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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Running in Mud

As I previously posted, we had our fundraising walk for Autism Speaks a week ago this Sunday. After our yard sale and a few more donations, our team has raised almost $6000! Thank you to everyone who contributed!!!!!

The walk was fun...the kids had an AMAZING time! I was really pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed themselves.  It was also so refreshing to be surrounded by people who understand our lives and sport so many of the same 'war wounds'.  Interestingly enough, our team kids (well, the boys mostly) had the most fun being able to run aimlessly in the muddy sandy track. It seemed like the messier and dirtier they got, the more their joy and laughter multiplied... exponentially... and it was contagious! Before we knew it, the adults were hopping and skipping and our dirty shoes were no longer a big deal. We trekked happily across the finish line!

Running in muddy sand really is NOT a pleasurable experience to the average person. It is messy, dirty, uncomfortable and it requires exerting much more strength (and breath) than walking on dry ground. Be prepared to take MUCH longer to get to your destination than you imagined.  One thing is for sure, though, you will get there with really tired, but stronger, legs!

I frequently say that my life feels like I'm running in mud. Life with a toddler is exhausting but life with a toddler with an autism spectrum disorder...well, let's just say it's like running in mud--while juggling! My husband often says that it feels like 10 years since our little man was born. I really can't remember ever feeling like he is growing up too fast. My friends don't quite understand this feeling, but I think it's just like the feeling after walking around that sandy, muddy track. We've gone the same exact distance as everyone else but we seem to be twice as tired. At the end of each week, we feel like we've run a marathon... in the mud.

I know this process is making me stronger, yet I can't say that I've reached the point of finding joy in this "mud" that is slowing down the pace of our lives. Each new day I just pick up and keep running, always only getting part of the way than I'd hoped to cover.  Looking back does no good, except sometimes to see the huge pits, ditches and puddles we've made it through... that does provide some momentum for the journey!

When I originally wrote this post I was neck high in one of the nastiest points in our walk through our little man's early education. Although nothing has changed, today I am thankful that the long weekend has allowed me to catch my breath, enjoy some real quality time with my boy and recharge for a new week full of battles. But... I am tired and I am weary.  I am tired of psyching myself up to hear the worst only to still have my heart shattered by more bad news about his days at school. It's the same exact feeling I get each Sunday when we try, unsuccessfully, to get the little guy to be a part of Sunday school. I try to pick up the pieces of my broken heart and put them back together but it's like picking up some muddy sand: it dries out and slips through my fingers, taking with it my hopes and piling back up on the ground, drowning out the light at the end of my tunnel.

I dream of the day when I don't have to cringe during school pick-ups, bracing myself to hear the events (or "episodes") of the day. I desire to have my son included at our church, like the other kids are... but that's just not our reality right now. I know our "normal" is different. This path takes strength and persistence just like it did to walk over a mile in that mud. Just like the adults at the walk, groaning and moaning about their dirty, wet and uncomfortable journey, I just can't help but grumble each time I hear that my child is having meltdowns more often than not when he is not with us. How does a parent get used to constantly having their heart broken? I don't think I know that yet...

A beautiful sister in Christ from our church has a son with ASD. He is now about to transition to adulthood... she has asked that a few of us get together to chat and try to support each other. She confesses that she does not profess to be an "expert," but would like to share the wisdom she's gathered from her own journey. In my own suffering, I see this beautiful person digging a tiny hole through the pile of sand blocking out my light... she is on the other side of this path and is reminding me that there are people there to see me through. God sends His angels to remind us that we are not alone.  Time and time again, this is how He lifts me up, cleans me off and places me back onto steady ground.  I believe this is what David referred to when he wrote in Psalms 40:1-3. I sang this Psalm so many times in my youth, yet it is not until now that it rings so true in my life.  This is my prayer today and I share the passage with you: "I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD."

Be blessed!

Our Team "Peace in the Puzzle"

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