Happy New Year!
It’s hard to believe that it is 2014. I sometimes still find myself writing 1990-something, so this 2014 thing seems a little crazy to me. I mean, do you realize that the kids who will be entering high school this fall were born in the year 2000?!?! What the what???
As this new year begins, I find myself reflecting on the past year. 2013 was really good in a lot of ways. Peter completed his first Ironman, Brienne is thriving in school and has some great friends, Jonah’s language has exploded and he is doing well in preschool, and Vivienne has become our little social butterfly. We’ve visited with family, vacationed at the beach, and just hung out. It’s been a good year.
But 2013 was also a really hard year for us. It will forever be known as the year Jonah was diagnosed with autism and our world fell apart. Maybe that seems a little dramatic – maybe our world didn’t fall apart. But it was rocked beyond anything we could’ve imagined.
Autism is scary. I hate to admit it, but it is. It’s scary for me and Peter because we don’t know what to expect as Jonah grows. It’s scary because we know the stress that autism causes within a family. Did you know that 90% of couples who have an autistic child end up divorcing? Ninety percent… That’s the same percentage as parents who have lost a child to death. And sometimes that’s what it feels like – our hopes and dreams for Jonah have died and we have had to grieve what “could’ve been.” Peter and I are determined to beat that divorce statistic, but we know it won’t be easy. We have to keep our lines of communication open, realize when we need outside help, and seek The Lord in everything.
And we have had to develop different goals for Jonah, different dreams. A “Plan B.” No one wants to go to their Plan B, but that’s what we are doing. Pastor Pete Wilson says this: “The knowledge of God’s love is not going to make the pain of Plan B go away. But we can allow His love to become the fuel that sustains us through the long, difficult days ahead.”
This is the truth I cling to. That Christ’s love will sustain us.
I recently came across a passage in Isaiah that resonated with me.
“But forget all that-
It is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun!”
This passage gives me hope. And hope is precious around here. I can look at the past and see the many miracles Christ performed for me, in me. I can see all the answered prayers. But He says that what He is about to do will surpass anything He has done in the past. I am claiming Isaiah 43:18-19 for our family this year. I want Christ to do something new in me, in Jonah, and in our family.
I know that God is sovereign and He has a purpose. He will be glorified through Jonah if we allow it. What satan meant for evil and despair, God will use for good. I am trusting that my faith isn’t so shallow that I doubt God just because He puts some difficulties in our path.
This year, our family has a lot to be thankful for. And we also have many things to pray for. Brienne will enter middle school (ack!), Jonah has a long road ahead of him, we have to make a decision about where to move after leaving Valdosta.
And these are only the “big” worries. Thankfully, my God is greater than my worries.
So in this new year, I will trust Him to carry us through the hard days, to give us peace.
And I will trust that He is about to do something new.