Walking into church alone, the smell of burning wax overwhelms my senses, taking my mind off the morning debacle for the moment. The candle lit chapel welcomes and calms me as I settle into my normal spot, close to the door to avoid attention when the inevitable text pulls me back to the nursery. As the worship blares, I feel disconnected and discontent.
The morning was full of screaming, kicking, and protesting, as well as the dressing and redressing of Charlie multiple times. While checking the boys into the nursery, Charlie flailed on the floor, blocking the entrance. My best efforts to calm his body and mind failed. Then we ran into the head of the nursery who informed us that they were already short staffed. Basically, they couldn’t handle Charlie today, hence the reason I am here sitting by myself in church.
I guess it is somewhat of a blessing in disguise though; Charlie never graduated from the 2-year old class even though he is now 3 ½. Today, with my husband in tow, he is able to play in the 3-year old class for the first time. This blessing also serves as a swift reminder that he’s so behind. I can’t help but feel that this journey is much larger than I anticipated.
I have always dreamed that we could “conquer” this life-long disability. After all, I am constantly bombarded with stories of children just like Charlie who have “overcome” Autism. I don’t honestly think you can cure Autism, but you can enable your child to function in everyday life with lots of practice and hard work. I know he’s only 3 1/2, but right now, as I sit here alone in church, shuffling through the morning’s events, it feels like the clock is ticking ever so quickly and not in our favor.
All these ideas of where Charlie is and where I thought he would be by now flood my mind and heart. Focusing on the sermon is the last thing on my mind; I can only focus on holding back tears right now. Crying in church is one thing, but crying in church alone…well, I’ve been there. I like to avoid it all costs.
All this turmoil in my head and heart are thwarted by a fire at the front table. As everyone races to put out the flames from a fallen candle, I am somewhat thankful for this welcome hurdle in my negative thinking and sadness. Once the flames are out, I set my mind to achieve a positive attitude.
This is life, and I’m praying for thankfulness! This is the life God blessed me with. It is glorious and wonderful…and, yes, hard, but it’s worth the struggle. Plus, I’m not alone in any of this. I have my God with me, guiding and loving me every step of the way, giving me mercy and grace that I have yet to grant myself.
In this moment, God is telling me: Trust me! I got this! Charlie is MY child, and he was mine before I gifted this sweet son to you. His identity is in ME and not found in any label this world will construct. He is a “child of God”. He is MINE, and I have amazing plans for this magnificent child I created.