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Category Archives: Faith Walk

Children turn to their shepherd in a time of need. Lead them to God through love, for they are lost and cannot find their way home.

Autism: Christmas 2017 part 2

Christmas day itself went pretty well. My husband bought cat toys for my son and I (strange, maybe, but for us it was great!) The cats were delighted, and were running all over the place chasing their toys. So much fun for us to watch. Two weeks later and they still spend a lot of time playing with those toys, and Finn even brings hers up to the table with her to hide from the others when she isn’t playing.

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We also made a puzzle. Last year we spend 5 days on a 1000 piece puzzle only to have Finn pee on it on the fifth day (she decided to move from her bedroom to the dining room where we had the puzzle – and I didn’t understand in time to transfer her litter box with her.) Disgusting, and very frustrating.

So this year we did a 300 piece puzzle. It was challenging enough to get our minds working, but easy enough that we could complete it in a few hours. Perfect! And for three strong introverts, that was about as much time as we could happily spend together before needing our space.

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My husband had that week off of work, and a few more times we got together to make other puzzles of the same size. I would say that was good.

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But the depression still had a strong hold on me, and by December 30th, I was as low as I’ve been – and nothing especial even happened save that my husband gave away something I wanted – even after I protested and said I still wanted it… that hurt. It hurt a lot – but the depression was already there before that happened.

Plus, even though that was hard on me, it couldn’t possibly compare to, say, the day we had our children taken. Or the day my dog died. Or any number of truly horrible days that I have lived through.

Yet the pain was bad enough that I honestly didn’t want to live through it. And I think that maybe the only reason I did get through it was that in that level of depression I had a crisis of faith (which happens when my depression or anxiety get so bad) in which I was convinced that God didn’t want me (no one else did after all) – so if I died then it would have sealed my fate, and I would have been in hell forever.

I guess I should be thankful for that.

The very idea of spending eternity separate from God is more than I can bear – and yet for that fear I have to bear the pain of that fear to ensure I don’t spend eternity separate from God. I suppose that those who don’t share my faith couldn’t possibly understand this, and those who do share my faith, but don’t experience the shame and despair that allow these spiritual attacks (I never doubt that God exists, or that He is good – only that He wants me, or that I am actually saved)

It was, maybe, January 2nd before the depression started to lift. Even then, a week later, I am still in a battle. Some days… some months… some years, even, it is tough. Tough to live well. Tough to be in this world. Just… hard.

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Autism: Loads and Burdens

This sadness has been overwhelming me.

  • Does God want me?
  • Am I saved?
  • Why do I fail at everything?
  • Why am I so bad (why do I struggle with things other people don’t seem to?)
  • Will I ever do good (will anything I do have a positive impact on the world around me?)
  • Does anyone want me (will I ever feel like I belong anywhere?)

I think that maybe Christmas is a difficult time for me. Anyway, it has been hard this year, and I am feeling overwhelmed and shutting down, even though I haven’t done anything for it yet.

Time is speeding up, or I am slowing down, or… How did Christmas come again so fast? I am not at all ready, and I look at the decorations as if… as if people put them up in May or something, and it all feels so wrong.

Time is speeding up for me. I go to start something, learn something, research something, and suddenly the day is over though I have done nothing. It is very frustrating. Is it any wonder I wish this life allowed magic, or cheat codes to get through? I don’t expect to win any awards, or accomplish any great thing anyway, but I could sure use some help to get through the day and take care of what I have without being so overwhelmed all of the time, but then…

Loads and burdens.

My pastor talks frequently about loads and burdens – how some people have heavy burdens they won’t share with other people for fear of asking too much of people, and other people ask for help with loads that they should learn to carry themselves.

I have a lot of burdens, this is true. And sometimes I ask for help with them, but mostly I don’t. Other people don’t understand, and can’t seem to help much anyway.

But then I guess what I struggle most with – day to day living – people would consider loads. I know they are… loads, that is. I should be able to handle them. Other people do. Other people are able to do all I struggle with and so much more. I should be able – but I am not.

Loads and burdens.

I ask too much.

Having said all of that, I am struggling these days. I have been writing this blog for nearly 2.5 years – longer than I have ever kept going at any type of work in my life, without a break. But I have also been pushing myself really hard to keep going these past 7 or 8 months or so.

I need a break.

So in light of Christmas coming (and despite how hard this is for me to admit even to myself) I have decided to take some time off from writing my blog, and think that Christmas is probably the time I need to do that.

I am hoping that a month will be enough, and plan to start writing again in mid-January.

Until then I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, and to thank all of you for your support over these years.

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Autism: Created to Be

When I left, I felt really good. I was decently calm (I never am fully calm when I have anything to do) and even wanted to be out visiting; which is very unusual for me. I talked to people, and smiled, and then…

It wasn’t part of what he had planned to say, but he made a comment about ‘human people,’ which lead him to start talking about ‘dog people.’ You know, like “human people… I don’t know why I said that. What other kind of people are there… unless they are dog people…”

So then he went to mention that they were not people – dogs that is – or your babies, or…

He made it sound like a joke, and lots of people were laughing. Some were even clapping, which doesn’t happen frequently.

