Control…

...taken by Kristina Olmsted..

Sometimes?

Sometimes I make plans… Oh can I make some detailed plans... Plans to be productive.. plans to be helpful… Plans to organize my plans…

And then?

And then God shows me that it is not MY will … But HIS that I should follow…

When I don't listen to what God's Will is.. things tend to go wrong. Just little things.. but there are enough "little" things that I have to deal with? That I start to feel like a salmon … fighting against the current to swim upstream. When I continue to fight against the current… YUP… I feel stressed and exasperated! You probably know the feeling…

When I tried working at the preschool my kids attended? I was good at my job.. and I enjoyed it! I REALLY enjoyed it. But I fought my kids to go to school every day.. with a child on the Autism Spectrum.. with a side of Bipolar? Fighting them to do something that stresses them? It doesn't really work out very well. I kept having to go pick him up from school because he was overwhelmed. He was stressed.. I was stressed.. my neighbor who was putting him on the bus was stressed…

…and then?

Then one November? My kids were sick… the whole month. I missed a WHOLE month of work.. A runny nose here.. a sore throat there.. a cough… a wheeze… a fever… some bronchitis…

sigh…. and then I sat still and listened…

You see .. MY plan was not what God had in store for me. It took me 3 years to figure that out.. yes I said 3 YEARS.. I am stubborn and persistent. Once I decided to listen to the Still small voice of God.. I realized what He was telling me. HIS plan for me was not at that preschool that I loved… and I wasn't listening…

So at the end of the year I resigned… and I stayed home for the next 6 years. And God? God sent me family after family who needed in home care for their kiddos. I never had a shortage of work.. and I never felt like I was swimming upstream… Now it was challenging and was hard work.. don't get me wrong… but I never felt like I was fighting against every element to make it work…

With that slight change in will-power? I had turned it around, swimming in the direction God was trying to lead me… and BAM.. I was back in control..

Except control is an illusion… I never really had control in the first place….

50 firsts…

Someone once asked me what it was like to live with special needs.. Not just special needs really.. But with Autism (and a side of bipolar).. At the time I couldn’t really answer..

I mean.. With autism you know what you get.. Overload.. Anxiety.. Obsession.. meltdowns..

But add Bipolar? Then you add unpredictability.. When you get home? You don’t know if you have a child with a good mood or anger.. Or tears. When your son comes out of his room? You don’t know if you will have cooperation or frustration..

Honestly?

Honestly I can’t tell you if I will see my Son.. his autism.. OR his bipolar… from one minute to the next .. Especially in the spring months..

So to the question? I simply said, “It’s a roller coaster ride.. But it’s worth it.”

And that IS the truth ..

Tonight I watched a movie with my girls called “50 first dates”.. It was really cute .. a little crude in places (yes I am very old-fashioned.. I don’t like crude jokes).. But still cute.. And worth the watch..

For anyone not familiar.. 50 first dates is about a young lady who is in an accident that results in a brain injury. Because of the injury, she cannot create new memories .. So everyday her dad and brother recreate the last day she remembers. Over and over and over again.. When she meets a new guy, he has to help her fall in love with him over and over again.. every day.. Like EVERY day.. Eventually they develop a system.. They create a video of flashbacks since the accident.. Events.. Dates.. And eventually their wedding… And the young lady writes her thoughts in a journal.. A list of things she doesn’t want to forget.. Important things ..

Then she goes to sleep and wakes up refreshed.. And starts each day over again.. Remembering nothing .. Then she watches the video and reads her notes .. EVERY day ..

At the end of the movie? When we saw that she had to be reminded of her child that she couldn’t remember. As the credits began to roll, my daughter said.. “What a terrible way to live”..

But what if she never progressed beyond that accident.. What if she never stopped living that day over and over? What if she never lived ANYTHING NEW beyond that day?

That would be terrible indeed..

But to have flashback videos and hand written notes every morning.. To catch her up to ? To remind her she is married? To remind her she has a baby?

To be living that married life?

To be a mom?

