Purpose in the Waiting

On Friday, we met with the nurse who works for the new psychiatrist for Sarah.  This psychiatrist specializes in autistic children, while our current one does not (he just has had other autistic patients).  Also our current doctor has recently moved to a further away location, so it confirmed our decision to switch.  Like many things in the autism community there is a wait list.  I called in August.  Friday’s appointment was the intake/ “get to know you” evaluation with the nurse.  Our appointment with the new psychiatrist will be in January 2014, her earliest opening.  So we wait….

I feel like patience is an area I struggle with the most.  I relate with people in the Bible that also had to learn to wait.  Abraham was 75 years old when he received the promise of Isaac, but Isaac was not born until he was 100 years old.  If that was me, with each passing month that turned into years, I would start to doubt myself.  “Did I really hear God right?  Did I imagine this?”  Then there is Joseph.  For two years he waited in prison after the Cupbearer was released, even when he asked the Cupbearer to remember him, to show him kindness and to mention him to Pharaoh so he could be released (Gen 40:14).   I bet the first couple days after the Cupbearer’s release each sound of the dungeon door opening or just hearing a noise from outside world, his heart would beat faster as he hoped it was for his freedom, only to be disappointed.   Then as the months passed with no one coming for him, I bet he felt discouraged and forgotten in that dark place.  Lastly, there is David.  Many years passed from the time he was anointed king to the time he took the throne of Judah, then years later until he took the throne of the entire kingdom.  I think about the years David was an outlaw sleeping on dirt floors of caves when he was hiding from King Saul and I wonder if he ever became impatient or frustrated by his circumstances.

Yet, in all of these men, God was at work and there was a purpose in the waiting.

Genesis 15:1b says, “Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward.” as God’s reassurance to Abraham.  For Joseph, it is Genesis 39:21, “…the Lord was with him (Joseph); He showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.”  Lastly for David, we know he was a man after God’s own heart and when he was anointed with oil “the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.” (I Samuel 16:13b).

I think about the time these men waited and how God was with them in the wait.  Each of them grew in character and the time of waiting was preparation for what God had in store for them.  He was preparing them for their callings: our patriarch, 2nd in command of all of Egypt (and saved his family/nation from starvation) and the king of Israel.  While I am sure it was difficult to wait, they didn’t waste it.

Then there is me.  I am ashamed to say that I want God to immediately answer my prayers and more specifically, to answer them how I want them to be answered.  I pray and when the answer does not present itself immediately, I begin to question the Lord.  “Has He forgotten me? Why isn’t He answering me?  I have been praying about this for a few hours/days/weeks/months now…”  I need to not waste the wait and know God is here, at work and has a purpose in it.

Maybe God is working in my life in areas that need to be addressed during this time of waiting (also known as ‘refining my character’-an on-going work in progress!).  Maybe God is preparing the doctor, the medical field in general, to have something new become available that could help Sarah and by waiting, we will find out about it.  Maybe God is at work in Sarah and by the time this appointment comes her crying and aggressive behavior will not be as much of an issue as it is now.   All I know is that God’s timing is never late, never early, but perfect.

I also look at these verses and see how God is saying them to me.  “Jill, I am your shield, your great reward.  I am with you and over and over again I have shown you kindness.  Lastly, I have given you the Holy Spirit in your life.”  (And I say, ‘Thank You, Lord!’)   He is the God of these men and He was faithful to them, therefore, I know as my God, He will continue to be faithful to me.

So I wait…and maybe right now you are in the middle of something that God is asking you to wait through, as well.  Maybe you are feeling frustrated, alone or forgotten.  I know it is not easy, but with anticipation I hope we both can see that He has a purpose in the waiting.

Isaiah 30:18, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for Him!”  

In Honor of Sarah (House) White

Sarah White would have been 39 today.   I want to honor my dear friend for the impact she had on my life. 

One of the things I have come to realize on this journey of autism is the importance of friends in my life.  God has given me truly wonderful friends whose love and support have sustained me.  An email, a text, a call, a hug means so much to me and sometimes right when I needed it the most.  God has given me friends that love my daughter Sarah and whose hearts ache with us on this journey.

My friend, Carol Kent, in her book “When I Lay my Isaac Down” calls her supportive friends, “Stretcher Bearers”, after the story of the paralyzed man who was carried to Jesus on a mat by his friends in Luke 5:17-26 (page 75). I can see that.  There are times on this journey that I feel I can’t walk anymore and God has given me friends to help, encourage, cheer, and yes, carry us on in this journey.

