Oceans Deep

Finding & Following Jesus in the Deep End of Life

Back to Basics

*To my e-mail subscribers, my apologies for the blank e-mail earlier! Operator error :-).

Hello there, dear readers—I can’t believe it’s been such a long time since I last wrote. It would seem that life has simply gotten the better of me lately.

Between traveling, attempting to sell our current home, building our new home, and preparing for the big move (and the gazillions of details involved!), I’ve fallen behind in most every other area.

All these details are overwhelming, yes, but in truth, we’ve been dealing with the emotional overwhelm of something much bigger, much greater—much more difficult to write, much less speak about … after several months of testing and evaluation, last month we received an official diagnosis for our sweet son: autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Those words, those heavy words, catch in my throat and my fingers as I type. It feels as though I’m writing about someone else’s life … surely not mine. Surely not my son!

I feel as though I’ve been stumbling around in a bad dream for the past month, trying desperately to shake myself awake and out of this reality—trying to shake off the painful weight of those three words … but to no avail.

The truth is, I’m grieving. Grieving the heaviness that those words bring. Grieving the reality that will not be ours, and the future that will be. I am a crier by nature, but these past several weeks? Well, I believe my own tears could have ended the years-long drought we’ve been experiencing here in California.

In the middle of this emotional sandstorm, I’ve found my faith taking a hit. The enemy has come at me with every possible lie and doubt in his sinister playbook.

Fighting the good fight of faith can be utterly exhausting.

I love the flowery, “Holy Spirit high” faith; the bible study lessons that give me warm fuzzies; the sweet quotes that make for a lovely set of notecards.

But this rubber-meets-road faith is a lot harder. I liken it to a final exam after a taxing graduate school class …

Do you really believe I’m good to You?

Do you really believe I see you and your son and have a good plan?

Will you praise Me in the middle of all the uncertainty & pain?

These are such important lessons, so absolutely key to the life of faith—so much so that our Father isn’t going to let us off easy. He wants us to know that we know that we know He is good.

He wants us to know and absorb and live and breathe the words of His promises, such as that found in Isaiah 43:2-4—

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior … you are precious and honored in my sight, and … I love you.

We recently traveled back to Georgia to find a new home, and that trip became such a living example of these ancient words. In detail after detail, God provided for us in remarkable ways—a beautiful home, a wonderful community, a great school for Isaiah, the resources we will need to help him, and a million other details.

That trip, which came right on the heels of the diagnosis, was a love letter to our family—it was our Father’s way of saying I’m still here. I’m still good. I still have you in the palm of My HandYou may be passing through the waters and the rivers and the fire, but I’m there every step of the way, blessing and loving you in it all.

Dear reader, the goodness of God is not manifest in the goodness of our circumstances. No, the goodness of God is manifest in the unshakeable, unbreakable, undeniable presence of a good, good God in the midst of our circumstances—be they good or bad.

God continues to hammer out the truth of that lesson in my heart—my heart that is still susceptible to the lie that God must not be good, because my circumstances are not good.

Can you relate today? Are you experiencing pain that’s causing you to question God, His goodness, and basically everything in the universe?? If so, I’m sorry. I understand that pain—and may I gently invite you to join me in getting “back to basics”?

In this season, that’s what God is asking of me. So I am focusing on going back to the basics of living out faith by:

  1. Mediating on the truth of God’s Word and His promises so as to renew my mind daily (Romans 12:2)
  2. Reading encouraging books and devotionals so as to think on uplifting things (Philippians 4:8)
  3. Giving thanks in a purposeful, measured way by writing down the gifts in each day, no matter how small (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

When our faith is shaken, we must hang onto what we know. It is a time for holding steadfast and surrendering our “control”—not a time to try and answer every question and fear we have (guilty!). It is a time to exercise quiet, childlike faith—not a time to try and discern the mind and will of God (guilty again!).

Will you join me? Let’s journey to the very center of God’s heart and there find the rest, peace, and joy we so desperately need … one day at a time … one whispered prayer after another … one sacrifice of praise upon another, until we see beauty fashioned from the piles of ashes and tears.

Blessings,

 

 

 

 

A friend put me onto this song, and it’s amazing!! I hope it ministers to you as it does to me.

13 Comments

  1. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4
    That was beautifully said!!

  2. I agree with Rhonda: you have beautifully put into words feelings that others need to hear….I have a grandson with Asperger’s and he will be giving his girlfriend (who also has autism) an engagement ring next week…there is always hope and joy!

    • Thank you so much, Lillian, I appreciate your encouraging words. How wonderful for your grandson!! I love hearing how God is working in other’s lives, as it gives me hope for my own sweet boy. Blessings to you!

  3. What a great story of sharing your faith walk in the midst of the storm. We do serve a good God and he knows the plans He has for us and our children. I understand the fears and doubts but our God is there and will never leave your side!

  4. Mere- Praying for you and your son!
    God is going to use this for an even greater testimony! Keep fighting the good fight!

  5. Jody Warshawsky

    April 13, 2017 at 7:41 PM

    Oh Meredith, you are incredible for sharing your vulnerability. The autism journey is so tough and I totally feel your pain and your hope. For me, I feel like I know God will use autism in Remy and Tysons life for a reason. I have already seen the blessings but I constantly find myself scared that I am not enough to give them everything they need to soar. We as parents do everything we can to give our children what they need to one day navigate life on their own but with autism, all the regular rules go out the window.
    Hugs to you and thank you for sharing your journey.

    • Thank you so much, Jody–you are such an amazing mama to your 4 blessings, and I have so much respect and admiration for you!! Yes, one of the hardest things for me so far is the self-doubt, the wondering why God would entrust such a task to me, when I feel inadequate and incapable of being the advocate and support he needs! And yet, I know God is using that too, to show me that HE is the one who will equip me and equip you to care for our kiddos and help them come into everything God has for them. I’m so thankful to know you, and I appreciate all the encouragement and kind words you’ve graciously given along the way. Hugs to you too, beautiful mama!

  6. Stephanie French

    May 9, 2017 at 12:31 PM

    Meredith, we’ve never met but I started reading your blogs several years ago when I discovered your old blog through a friend of a friend. I thoroughly enjoy the encouraging and uplifting thoughts you share as you pour out your heart and soul. Life is a journey filled with unexpected and challenging experiences, which either wear us down or increase our strength and build our faith. I live in the Atlanta area, and 3 of my boys have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. I understand and completely identify with your grief. I will never forget the grief and sadness which filled my heart when my 25 month old was diagnosed with severe autism nearly 7 1/2 years ago. With his hard work and determination along with the help of a biomedical MAPS doctor, numerous therapies as well as special education, he is now on the moderate end of the spectrum. Please feel free to reach out to me if you need help with locating Autism groups, services, etc. here in GA. God has provided me with many opportunities to share our experience and knowledge to help other families on the same journey, and it is a passion which brings much joy and fulfillment.

    • Stephanie, I can’t thank you enough for your kind comment and encouragement! I’m so happy to hear you’ve enjoyed reading, and I would love to connect with you! I’m sure you remember well the overwhelming feeling of getting that diagnosis and thinking “now what??” I so appreciate you reaching out and sharing your journey. It means a lot! Blessings to you!

      • Stephanie French

        May 11, 2017 at 8:24 PM

        My pleasure, you are very welcome. Blessings to you as well! I will connect with you on Facebook. Once you get settled in Athens, we will have to meet in person. I have another autism Mom friend who lives in Athens with her husband and 4 boys. She is a great resource and inspiration.

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