(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 19 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.)
Brief re-cap of Chapter 19, Stepping out of the Past....
In Chapter 19, Stormie Omartian explains to us the importance of forgiveness. How forgiveness is not only important for us to be able to move forward but to also let go of our past. It also helps us grow closer to God when we're not harboring any unforgiveness to anyone. On page 157, Stormie says "Not forgiving the people and events of our past will keep us from ever being completely free of it." After reading this sentence, I couldn't really think of anything in my past that I need to be free of. I had a wonderful childhood, great adolescent years and my young adult years were pretty good. I then read on page 158 "We often refuse to let go of injustice and extend forgiveness to others simply because we can't receive the grace God extends to us through His forgiveness." I then focused on the word "injustice" and did what any other gotta-have-it-in-my-hands-now person would do...I googled "injustice". I already knew what the word meant but it wasn't hitting home for me until I read some synonyms of the word "injustice" and I read....
unfair, wrong, injury, grievance, violation, dirty deal, damage, maltreatment, malpractice
I immediately thought of autism. At first I was thinking...that's it, I need to forgive my pediatricians. No, I really wasn't blaming them. Then I was like this is it...I know it, I need to forgive God. Still didn't hit home. Then it all flashed in front of my eyes, the days my babies were in the hospital and I signed an agreement form for shots, the countless times I've given my son antibiotics for his numerous ear infections, the months and months of watered down Karo syrup to help him with his constipation, the long doctors appointments where I would hold him down so that the nurses could give him 6 or 7 immunizations in one day, the many times I signed my name saying it was ok for them to do this to my son, the research I should have done but never did, two MRI's to see what was going on with head circumference, and worse yet the year I was in complete denial that my son, my loving affectionate son, has autism. Even to this day I beat myself up. Where would my son be if I would have started this therapy sooner? Oh, I haven't tried that therapy. I should have spent more time playing with him today but I'm so tired. I know a lot of you do this as well. We can't help but feel like we could have done more. I don't think God blames us for feeling like this. After all, we're Moms. I know my Mom constantly felt this during our times of trouble. However, what Stormie taught me in Chapter 19 is to let go of this unforgiveness/guilt I have towards myself. I love what Stormie writes on page 160...
"If you are in a place where you're not able to see a future for yourself, it may be because you believe the past has kept you from moving into the future God has for you. If you find yourself saying, "If only I had not done that"; "If only this had happened instead"; "If I had experienced that I would not be in the situation I am in today"; or "I have forever forfeited the kind of life that could have been mine," remember that these thoughts are not truth. The truth is that God redeems everything. Even our past. He meets us as we are swimming to keep our heads above the deep waters of past hurt and failure, and He brings us to the place we're supposed to be. He doesn't do it like a magic genie. He does it one step at a time as we depend on Him."
In other words, I need to forgive myself for my son having autism. Deep down inside, I know it's not my fault. However, I still feel guitly. I still feel like it's my fault. I need to forgive myself for allowing the doctors to give him all of the immunizations. I need to forgive myself for not knowing exactly when I noticed something different between my son who has autism and my other son who just so happen to be his twin brother who does not have autism. I need to know that God has me exactly where He needs me and He is here for me.
Another part of Chapter 19 that I briefly want to touch on because I feel this is so important when dealing with autism is on page 161. Stormie says "Along with not looking back, it's not good to look too far ahead, either. Doing so may cause you to worry about where you think you should be, and that can be overwhelming too. Looking back, you see all that you didn't do. Looking too far forward, you see all you think you can't do. It's best to embrace the step you're on and say, "God, give me the ability to do what I have to do today." How often do we worry about our children's future? How many times do I look at where my son should be? Instead, God wants us to focus on where we are now. Enjoy every little step our children are taking. Relish every new word, sound or playskill our kids are doing. Be there for our children so that we can help them through this. Let's find out what God needs for us to do through our children having autism.
On page 162, Stormie reminds us..."Don't sit in the darkness of the past when God has laid out a path for you to walk in the present that is illuminated with the light of His forgiveness and revelation."
Thank you for showing me where I have unforgiveness in my heart. I thank you for showing me what I already knew, that it's not my fault that my son has autism. Thank you for allowing me to forgive myself and for taking away the guilt that I was feeling. Thank you for walking every day with me. I pray that I will see what You need for me to do for You each and every day.
In Your Name I pray,
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
"Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)