We’ve gone through a rough patch with Jacob over the last month. Seems he would wake up mad. To say, ‘he got up on the wrong side of the bed’ is an understatement. The word rage comes to mind.
Recently, I had a check-up and was explaining to my doctor that I felt like I had wrestled a bear that morning. It was only 10 A..M. and I was exhausted. Dr. C started talking about how stress makes inflammation worse. My mood, emotions, and posture all reflected a sense of defeat. “We have to look at what can help you. Since your situation isn’t going to change, you might need a medicine to help you have better days.” Honestly, I do not like being told I need to swallow a pill to help me parent.
I’ve read that mothers of autistic kids can have stress levels equal to soldiers in combat. Sounds like an exaggeration, doesn’t it? Key word – CAN.
Stress will compromise my health.
Stress will make me sick.
Stress will cause physical pain.
Stress will shorten my life.
Some days I would agree that autism seems like a war zone. Jacob isn’t throwing punches but I still feel battered. It hurts deeply to love him so much and not be able to fix what is causing his behavior.
And then I notice my behavior isn’t great either. Sad. Depressed. Neglecting self. Apathetic. Tired. Becoming negative and someone I don’t like. Surprising myself at something I would say. Less compassionate. Less tolerant. Less understanding with family and friends. Shorter temper. The reality is, that in my case, there are seasons when medicine is a wise addition to self-care.
Sometimes I will choose to not do the right thing or what needs to be done because I don’t have the energy to follow through. I have to accept that I am not superwoman. Don’t have to be. Shouldn’t try!
I read a devotional in New Morning Mercies, a book by Paul David Tripp, and on this one day, in particular, felt like it was written just for me. The last chapter says this:
Paul is arguing that God’s gift of and sacrifice of his Son is your guarantee that he will grace you with every good thing you need until you are finally free of this broken world and with Him forever in eternity. You do not have to wonder about God’s presence or his care. You do not have to fear that he will leave you on your own. You do not have to wonder if he will be there for you in your moment of need. When you give way to these fears, you commit an act of gospel irrationality. If he gave you Jesus, he will give you along with him everything you need.
I was reminded that in the midst of calmness or chaos, whether serene or stressed, I am never, ever alone. I have Jesus.
In my worn-out state, I always wonder what Jacob might be feeling and/or thinking to make him lash out. Is he stressed with his mind in turmoil?
One hard morning, it was just the two of us in the van, I sang this chorus to him on our way to his day program:
Lord, You are more precious than silver.Lynn DeShazzo
Lord, You are more costly than gold.
Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds, and
Nothing I desire compares with You.
Even though my voice cracked and my eyes filled with tears, I could sense him relax.
Thankfully, the past week has been smooth sailing with precious Jacob. We have definitely enjoyed peaceful days.
Even when I don’t acknowledge it, I am certain that we have been given everything we need. (Remember need and want are two very different things.) Thank you, Lord, that along with giving me Jesus, you daily supply my needs!