It is especially encouraging to hear from those of you who know Samuel personally...who feel that the well-meaning person who suggested that Samuel is autistic is not only wrong, but clearly untrained to make such a determination. I felt like Samuel was doing well (although a bit delayed - he seems like a healthy, normal, baby boy); however, I feared that my very STRONG desire for him to have no further problems may have been blinding me to any issues. I'm so glad to hear that many of you agree whole-heartily that he is perfect. I was also glad to hear from his occupational and speech therapist who were genuinely appalled that anyone would tell me otherwise.
I've always been prone to stressing. It has made me a better student, a better teacher, and even a better person....always pushing myself further. It's amazing how much you can accomplish when occassionally stressed! Stress is one thing - worry is another.
It's no surprise that I've struggled with worry over the last 15 months....more so than any other time in my life. Naturally, I worried a lot when Samuel was in the NICU but we operated on the principle of Matthew 6:34: "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." We had no choice but to worry only about the day in front of us, because to do otherwise would be unbearable. We knew we had to trust God with every moment.
Then we came home. It was hard to switch off the 'survival mode' we that we had lived in for so long. I no longer needed to worry about his immediate health; but instead, his long term health hung like a dark cloud over my head. The worry actually seemed to increase. There were days that I worried so much about Samuel's future that I was sick to my stomach. Knowing the statistics was overwhelming.
It was many months before I recognized what was happening and I asked myself, "Why am I worrying like this?!? I have never been so plagued by the 'what ifs' before."
It's only been recently that I've discovered the root of the problem. I didn't trust God anymore. I was still a bit miffed at Him. I thought, "I can't trust Him...look what He did. He took the one big thing I asked of Him and ruined it. I feel betrayed. I feel hurt. I can't bring my worries about Samuel to Him. If God hadn't allowed this to happen, I wouldn't be worried about Samuel this much in the first place! Why would I trust Him with anything else?"
Of course, I wasn't saying this aloud to myself. If I had, I might have realized how incredibly ridiculous I was being. God didn't do this to spite me. I could have never been able to have a child at all. He still loves me....even if I've acted like a petulant child. He wants more than anything to hear from me and for me to share my worries with Him. After all, He is in control whether or not I ask Him to be. Or whether or not I attempt to take care of things myself (and spectacularly fail.) I should know this by now!!!!!
I do know that these worries are crippling - and I can't handle them anymore. I can't worry about autism...or cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, growth issues, intestinal strictures, developmental delays, or whatever issue Samuel may or may not face because of his early birth. I CAN give them up to the One who is happy to take them from me. The One who knew Samuel's future before I had the chance to worry about it.
Sometimes it's nice to read those well-used verses...the ones that remind us that God wants to hear and help. That He has a plan. Matthew 11:28 says, "Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." And our favorite, Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you [Samuel Pope!!!] declares the Lord! Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
God, I am ready to trust again. I need some rest!