There are moments when you realize you’ve become a different person. I had a couple of them today. We are away from home on a company-sponsored retreat. It was harder than usual this year to come. My seven year old son was heartbroken the night before we left, crying like his heart would stop the moment I wasn’t there. It was so bad that my sweet husband gave him a father’s blessing. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a father’s blessing is a Priesthood blessing from a father to a child. It’s comforting and offers guidance and answers from the Lord.
The words Heavenly Father spoke to my son, through my husband, I will never forget. He blessed my boy with peace, assured him that all would be well while we were gone, and that we would be safe. Then He told my son that there were times in our lives that are for growing, and that through this short separation he would grow. God assured him that he would have fun with his grandparents and aunt and uncle who love him. But the words that seemed to drive themselves into my bones were that this was a time of growth for my son. And it’s growth he desperately needs.
Over the last few months life as the mom in our house has not been easy. I had to have an emergency surgery, followed by another unexpected surgery three weeks later. The down time and emotional jolt both of those procedures caused unforeseen ripples in the family pond. Soon my son was refusing to go to school without me. He wanted mom there every day to eat lunch with him. And he was adamant.
This was not your usual “I’m too sick for school” kind of stuff. He wouldn’t start the day before pleading with me to stay home, or have me come to school with him. So I eventually became a first grader for a week. Just to get him to class. The low point was when I took him to school and left him with the front office, only to find him screaming and running out of the school to chase my car when he realized I was not there. The poor principal was chasing this sobbing child, and if there had been traffic they would both have been in danger. That was the last straw. This had to stop!!
Before you start gathering your motherhood advice, and preparing to tell me that I am a weak-willed mother or that he only needs discipline, I need to tell you something. My sweet son has Asperger’s. It’s also called High Functioning Autism, and it affects the way he sees the world. To him, my health concerns were a huge punch in the gut. He had not been expecting them, and it threw his world off kilter terribly. In his mind, if he could see me and keep an eye on me, I would not leave again. He was trying to control his world by refusing to go to school without me. And when I left without telling him, I betrayed his confidence and he freaked out and chased my car. He didn’t think about his personal safety, he was just having a royal panic attack.
I’m always impressed with the way God speaks to each person in the language they understand. And as my husband gave my son this blessing, God was talking to both of us. We both needed to hear Him assure my son he would be okay, and that he would grow. Because as a Mom I also needed comfort that we wouldn’t have a child chasing a plane as it tried to take off. And I needed to know that I wasn’t making a huge mistake taking this trip when my boy was feeling so insecure.
Every day I’ve prayed for my son, and every day I see him thriving. The Lord is keeping His word, and my son is growing and gaining confidence in himself through this experience. God loves him and He loves me, and He is holding us both up in the moments we need it. Through this experience I’m gaining greater confidence in God and His strength, and greater confidence in myself. I can do hard things. I can walk away knowing my child is in God’s good hands, and that everything will be okay.
As I step back and release some control, I realize I’m a different person than I used to be. I used to have to do it all myself because I didn’t trust anyone else. But I’ve got support from the ruler of the Universe who can do it all better than I can. And all this time I thought I had a tight control on things, it was really just God giving me a glimpse of the driver’s seat.
I mentioned in the beginning that I had a couple moments of clarity recently. The second came tonight as I stood among the hundreds of employees that work with my husband. I used to desperately crave their acceptance and the assurance that I was enough. But I realized the tables had shifted, and because I was one of those there longest — now they were looking to me for support. They were the new ones, and I was the one who could help ease their transition. So I did my best to do just that. It is incredibly fulfilling to see someone light up because of something you’ve said. It’s a small high that I want to repeat over and over again.
The third and final lesson I’ll tell you about today literally came on a breeze. As I’ve worked with LDS Blogs I’ve been blessed with a daily spiritual lesson from each of our writers. Their witnesses are beautiful and moving. And their ability to see eternal lessons in everyday experiences has begun to hone my soul more than I realized. Tonight as I sat with friends at the company party, I was feeling very overheated.
We were on a dock over the Atlantic ocean, and I was overwhelmed with the oppressive heat and humidity even after dark. Then a quiet, cool breeze came up from behind me. And I felt the Lord there. He was giving me what I had desperately wanted but hadn’t had the wisdom to ask for. I immediately said a prayer of gratitude, along with a plea for more cool air. And He granted it.
It was at that moment I realized my ability to see God’s hand has improved. And I am so grateful for it! And I felt the lesson the Lord was sharing with me — that He sees our needs when often we don’t have the words to voice what they are. That He has the power to reach out to us in our weakness and provide relief. And that I need to be more reliant on God, and think of Him more often, as He is more powerful than any other resource we will ever have.
I’m so grateful for a loving and attentive Heavenly Father. I’m grateful to get to share my witness, because every time I do it becomes stronger. And I’m grateful that even in the middle of a trying and difficult time that I am not alone. That He will send a cool breeze to remind me He is there. That He will watch over my loved ones in my absence. And that the more time I spend with Him the greater the positive impact on my soul. I know God lives. I know He loves me. I know He sees and understands my needs. I feel Him near. I pray you will too.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.