Living with intellectual disability and autism and distressing behavior, has been a challenge to being an overcomer. But in a recent post by Jeff Goins
I found some points about journeys and what we can learn from them.
Jeff wrote the post after a trip of his own did not go as planned.
I have related what he said to the twenty-year trek with our son, Garrett.
Here’s what I came up with:
1. No journey is perfect. Ain’t that the truth. Our family’s journey with intellectual disability, autism and challenging behavior, has been a voyage into a whole other world. We take encouragement from Psalm 37:23: The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delights in his way.
2. The destination is not what we expect.
Someone once described having a child with disabilities as booking a holiday to Italy and finding yourself in Holland. The destination is always unknown.
In our life post-school, we trust our unknown future to a known God.
Psalm 31:15: My future is in your hands. . .
3. Get rid of what we think we deserve.
Don’t we all deserve regular, normal kids? After nine months of discomfort and ten hours in the labour ward, surely we deserve the best outcome? Like the disciples’ mother who believed her sons should have places of honour, we pridefully believe that we deserve something else than what we have.
4. Inspiration is everywhere. Some days I see it, some days I don’t. And one thing I swore I did not want to write about was this very subject! That’s why I write fiction.
5. Pay attention to what’s around you. While most of us can tune out to extra noises, the child with autism not only hears everything, but reacts to it too.
I’ve learned to be aware of everyday sounds – a lawn mower; the neighbour’s lack of a muffler; the garbage collection – all of which can trigger an episode.
6. Don’t travel alone. Thankfully, I travel with a supportive husband, without whom I could not do what I do. We have a caring church community and other formal supports. And of course in spiritual terms we are never alone with the Holy Spirit as our comforter.
7. Art helps. We love movies, music, and the theatre. We are able to indulge when our boy is at the respite centre. And we have our own creative outlets. Being able to pursue my writing interests is keeping me sane.
8. Gratitude. Okay. So I need an attitude check. When everything else is out of control, the one thing I can control is my attitude. I am thankful for those who care with meals once a month and others who provide regular respite.
9. The best of journeys have a purpose. Still working through that one. Did Romans 8:28-29 come to mind? Like I say, still working through that. What I cling to from these verses is the fact that I am called.
10. If you accomplish nothing, take heart. You have changed.
How changed? As someone who prefers to work to a plan and be organised, I have learned to take each day (sometimes its down to the half hour) as it comes. I have gone to bed fully dressed so I was ready for anything next morning and who says dessert has to come after first course or that socks have to match?
On two recent bad days, the Lord gave me great encouragement.
One evening I said to the Him: Please give me a word for such a day as the one I just had.
I got nothing then but my waking thought the next morning was:
“It is of the Lord ‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Another day a friend posted Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians, Chapter 4.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.
Whatever your trial, take heart from these words and persevere.
Until next time,