Actually what I said had an expletive in it and Anna-Marie won’t let me lead with that.
But I want you to know where I was.
I said it.
I meant it.
I feel like I do a good job keeping my cool.
I’m not uptight…
I stay pretty relaxed…
And I don’t use expletives…
But in that moment I flipped.
And I flipped bad.
My thoughts were invaded with so much anger… hatred… resentment…
And I screamed it…
“You don’t know what the f#@% you are doing!
I can’t do this!
And You can fix this!
This is not fair to him… to me… to us!
Why would You let this happen?!
You can fix this!
You don’t know what the f#@% you are doing!”
It has been a while ago now.
I had pulled off the side of the road and was sitting in my car. Yelling at God.
At the time, Anna-Marie and I had been struggling with how to parent Tobin and things had gotten pretty desperate.
We knew he had autism.
We knew we needed to learn more about how to curb some of his behaviors.
We knew it was hard.
But at that moment in the car, I was unglued and at the end of my rope.
This wasn’t just a thing where you get mad and then 30 minutes later you realize that you overreacted.
I wasn’t mad at Tobin. I was mad at autism.
I continued to carry this with me for over a year.
I think it’s easy to see God in all the highs of life…
Who can’t look at the Rocky Mountains or up at the stars and be in awe of the bigness of God?
Who can’t thank God when we are sitting around our table with our loved ones at a holiday dinner?
Who can’t feel tears of joy for God when we thank him for
a promotion we get
the birth of a child
when we have a car wreck but everyone is okay
or a kid’s graduation?
It’s not wrong to thank God for these things by any means… but it’s relatively easy isn’t it?
Finding God in hard things is so much more difficult. At least for me it is.
Recently, I was in St. Louis at a place that overlooked the Mississippi River and heard a talk that offered some perspective I’ve never heard before:
A river is lovely—it’s powerful and strong… it’s fast and it’s slow… it’s beautiful… and it’s peaceful to watch.
But beneath the surface… in the deep…
A river is not peaceful: it’s moving rocks and dead trees… it’s eroding away the ground surrounding it… it’s carrying with it the mud of almost an entire continent… It’s messy and it’s hard.
To find and live a life with God that truly gets deeper than the surface… to find the really good God… I think we have to be able to find God in the messy and hard.
If you’ve been reading our blog, you’ve noticed we’ve been marking this Autism Awareness Month by focusing our posts on the topic and how it affects our family.
We just wanted to focus this month on a big thing in our life… one of those things that has been hard but Good, that has changed us for the better. Those of you who are parents of kids with autism, or work with kids with autism, or maybe know someone with autism know that it can be hard.
But I think most everyone has something hard in their life. Something they have a hard time seeing the Good in. Something that might cause you to pull over to the side of the road and have a “moment” with God.
Maybe for you,
your hard, your messy, your painful is something else:
loss of a loved one
a poor choice you’re still having to live with.
Whatever it is…
I don’t have words to “fix” it.
No one has anything they can tell you or do for you that might fix it.
And that’s okay.
The bottom of the river has a job to do.
When I was going through my struggle… blaming God… telling Him to fix it… telling Him that He didn’t know what he was doing… I wasn’t realizing He was right there in it. He was right in the messy.
I didn’t realize the way I needed to change my life: my thoughts… my beliefs… my perspective.
So I fought it. I fought it for a long time. I chose to see the bad in all kinds of things.
Tobin having autism was hard for me… But it wasn’t bad.
In fact it is quite the opposite. Tobin has taught me so much about life, love, and forgiveness that I would never have learned without him. Our blog is an expression of those things he is showing us.
Sitting in my car that day, I wasn’t seeing God in my hard.
what I’m seeing more and more now is that if I really want to see God… see Him for who He really is, I have to look in the deep… I have to look in the darkness… I have to look where things are messy.
Because God really does know what He is doing.