Sunday, August 14, 2011

Faith vs Fear

Replace fear with faith. Easier said than done. I feel like there is a constant fear vs faith war going on in my head. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning I just feel all beat up and emotionally drained from the battle that goes on in my head.

For the record, I always used to pride myself in being an optimistic person. I pretty much always felt like things will work out, and that whatever happens I can still be happy. I felt like I was flexible, resilient and willing to take on tough challenges. I was what I could emotionally very stable person.

Then life got hard. Then it got harder. And then it got even harder. When Colton was first diagnosed with Autism a couple months ago I would ask, "will I ever be happy again?" I wasn't sure.

So, am I happy now? YES. Yes, I am.
So, does the Autism still hurt? YES. Yes, it hurts bad. Every day. Every day I'm faced with this reality like a freight truck coming right at me.

About 1 out of every 5 days, my fear gets the best of me. And here is what it says:
1. You aren't doing enough, if you were doing more...he would improve more
2. You aren't doing the right things, you should be saying it THIS way to him, or getting him to make eye contact by doing THIS.
3. Your therapies aren't going to work
4. Colton is never going to be able to make friends
5. Kids are going to pick on Colton at school
6. Colton won't be able to have any meaningful relationships outside of me and Mike
7. I'm going to run out of energy and strength and not be able to give Colton all he needs.
8. Maybe he won't ever go to college, or get married, or live on his own.
9. How am I supposed to have more kids? What if they, too, have Autism? What if Colton hates me having a baby?

THEN, my faith kicks in...and I actually HEAR these words in my head. Repeating over and over.
1. Colton is going to be fine. You are going to be fine. Your family is going to be fine.
2. Colton is going to talk again (which already is happening)
3. Your therapies are going to make a huge difference
4. Colton has SO so many great things going for him...see his sense of humor, his smile, his talking, his eyes, he's taking in everything, he's a smart boy.
5. Colton has had friends before, he will be able to make friends again one day.
6. Colton's possibilities are limitless. Keep pushing, keeping pushing.
7. Yes, it will take 100 times more effort, but the effort will get him there. And you will be SO proud of every accomplishment along the way.
8. We can have a happy family.

Yesterday...fear it's a tie...tomorrow...I'm sure I'll be back to faith for another 5 days. And on and on I will go up up up down and then back up again.

But, I WILL get back up. and I WILL have faith. I have to.

(PS don't feel like you have to comment...I'm really not fishing for compliments...more just informing people of the emotions I'm sorting through. I recognize these emotions are not unique to me and that others battle many challenges too. I admire so many people for the things they've gone through and am more aware now, more than ever, of the strength I see in those around me.)


mamajoeen said...

You two are amazing parents and I know good things will come your way. I am sure you will continue to find "joy in the journey." The "viewpoint" on the back cover of the church news is great this week. It's worth a read..."unexpected treasures." Hang in there. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Julia Bouley said...

Autism is just a label. Your son can do anything! As someone who works with Autistic Children, you always see the impossible and learn to appreciate the little things in life. "Come what may, and LOVE IT!."

Kate said...

This was a beautiful post, Angela. Thank you for sharing it.

Taryn said...

I can't pretend to understand the battle that occurs with your particular trial, but I think anyone who faces hard things (and we all do) has the same type of thoughts. They are normal when you are stressed or grieving a life you once knew. But the important thing is the faith is still happening. You haven't lost that essential part and if you keep fighting the fear with even the smallest bit of faith you can muster the Lord will magnify it enough to get you to the next day, minute, or second. I am so sorry you have to go through this battle each day, but know that lots of people love you and admire your amazing love for your son. It is obvious you would do anything to help him, whether his problems are big or small. Keep going, girl! You can do it AND you can find happiness along the way!

Jill said...

How I love you.

lyndsey said...

ang you are my hero. and SOMEDAY i am going to get this 3 hr time difference straight so we can finally have our overdue chat. xo.

Max said...

We glory in your successes and weep when you cry. We admire your faith and share your hopes and dreams. They are ours, too. Our beautiful child will be a winner!

Karen the "Hungry Mom" said...

i’ll comment every time you post because I want to and because I’m inspired to! You are AMAZING! Your family is beautiful, and you all ARE perfect in the way that God created you to be. Thinking of you often!

Hannah said...

Angie--I've read this a few times and learn something new each time I read it. You describe the fear vs. faith struggle so well. Thank goodness for your deep-rooted faith so that fear continues to get cast aside, even if it tries to keep creeping in. Love you.

Holly ZooAlle said...

Angela, this is a beautiful post. It was so great to see you this past weekend! I love you guys so much! I just wanted to share that when Heidi was first diagnosed with leukemia, I kept having a recurring nightmare that I was in a crowded room of people, but I was on the floor, and nobody was helping me get up. I would look up at faces and it was like nobody saw me there needing help. Then I would really wake up and feel like it was still true, and have to go face more doctors and horrible realities. Some days Gordon would have to coax me out of bed because I couldn't face the day. Then one morning I had the dream, only I heard singing, and I stood up. I awoke with the words to How Firm a Foundation going through my head. The part that says "I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand" and also, "As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be." Funny, I never even knew what those words meant. But they became the basis of my faith to overcome my fear. You WILL get up, over and over, because the Lord will lift you.

Holly ZooAlle said...

Actually, this is Jan. I guess I am logged in under Holly's account! Oops!

Lacy Joy said...

Wow Angela. I love reading your blog. I just found it when I was reading Julies. I am learning a lot about Autism right now in school, and it's incredible how amazing and challenging those little kiddos are.I am getting my Masters to be a therapist and I am so excited to work with kids who have Autism. You must be an incredible mother and learning so much! I just started a blog too so i am new to the blogging world:)