No one can take autism from us, much like how I would love to take the hardships from my friends’ lives that they are facing but can’t, but God has given us friends to come along side us.  To wrap their arm around us and with the other hand support us as we travel on our journey.  My “come along side” friends, like you, who pray for us, truly mean more than I can ever express.  My heart cannot even begin to tell you of my love and gratitude to you for praying for us!

You truly are Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Then there is my friend Sarah White.  My relationship with Sarah was a precious gift.  I met Sarah on my first day at my new school in 4th grade.  Sarah gave me a friendship pin (which was a safety pin with beads on it that the girls wore on their shoes) that made me feel accepted.  I still remember seeing the pin on my desk and a feeling of happiness washed over me that someone thought of me.  I looked over to see her sweetly smiling at me; a lifelong friendship was born.

As grown-ups our friendship deepened. Sarah had twin girls, too; the younger of the twins also is special needs.  Sarah had other children and was trying to find a balance of helping her one child without excluding the others, as well. Instead of “coming along side”, Sarah was my friend who was on the same journey I was on.  She was the hand tightly gripping my hand from across the table, a tear-filled eye meeting mine and telling me, “I know.  I know.”

Sarah did know exactly how I felt and there was a bond between us.  Another childhood friend (and now cousin-in-law), Suzie Palms, Sarah, and I would meet for dinner from time to time and it was a place to talk about different therapies, specialists and schooling options.  We learned so much from each other as we tried to find answers to help our girls.  Some dinners it was just a time to vent our frustrations and weariness with life and raising a special needs child.  Sarah spoke my “special needs mom language” and was facing many of the same things I was facing, despite her daughter having a different diagnosis.  Most of all, we laughed and for a moment stepped away from our lives and were just lifelong friends catching up.

October 2008, we met for Sarah’s birthday.  Suzie and I both could tell she wasn’t feeling well.  She barely ate and looked exhausted.  Two weeks later we found out the reason, pancreatic cancer.  Even now I am shocked by it. We felt helpless in how to help our friend. I begged God for healing, mercy and more time with my lifelong friend.  Sarah fought hard and the outpouring of people praying for her was amazing.  Sarah touched so many people and had an impact far greater than she ever knew.  Even when she was in such great pain, she responded in kindness and with a twinkle in her eye said something that made us smile.  It was so her.

December 21st, 2008, Suzie and I saw Sarah one last time here on earth.  Instead of a tightly held hand across the table, it was us tightly holding her hands as she lay in her bed.  We told her how much we loved her and what her friendship meant to us, but I wasn’t sure if she could hear us.  Then, truly a gift from God, her right eye barely opened and her eye met our tear-filled eyes and she blew us a kiss, and then closed her eye again.  Sarah passed away in the early hours of December 23rd.  She was 34 years old.

Today is Sarah (House) White’s birthday. She was an amazing wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend and loved by so many.  She is greatly and achingly missed and one day I look forward to seeing my friend again in Heaven.   I think I will be standing in line to greet her and when our eyes meet; there will be no more tears, but there will be hands tightly grasping each other and a wink from a dear friend who knows.

Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times.”

UPDATE-Choosing Our Focus

Hi Everyone,

This is an update on my last blog:

Today we signed the paperwork for Sarah to attend this new school.  She will start officially on Friday (just wrapping up a few things and getting her new bus schedule set).  It is a whirlwind, but we have a peace about this.

What truly meant a lot to me was her current teacher and our Autism Coordinator for the district, whom we have known since Sarah was 6, were in tears saying good-bye to us at the end of our meeting. (This new school is county based so Sarah will no longer be under our city’s school district.) This wonderful teacher has been through so much with Sarah’s non-stop crying and screaming these past two years.  She has seen Sarah at her worse and yet loves her.  The Coordinator has also been our advocate all these years and has been such a wonderful support.  I am very thankful God placed these ladies into our lives!  While it is hard to say good-bye (I cried, too!), I know they are putting Sarah in good hands at the new school.

Thank you for covering us in prayer!  You made a very tough decision into one filled with peace and reassurance.

Is it going to be an easy transition?  Probably not!  This is Sarah!! 🙂 Sarah might struggle a bit, but we know God goes before us and is in control.

I truly feel like 2 Thessalonians 3:16, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.”

We truly are humbled and so thankful for people praying for our Sarah!  To know we have family and friends lifting us up in prayer during this time is so encouraging!

Thank you and bless you!