I Will Not Forget

“There are miles between this place and the distance I must go
There are choices I must make along this winding road
Though questions come along my way there is one thing that I know
I will not forget where I’ve come from or where I’m going”
(Hilary Weeks, song ‘I Will Not Forget’)

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It’s so easy to forget who we are and what our individual purpose is along this rough path we walk. There are days that I have never been so alone and misunderstood. Days where it takes every effort just to crawl out of bed to take my kids to school, just to retreat right back to that warm, comforting hole where I close my eyes and pray for it all to just disappear. Days when I go through the motions so that my kids don’t see me cry and my neighbors get the thought “How does she do it?” so that I don’t have to explain the true pain I feel and admit the defeat that moment holds. Days of complete loss and torture that make me so incredibly angry I have to put myself in time out to scream into my pillow and ugly cry! Let’s be real. These days are more frequent than any of us want to admit. The moments of power and confidence feel like just that, moments. The hard stuff is what dwells and takes us down.

Why?! Why do we give those negative, ugly, hurtful and harsh thoughts power over us. Why do we take the hand of the devil and let him lead us to depression and self loathing?

Fear. Unbelief. Doubt.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7). You were not made to fail. You were not a waste of time or even a mistake. You were created for a purpose, with powers to fulfill your works with grace, love, kindness, strength, and confidence. The devil has no claim on your path. He will not walk with you; he will only push you to the ground and tell you that you’re not strong enough. You are a child of God! You have Heavenly Parents who created you with intention. Know who you are and where you are going.

I have had many boulders in my path that have caused me to forget my worth and end goal. When my first born turned three he was behind in his speech, had a hard time making eye contact and loved to meticulously line up everything. He also had horrible outbursts and tantrums when we would move from one activity to another or when he just didn’t get his way. I felt, as a parent, that I was doing a horrible job and maybe I never should have had kids if this is what it looked like.  Since I couldn’t renig on becoming a mom, I turned to the local parent support program (Parents as Teachers) to guide me and help me understand how better to help my child.

“I felt, as a parent, that I was doing a horrible job and maybe I never should have had kids…”

After an initial visit from the parent educator my heart was broken. She said that he showed ‘red flags’ of a disability and we needed to get him evaluated. After many hours of crying in the bathroom by myself, I put on my big girl panties and made the appointment with KU Medical Center. When the evaluation ended, my mother and I sat with the psychologist as she explained his diagnosis. She was kind and informative; however I think I lost the ability to hear about 5 words after her declaration of “our team has given your son a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder”.  I think about fifteen minutes passed before she finished her rehearsed speech about what ASD is and what my child’s deficiencies were.

In truth, in that moment I didn’t really understand much of what she said. I just kept thinking, “How am I going to explain this to my husband and my child will not live a ‘normal’ life”. In shock, I took a deep breath, said a quiet prayer “Father help me”, and responded to the psychologist with the simple question “What do we do next?”  That moment and those words had changed my life forever.

It has now been 5 years since his diagnosis and I can say with confidence now that I would do it ALL again. This path has been hard, and it will continue to be work. But I decided to take God’s hand that day and let Him lead me down this path of struggle, pain, frustration, growth, and acceptance. I have poured my heart into this child and I have learned so many truths about behavior and relationships. There is a special bond I have created with him. We have added two siblings into our family demographic and I still tell my first born that he is my favorite (don’t tell your brother or sister ;)).

“The hardest part will always be taking that first step and choosing to trust God…”

Knowing that God is there to hold our hand and walk with us can be the inspiration and uplifting truth that fills our sails with a positive directing force. The hardest part will always be taking that first step and choosing to trust God, that He is there, and that He will make the fear dissipate. Every spot of darkness in our lives can knock the wind out of our sails and prevent us from moving forward. But I promise you that it will pass…that pain and doubt and fear will pass…if you let it.

So grab a tissue, call a friend, open a window, put on some mascara and take a step into the darkness with confidence that God is by your side. Tell that rude little devil that he is not welcome here for we are creating a strong and better future.

This is your journey. Never forget where you’ve come from or where you’re going!