I woke up in a state of panic. It was my body gasping for air that woke me up. I sat up as I tried to catch my breath with my heart pounding hard inside my chest. I realized where I was and I looked at the clock. It read 3:37 am. With that, I laid my head back down on my pillow. My heartbeat was still booming in my ears. I took deep breaths as I reassured myself, “It was just a dream…It was just a dream.”
Unfortunately, it was just a dream of one of the scariest moments of my life!
Sarah has done several things that have made me wake up in a state of panic as I recall them in my sleep. Once when she was a little girl I came into her room to wake her up from her nap. She wasn’t napping, instead I found her standing on the window sill of her second story bedroom window. She had opened the window and was holding onto the curtain rod as she wiggled and danced. I knew if I screamed it might startle her and she might fall out the window, so I very calmly came up to her and grabbed her from the window. I held her tight and thanked the Lord for protecting her. Needless to say, David and I put a wooden bar in the track of her window to prevent her from doing that again.
It still makes me ill just thinking of it, but that is not the scary moment that woke me up recently.
That moment was when Sarah and I were driving home from her ABA therapy appointment. The center was about 25 minutes away from our house via expressway. We had to change expressways to get there. As I approached the overpass bridge that connected the two expressways, Sarah unbuckled from her car booster seat and proceeded to get out of it. I saw what she had done in my rearview mirror and yelled for her to stop. She was mad. She screamed and came up to me and hit me. She then did something that years later causes me to wake me up in a state of panic.
She unlocked the van door and opened it while we were going over the bridge on the expressway. (This was an older van. Newer van doors do not open when the car is in drive.)
I screamed and grabbed onto her with my one hand.
I pulled her close to me and tried to pull over. Sadly, the connection from the bridge put us in the second left lane. I moved across the lanes holding onto her all the while with the van side door wide open. The sound of the expressway was deafening. I cried out to the Lord for protection. It was one of the scariest moments of my life!
When I pulled over I broke down in tears thinking what could have happened. I held her tightly as I wept. She was still angry and didn’t want to be held and pushed me away. Her actions made me cry all the more. I had a child who refused to let me love her even though I would do anything for her. I prayed thanking the Lord for His protection but I also told Him how weary I was with this life of Autism. I got her back into her booster seat, but it took me a while before I could drive again. I sat in my seat shaking. When I was ready to drive again I took side roads all the way home.
I told David we needed to do something to stop her from getting out of her car booster seat. Thankfully, we found a product called Angel Guard (angelguardbuynow.com). It is just a simple piece of plastic that goes over the seat belt buckle, but it prevented her from unbuckling.
Angel Guard. I love the name! I know our loving Heavenly Father has been guarding Sarah all along! While I still may wake up from time to time in a panic, I need to take this memory and give it to the Lord. He protected us and I need to find rest in Him. Psalm 62:5-8 has been a great comfort to me, especially during these times. I underlined this passage in my Bible and if that wasn’t enough, I put stars by verse 8. Psalm 62:5-8 reads, “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
I am thankful that when the memories of the scariest moments of life wake me up at night, I can pour out my heart to Him! I love the imagery of these verses: ‘rock ’, ‘fortress’, ‘not be shaken’, and ‘refuge’. I can find rest because I know I am ultimately secure in Him!