I have so loved watching the Sunflower seeds that I planted in my back yard grow.
Likewise, this has been such a year of "growing" for us too in so very many ways. After a long time of planting faith that things would change, finally the harvest of change. Beginnings of healing. For all of us in Team Guppy. For the first time in what seems like forever, I've been able to get back to doing more of what I so love to do. Gardening. Anything outside. I am so much like my sons. Neither one can be contained. They need open. They need to see the sky. I need to feel the dirt.
Romans 8:18 can be the motto for this past seizure cycle that began in August 2010. I know so many of you are growing weary of that date. I've shared it often. I remember a woman's conference I went to once where the speaker shared how you should never let others see your scars. It was a "Don't worry be happy" kind of speech where if you do good, good will happen to you. I was so disillusioned by religion after that. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes they're good all their lives and still aren't healed. Flesh and blood people do worry, the key is still choosing happy. Wounds leave scars. And without a scar, you would have no reminder of the healing that took place. How you survived that which you thought would surely break you.
That's what those last nearly four years now have been. A very deep wound. The most unrelenting seizures to date. And for as many visits as we have made to the Emergency Room and for as many staples and again broken teeth, and neurosurgery, it's hard to imagine sharing how that still wasn't the most damaging seizure cycle. The nine month long atonic seizure cycle several years ago was the worse. My son having so many hard slams into the floor or wall or table that he had to wear a full face shield helmet every waking moment. What that seizure cycle didn't have in width - length of time - it made up for in depth - severity. That was a wound I am glad that healed rather quickly. Yet in looking back at that scar -- I see so very many lessons in faith learned during that time. It was a crisis of belief time. I prayed so very hard each day for those slams to the floor to not break a tooth - to not ruin my son's bright smile. It was the one thing I prayed the hardest to not happen. Then one day it happened. The moment he hit the floor, I knew his teeth were gone before ever seeing that indeed they were. Both front teeth shattered. Gone. The question I had to answer in my heart, in my soul, through my tears and in between my screams, was "If the thing I pray for the most to not happen, happens, will God still be God. Would I still believe he was God?"
My answer then, now, forever, was, is, always will be --- yes.
In the years since then, many things have tested that answer. So very, very many. Hurts, betrayals, unfairness.
But yes. God is still God even when you pray for something and want something so bad - but it never happens.
God is still God when you do right by others, but they don't do right by you.
And then these past few years -- not only were we dealing with relentless seizures, every kind of seizure one can have -- sometimes all in the same day -- but a myraid of other health bamboozelments in Brandon. GI regression, Yeast beasts, Viral issues, Chronic fatigue, and a movement type disorder that the jury is still out on -- in determining just what kind it is. Either seizures rendered him in bed for days on end - or when he was up and could walk, it was the walk of a drunken soldier. He lost 20 pounds over the course of that time, and lost skills that he fought so long and so hard to learn in the first place.
Not to dwell on that pus-filled festering wound, just suffice it to say that if an autism friend hadn't begged her son's doctor to consult with me regarding my son -- I have no doubt Brandon would be about as close to death as one could be. He simply had nothing left to fight with between the seizures no doctor would properly treat, the yeast beast no doctor would even try to beat, the viral issues no doctor would even consider as being an issue.
That doctor saw the sunflower inside my son -- the glory beyond the suffering - and listened to me - and treated Brandon. Not as a text book would dictate, but as my son's symptoms dictated. Nothing I mentioned was not explored simply because 'it couldn't be' - but simply tested for and treated as if it was.
And indeed it was.
The wound from this period of time in our "Life with Autism" will leave a very large scar. Hopefully the largest we'll ever have to endure in times to come. As my son is slowly but surely healing, gaining weight, having fewer seizures farther apart, the toll that wound took on our lives will not be soon forgotten. And I'm not sure I would want to forget. Like with any other wound we've had -- as painful as it was -- we have learned so very much. Our faith has grown deeper and deeper. Become stronger and stronger.
I want to show people, "That, do you see that one? That's when I decided God would always be God, no matter if the thing I prayed the most to not happen, happened."
"You see that one there? That's when I found out the hard way that no matter how deep the pit you feel you're in, God is deeper still."
"And this one.... Ahhhhh, this one. I think I'll put a tattoo on this one. It's long enough. HOPEISM. I learned how to hang on to HOPEISM and NEVER QUIT with this one....."
"That one? Well, it's not quite healed yet. But maybe I can put NDCQ by it. As a reminder that for as long as we must live our lives with autism - we must as Mack says, 'Keep dreaming, Keep daring, and Keep doing.' We are not dead and we cannot quit."
I love looking at that picture of the sunflower bud. I love that it reminds me of Hebrews 11:1 -- "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Every evening when I would go water it, I would look at that bud and see HOPEISM. I would see Brandon's healing that I know is inside him. And since consulting with our new doctor, I've watched that healing bloom into the Sunflower I've always believed was in there.
It's hard to believe that like in Romans 8:18 above - if anyone had asked me a year or two or three ago if these present sufferings would pale in comparison to the glory that will soon be revealed in God's time, in God's healing -- I would have to say no. I could not imagine it.
When Brandon was in bed for three days at a time with no food, no water, not even having moved an inch, no, I couldn't imagine the glory being greater than that suffering.
Yet now that he is doing so much better, he is healing, getting stronger, gaining weight, beating the yeast....having fewer and fewer seizures, I can now look back and say that yes, the glory of seeing that Sunflower bloom --- HOPEISM blossom --- makes the sufferings of those past three years indeed pale in comparison to God's glory revealed in healing.
Some scars remind me that at times God moves the mountain out of the way. The challenges, obstacles, hardships. Others remind me how He moved me to a place of deeper faith and stronger resolve to be able to climb over obstacles he for whatever reason, chose not to move.
And this one - this scar will be remembered as the time God did both. He moved the mountain in bringing us a doctor who would help heal Brandon, and he moved me in so very many ways. He moved all of us in Team Guppy.
It's not that I idolize how they got there, it's that I do my best to give Glory to God in how he healed the wounds.
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
The Glory that has overwhelmed me on this "Thanking God for His Grace" Friday as our HOPEISM continues to bloom into healing for our Brandon... and us.