I was unprepared for what it would be like to have a teenager. Especially a teenager with autism. I wasn’t ready for any of it. But children have a funny way of growing up, so here we are.
This fall he started high school. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I knew he wasn’t ready and that it would be different for him. Difficult, even. But I wasn’t prepared for what has transpired these last few months. I wasn’t expecting my heart to be so broken, wasn’t ready for the gut wrenching sobs I’d cry out over and over. It’s been exhausting. For him too, I suspect.
Ever since he was a sweet and gentle toddler he has had difficultly with unexpected noises, bright lights, large crowds. (I didn’t know it then, but those are classic signs of autism.) For as long as I can remember, change has been a nightmare for him. So walking into a new school filled with so many students and new sounds, lights and people he doesn’t know poured added stress on him. And one day, when he just couldn’t take it anymore, he exploded.
It was a Wednesday, the same day our life group meets in the evening. I didn’t want to go. My bloodshot eyes worn from crying would be a telltale sign that things weren’t alright. But I did. And that night, it seemed everyone was going through something hard. So we worshipped, and we prayed, and we shared past victories that spurred us on to hope for more.
You see, everything changed for my boy all at the same time, and he couldn’t handle it. New school, new people. Our church sold our building because we outgrew it and we are in transition while the new building, an old wearhouse, is renovated. Youth group was shuffled all around and no longer had routine to accommodate this. He needed new clothes and nothing felt comfortable. His medication was adjusted. Literally every single part of his life changed and he was so very stressed.
We need a victory in this situation. We really, really need a massive victory. But sometimes, small victories are helpful too.
We had to make some changes for him, and some of the changes were hard. He is on reduced time at school, coming home shortly after lunch. He’s taking a break from youth group until the new year. And changes like that can be discouraging. But then, the victories.
Some friends of ours have taken time out of their busy schedules to spend some one on one time with him. To uplift, encourage and love on him. He was able to spend the day with a friend of ours who is an engineer for the annual Take Your Kid to Work Day that the high school requires – and he hasn’t stopped talking about it. And at school, they’ve allowed him to have time with a therapeutic dog that is so good for his soul.
These small victories aren’t the massive victory that we are praying for. But without them, a big victory might not be possible. And these small victories? Each was put in place by a loving God who deeply cares for us.
After life group had ended that evening, a song I’d heard briefly only a handful of times came to my mind:
The weapon may be formed, but it won’t prosper
When the darkness falls, it won’t prevail
‘Cause the God I serve knows only how to triumph
My God will never fail
Oh, my God will never failI’m gonna see a victory
I’m gonna see a victory
For the battle belongs to You, LordThere’s power in the mighty name of Jesus
Every war He wages He will win
I’m not backing down from any giant
‘Cause I know how this story ends
Yes, I know how this story ends You take what the enemy meant for evil
And You turn it for good
See A Victory, Elevation Worship
Even this battle belongs to the Lord. Even this fight, this struggle, this heart ache can be transformed in His name. So I decided to look into what the Scriptures say about the Lord’s victory:
For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. Dueteronomy 20:4
For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57
When we stand firmly in Christ, believing in Him, and praying for His will to be done – we are victorious. Even if the victory doesn’t look like what we had hoped it would look like. At the end of the day, we just need to remember we are His, and we are victorious through Him.
I may not see a victory this month, or even next. As heavy as it makes my heart to write these words, I may not even see a victory this school year. But I can rest in knowing that He’s in control, no matter the outcome.
This heartwarming post is part of the Nov. series at Telling Hearts. You can catch the introduction >here to make sure you don’t miss a thing.<