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Storm In The Valley

The day is done. One more day. One more nightmare unfolding, slows down in the quiet of night. I sit here on the floor and let my tears do the talking- “Here I am, God. Where are You?”

The chaos builds around us. What was once a constant rumble in the background of our lives, has become a raging storm we can’t escape. The wind is powerful. It steals the breath right out of me. The rain is heavier some days than others…but it never stops.

I look out into the world around us, watching life pass us by; other families enjoying their time together, living the luxuries of dinner around the table and trips to the park…all without this constant threat. Do we keep trying to fit in, or do we stay home? Home, where we don’t have to pretend to be okay; where we don’t have to explain.

Questions run through my mind…What do You want from me, God, when putting one foot in front of another is all I have the strength left to do? What kind of honor can I bring to You in simply surviving? When will You come back to us and breathe new life into our souls? How far will we fall before You catch us? You ask me to trust, and I have. For years, I have. How much longer, Lord? How many pieces can my heart be broken into before You’ll make it whole again?

They put a label on it. Little did I know at the start, that identifying the storm was only the beginning. The years passed by with therapy appointments and rigid schedules commanding our days. The journey got harder, the road unfamiliar and overwhelming. For a long time, I was holding my breath, waiting for the day that our “new normal” would settle in and it would become manageable. They told me, “It won’t always be like this”…they never said it would be worse.

I know that I am not alone. I know there are other mothers on other bedroom floors, crying their own desperate tears because they are in the valley again. I know that Autism has its mountaintops. They’ve been some of the most beautiful moments of my life. But we aren’t there. We haven’t been to the mountaintop for what feels like forever. And I can’t pretend that the mountaintop moments are all that matters. The valleys are real. Their storms are life-altering and soul-crushing. They are dark and ugly and they are the things no one wants to talk about. Yet, they are what shapes us.

In the valley, I don’t know much. I only know the dark and the holding on. But I’m not doing it on my own. His suffering, His longing, His painful, tear-stained moments become my own. We sit here in the dark. Together. No words, just His presence. I come to know that He understands, even when I feel like no one else can. I realize My Father is holding me. An embrace I wouldn’t have experienced outside of these dark moments; a closeness I had been longing for- I had to fall to find it. Here is where He speaks to my soul. Here is where I find the courage not to give up. Here is where I have nothing else but faith; a tiny seed of faith that grows into the very vines that we will use to climb our way out into the sun again. If there’s one truth in the valley, it’s always been that there is where I find Jesus.

I don’t understand the reason why we are on this journey. My only relief is that I don’t need to. All I need is to rest in Him; to let Him carry us through this. All I need is to trust The One who holds my family in His hands; who loves us at our darkest.

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