Then he said he thought it was a gospel problem, and he could write a whole sermon about it. Then he went back to what he had been talking about before he got distracted.

The whole thing maybe lasted 2-3 minutes – but it caused me struggle for the entire day. Not even a little bit, I was fully triggered into severe anxiety and depression, which were very difficult to overcome.

My babies are my source of joy. A level of joy I have rarely experienced in my life. They are… if not healing my loss (which isn’t likely to happen this side of heaven – the pain and trauma and triggers are all to much) they are at least helping me to go forward.

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They are an answer to my ache for children, for family, even for friends – which people took from me over and over again.

They are my tie to sanity, though I have to let go of some to keep the rest.

They are not people – and I am so thankful for that! But their place in my life as my ‘babies’ is essential for so much of my life it would take all day, and maybe even more, to explain it (and even then most people wouldn’t understand it.)

It was a joke, but still I worry that people are coming to take even this away from me. And why not? They’ve taken pretty much everything else. And it makes me want to hide again, and not go to church, or write, or go out, or be seen, or share myself with anyone ever again – much as I felt when my children were taken.

And it was only my dog, who was given to me for that very reason, who could pull me through that. Then he died, and I was back there again. So I was given Clara, and a few months later Molly, and several months later Misty-Grace. They are my babies…

I went in happy, and left in pain. I am pretty sure he didn’t mean for that to happen – and while it may sound like I am venting about ‘those’ people who don’t understand, this is a man I both like and respect. Perhaps if it weren’t so, it wouldn’t hurt so much.

It is just another thing wrong with me.

I was upset for a long time after until… the sermon series we have been on is titled ‘God Still Speaks.’ And this I believe. I was upset until God reminded me through thoughts that He gave me my dogs, and He gave them to me for this very purpose. He gave me this heart for animals, and it is a gift – not a gospel issue.

This love I have for my babies is a strength, not a weakness, and this is an essential part of who I was created to be.

 

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Autism: Earth Has No Sorrow…

The sharp pain has become a dull ache, with a knot in my chest and stomach.

Perhaps she isn’t dying? Do they ever have such trips for children who aren’t terminal? I still haven’t been able to tell my husband.

I went downtown to do some shopping, and stopped in (on purpose) to the store where I know ‘my’ (foster) son works. I bought stuff I probably wouldn’t have if he weren’t there, but I really needed to see him; and felt I needed the excuse to be there.

He recognized me in line so I waved at him and he waved back. He wasn’t my cashier, but he did talk to me (he is much more social than I am, and doesn’t seem to be afraid to talk.) My heart was burning and I felt like I would cry.

Why did they have to be taken from me?

Will it ever stop hurting?

‘They’ say, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal,” and I want to believe it, but… My imagination doesn’t carry me that far.

My Clara is stressed out that I am upset. She has been peeing on the floor and sulking in her crate. How do I explain to her that I am afraid my baby is dying; I am hurting over my past; I am feeling empty and hopeless about my future?

I pick her up and rock and I sing to her. I am sorry baby girl; you can’t help me with this, and I can’t fix it – but I love you.

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Autism: Unwanted Dreams

As thoughts of my children overwhelm me, there is a sadness which catches within and threatens me with memories and fears of despair. My heart and soul long for their return even now, though they have been gone eight long years.

I woke up with the song “God is Awesome,” running through my head. “… there is power here for miracles to set the captives free and make the broken whole…” I am broken. I was broken before my children were taken that day, but in that moment I was shattered.

The thought of my children returning fills my mind with dreams of a future; an expansion of my heart and life where all other ‘dreams’ are of shelter, isolation, retreat. I still want to learn such things, and still think they are ‘good’ things to do – but in my children I see ‘life’ and ‘purpose.’ I see ‘future’ and ‘hope.’ And while I worry about the transition for my son that was left with us, I also see that my fears of him being alone, and even for his faith, have their answer in this.

But what is the point? This dream is a fantasy on par with my desire for teleportation and wishes that come true. It won’t happen – and this hope? It fills me with life and joy for a moment, and crashes in despair in the realization that it won’t ever happen.

The ministry would never come seeking us to take our children home – they neither saw the children as ‘ours’ (since we never had finalization on the adoption and weren’t related by blood) nor did they see us during that last year with us as a decent answer for the children.

And why would the children want us? They are settled where they are, even if it is foster care, and the girls wouldn’t even remember us, they were so young. Besides… what have I to offer them?

So the dream that shows me a life full of purpose, and healing in my heart, mind, and marriage, turns to despair as I admit to myself that it is impossible. And my heart breaks as I feel myself losing my children all over again. And again the loss threatens my sanity for there has been far too much of it.

The thought came strong after hearing the apology from my sister in law – for until that night I would have said that was more impossible than having my children returned to us, but it came. Unexpectedly, and unsought, it came. And I thought, if God could orchestrate that, having my children returned to me couldn’t be so hard.

