I had surgery yesterday. I knew going in that I’d be bedridden for a week. Like many moms, I believed that everything would fall apart if I wasn’t around to hold it all together. The whole thing made me cringe and sent me into a frenzy of cleaning and prepping for my recovery time. I wanted to make sure that anything that could be done before I went into the hospital was done, and then some.
This situation would make any mom feel a little crazed but, as an Autism parent, it translated into sheer panic…How would I keep her routine going from the confines of my bed? What could I do to ease her anxiety? Could she afford to miss a few therapy appointments? Would her babysitters be able to handle her if she had a meltdown?…As much as I wanted to prove I could go with the flow, I was anything but at peace about it all.
Then, as usual, God showed up.
I came home from the hospital to my daughter being in a mood she’s almost never in: Calm. She rose above my every expectation to show me that, not only was she able to handle a new routine, she was able to show me she cared in ways I didn’t know she could. As I laid in bed in extreme pain, she sat by my side, quietly, with a look of concern on her face. She asked me questions about my surgery, wanting to know if the doctors had taken good care of me. She made me a Get Well card. She offered to help my husband bring whatever I needed to my bedside. She asked me what she could do to help me feel better. And then she came up with her own idea…
“I know the perfect thing to help make you feel better!” she said, running out of the room. She came back carrying a stuffed Jesus doll she’d gotten at Vacation Bible School last summer. She laid him on my lap and looked at me. Really looked at me. (That coveted eye contact is something we don’t take for granted around here!) She shot me her trademark grin, beaming with pride. And, for the first time in a very long time, I felt connected to her. I felt her love for me. I didn’t have to just believe in it, trusting that somewhere inside she cared…it was right there for me to see. She knew, better than anyone, exactly what I needed to heal: Jesus. When I was choosing to worry, she chose to turn to The One who had it all in the palm of His hand. What I had made complicated, she made simple…when you’re hurting, turn to Him.
I’m ashamed to admit that I so often focus on caring for my child’s disability that I loose focus on her abilities. Abilities that far outweigh anything that she can’t do. Abilities given to her by her Maker. Today, she reminded me that she’s in tune with the needs of others, cares in her own special way, and knows the deep need that we all have for The Healer. While God reminded me that His ways are mysterious and amazing, His plans far greater than anything I could ever come up with on my own. He reminded me to look beneath the surface. That He can use each of us, regardless of any label this world would give, to make a difference in this life. Today, He gave me the precious gift of hope.