I am driving with Rhema in the back, thinking about the week.
The husband’s been away. There’s a bone-weariness, there’s too much to do. Life is full and good.
Yesterday I shared some of our story with my Bible study group. We’re studying Job, telling what we know of suffering, learning how to hold on to Jesus in the midst of many trials. I was none too pleased that I got choked up as I talked about Rhema, the pain of her diagnosis and ongoing challenges. But the women of Faith, many of their own stories untold, received me as their sister, laughed and cried with me, encouraged my heart. So good.
Then there was the presentation with two autism mama friends to a college class called Developmental Disabilities. These sweet students listened to every word, asked great questions and ohhed ahhed at baby pictures of our children. And even though I’ve found joy and contentment right where we are, I could not help but wonder why again, why mine is the child who sits on the nonverbal autistic, “low-functioning” end of the spectrum.
Then there was the playground. A girl a little older than Rhema came over, said hi, asked to play. Rhema was already upset about something, hiding her face behind her arms.
“Is she shy?” the girl asked.
“Does she talk?”
I smiled. “Not much.”
“Does she know sign language?”
“Aw, that’s sad.”
“No. She speaks in many ways.”
All this a bit much for one day, and it weighs heavy as we pull up to Hope’s school and jump out of the car. The joy and the ache. The goodness of the Father, His faithfulness then, His faithfulness now. How it’s happy. How it still hurts. How it heals, too.
And then I see something so marvelous across the street I don’t even recognize it at first. Even Rhema, holding my hand, stops and looks up. Ohhhhhh. Arms pumping, spinning, swirling under the blue sky, dancing in the wind.
It’s our Hope girl. Unquenchable spirit, hair in her face, she exults as God exhales.
And I imagine I am her lifting all these cares and jumbled emotions, this bittersweet, up to the heavens with every beat of my arms. My family, the future, silent pains, laughter in the wind, what I can’t undo. Everything becomes an offering. It’s surrender. It’s worship. It’s freedom.
“Look at Hope!”
He breathes life, and we fill our lungs.
Hand in hand, we run.