That is being Blessed!

Being a mom to a young man with autism? Living with a loved one with Bipolar? It is very similar to “50 firsts”..

Every morning I wake up.. And I watch a flash back of important moments in our lives.. Important break throughs.. Flash through my mind.. Every day while I drink my chai? I read through the notes I have made through the years.. Only the important ones..

And then I set forth!

I set forth to make new Memories.. New important events.. I deal with each event as they occur.. Living in the moment! Never bringing the past into play.. Not remembering the mistakes from the day before. Unlike the movie? These choices are voluntary.. To choose to forget the bad.. to forget the mistakes..

THEN? Then I record those moments in my mind.. Sometimes I even write important information down..

Some days are good.. And just like movie? Yup.. Some days are a disaster.

And just like the movie? Sometimes the days are so bad that I cry myself to sleep at night ..

Then every night ? I sleep and the stress washes away. I wake up each new day ready to conquer some new activities.. With my flash backs and handwritten notes.

And we celebrate every “first” that comes along.. His first 2 word sentence at 5, his first full night sleep at 6.. His first solo cooked meal.. His first time walking to class on his own..  The first test taken by himself.. The first time he stayed home alone..

Ok.. You are right! There are WAY more than 50 “firsts” in our life.  But we celebrate each one…

I know that some people look at my son’s life .. At MY life.. and they think, “What a terrible way to live”..

But to me?

To me a world without my son in it? A world without 50 OR 100 “firsts” being celebrated?

What a terrible way to live…

at day break… 

.. when the sun rose..

I woke early today. Before the sun rose over the horizon. Fog clung to the Earth with a chill in the air. If you looked closely through the fog, you could see deer moving slowly and quietly through my backyard.. Eating treats where they can find them. With spring, my backyard is coming to life.. so the deer stopped often.. If you didn’t watch closely, you would miss the movement at all.

As I drink my chai, I find myself thinking.. Did Mary, mother of Jesus, look out her window 2000 years ago and see a quiet foggy morning? Did she wonder what would happen that day? Did she wonder why Nature seemed so calm when her life seemed to be falling apart? Did she wonder why God didn’t send a terrible storm? Full of fury and winds?

I have a long list of things I would like to get done today. Mostly getting prepared for the fun family celebrations this weekend… But it is definitely work.. and I would rather sit here.. blending into the still world around me.

The still world around me?

Being still this morning? It made me stop and remember.. Remember that right about now? Right about now Jesus would have been in pain and bleeding.. Jesus would have been exhausted.. And marching with a heavy cross upon his back.. Moving forward as fast as His earthly body would let him…

Yet Jesus never complained.. He never tried to get out of His duty.. Jesus knew what God was asking of Him.. He knew He was about to die to save us all from an eternity in Hell.. Yet when Pilate told Jesus that he could set Him free.. Jesus didn’t jump at the chance.. He simply answered…

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” (‭John‬ ‭19‬:‭11a NIV)

In other words.. Everyone on Earth is only given the power which God has allowed them… and Jesus knew that He was sitting in Pilate’s office that day because it was God’s Will that it should be so..

So what did Jesus do?

He politely refused Pilate’s help.. He accepted God’s plan for Him.. He picked up His cross and Jesus set off to do God’s Work.

I am tired today. I fill my days with volunteering.. and parenting. I squeeze in doctor’s appointments and cleaning the house. I have chicks to care for, chickens to feed and laundry to wash. This week I have also had friends who needed support, children who needed to be listened to, people who needed prayer and meetings to attend. Not to mention fighting off a virus.

I literally had no time to write this week.

So today? YUP.. today I am tired.

But when I think about Jesus on Good Friday? Think about Jesus on the hardest day of “work” in His short life?

I think I will politely refuse Pilate’s offer to set me free from my tasks. And with this last sip of chai, I will hoist my cross.. my heavy tasks.. up on my back and set off to do God’s Will…

…because my day will be nothing like Jesus’s Good Friday… but it is what God has asked me to do….

Have a Blessed Good Friday…