And I allowed the thought. I fixated on it for days.

But dreams… in my life, dreams don’t come true.

And the pain that comes crashing over me when I realize again that the loss was forever… it destroys me. It shatters me all over again, and I wasn’t even healed from the first time.

I guess that there are some hopes, and some dreams that I must convince myself I don’t want. Children? That is one. My children? Never, ever, ever!

And yet even telling myself I don’t want them brings pain, and tears, and despair.

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Autism: Best Case Scenario

The fear had been strong. The panic was growing as the time came closer and closer. I had no idea how I would manage. My therapist said I had nothing to fear, and that made my fear worse; of course I had much to fear.

We finished packing and got in the car. As we started to drive I felt calm, peace – excitement even – washing over me. It could be a good trip. Though things could end really bad, they might be okay. Still I had concern for when we got there a little over 2 hours later.

When we pulled in, I had a moment of panic. A moment of pain. Just a second really, and then from nowhere came the peace and contentment once more. They were there. I was there. I was okay. It had to be… it had to be… “Thank you, Lord.”

We had our day. I walked the dogs, went for a swim, brought ‘my girls’ closer. I looked over at them and felt… fine! Where did that come from? Thank you, Lord.

I had my supper before everyone else – I have to do that or I panic, and am overwhelmed, and fall apart; doesn’t matter who I am with – their food is more than I can handle. Their timing leaves me crashing. I ate, went to the camper to write my journal, and felt… good!

In the evening we played cards. We had a great game of ’31;’ best ever, really. Then we played ‘hearts,’ and I enjoyed that, too. It was a good evening. I felt… happy!

After cards a couple of people who don’t live too far left for the night. A couple more went down to the lake or something. We were left with this couple who brought about such traumatic pain in our lives 9 years ago almost to the day.

She began by asking about the kids and went into a very sincere apology for calling the ministry on us. It was sincere. I fully believe that. I can tell these things. They felt bad. It was all over their faces. Regret was there; I know it.

She said that she thought at the time that her heart was in the right place, but looking back, “maybe it wasn’t.” I could tell from their expressions this has been painful for them for a long time. She told me she felt sick over it, and has regretted it for a long time.

I responded that “we all do things we regret.” My husband agreed. I don’t know if they saw it, but I was sincere, too. I know regret. I know shame. I know pain. My ‘gift’ (and for good reason) is mercy, and mercy they had for their remorse was very real.

We then spent a very long time talking about the children – and I spoke to them as I speak to everyone else about my kids who cares to know. It was nothing short of amazing to be there talking to them like that. Not fake. Not forced. True and natural.

I know it was all God. I never even hoped to have anything like that experience from them, or to ever get an apology. My fear was that in being near to them I wouldn’t be able to show them the grace I knew I should give, being a child of God. I was afraid I would fail… again. I was afraid of what they could do to me, or take away from me, and was afraid that would show.

What was given was better than I could ever have imagined – and all I can say is, “Thank you, Lord.”

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Autism: How the Story Ends

“Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither.” (Psalm 37:1-2)

I read that in my devotional this morning, and it was so needed; for I frequently find myself full of pain and fear over the evil that is in this world.

The greed.

I guess I have known this for a long time, but the older I get, the heavier the weight it carries: capitalism feeds greed.

It isn’t even about wanting more and more, and working hard to get it. That, I suppose, is what capitalism is about: the hope that if you work hard enough, and give enough of yourself, your circumstances (will?) improve.

But that isn’t the reality for most people – and even that isn’t what bothers me most.

It is the greed that says, “I will do whatever it takes to get ahead,” and either doesn’t take into account, or doesn’t even care what it costs to others.

Like pet food companies that work for profit, and keep products on the market even when they know it is killing animals.

Like clothing companies, or toy companies, or shoe companies, or… just about everything that uses slave labour to create products at the cheapest cost to sell in richer markets for a huge profit – not caring what they are doing to the people on the bottom.

Like people who cut down rain forests to grow crops to feed animals, so people in the developed world can feel rich eating much more meat than their bodies require – while people are starving in other parts of the world, and plants and animals that should have been left alone, become extinct.

Like people who buy multi-million dollar vacation homes that are left unused much of the time while children are dying of hunger, and for lack of proper medicines and clean water.

So much evil! So much greed!

And it overwhelms me most of the time; I can’t block it out.

How could we?

How could we keep doing this year after year, and decade after decade, and think it is okay?

And I guess if it weren’t for money, people would seek power in its place – and people would be abused, and used, and killed for others to get to the top. And I ask myself, why is it so competitive? Why can’t we work in cooperation instead? Why can’t we make it better?

But the world is full of evil, and sometimes it seems that evil will win.

But evil doesn’t win – and that is what this verse reminded me of today. “In the end it will all be okay; and if it isn’t okay, it isn’t the end.”

I read the book. I know how the story ends. If only I could remember that when I look around and see how bad things are right now.

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