situation instead of your feelings. It's easy to go with anger or hurt, but far more rewarding to find God's blessing in the situation instead. It pleases God when you have faith enough in the midst of your dissapointment to put your hope and expectations in Him. (Stormie Omartian)
In other words, when that new supplement isn't working, when my son gets overwhelmed and seems to regress when we're on vacation, when the school system has failed me, when my own family and friends have said hurtful things and even when I think back to that day my son was first diagnosed with autism instead of being hurt, mad and resentful I'm going to stop and pray to God. I'm going to pray like Stormie mentions in Chapter 15 that He will show me what I should get out of this. I'm also going to live my life the way He wants me to live it so that when disappointment/failure comes my way, I can handle it. I won't doubt the situation, myself or God. I will know that He is there with me helping me through this time and that right around the corner is a huge blessing waiting to happen.
Thank you so much for bringing this wonderful book to our study. I pray that You will help us when we feel disappointed or like someone has failed us. Help us feel Your arms around us when we need it the most. I pray that when we first feel the disappointing times in life we come running to You instead of from You. Help us learn from You quickly so that we don't prolong our suffering like the Israelites. I thank you for all the moms reading this today and pray that You protect us, our children and our hearts through this journey we are experiencing called autism. Help us see the good in the situations where we need it the most.
In Your name we pray,