Friday, June 21, 2013

Things Unsaid

It's always been clear that my blog is for writing about the kids. Life with three autistic kids. Which basically means, I'm an autism mom blogger. Not a good one, or a popular one, but that's what I am. I stick with that.

My husband blogs about something far different. He blogs about God, about faith. Does interviews with Christian authors and speakers. Talks theology that sometimes goes way over my head. He is a brilliant writer. He always has been. I recently came across our little love notes and letters from the time that we dated. He was eloquent and deep, expressing himself in ways that made me absolutely swoon. In comparison, my notes were all shallow and vapid, full of clumsy wording and "I love you!" with hearts.

So I left the writing about God to him. I talk autism, and I generally do it with a healthy dose of sarcasm and self deprecation. And when I have a twinge of guilt over not actually talking about what is supposedly a huge part of my life, I try to snuff it out. Because it makes me can I be writing about my life and not include my faith? What does that say about me? What does that say about what I believe?

Truth is, I've done a lot of wrestling. Not in a Jacob versus God kind of way, but in a "Autism has taken over my life and what does that mean about what I believe?" way. I mean, just try having three kids on the spectrum and NOT have some questions. I just chose not to talk about it much because of my aforementioned complete inadequacy to eloquently speak of such matters. Well, guess I'm going to attempt it anyway.

Where to start? I've been feeling, to use the technical term, pretty "meh" about my faith. There was a time when I was angry with God...about 2 autism diagnoses ago. I got past that, but I wasn't left with much but ambivalence and apathy about God and the church. I'd come back, again and again, to the same questions. Why did God "allow" Diva Girl to lose so much? Why do my kids have to struggle so much? Why couldn't I have at least one typical kid? Why is there pain and suffering, why are so many of us Christians so selfish (me included), why couldn't He just reveal some grand plan for my life, why does "doing church" leave me feeling so incomplete, why was I suffering from anxiety and panic attacks?? Why, why, why.

I have some good Sunday school answers to all of those. Really good, sound, theological answers on some of them. But the "answers" lent me no comfort. What I knew in my head wasn't matching up what I felt in my heart. I grew tired. Tired of all of the "I'm praying for you" and "God bless you." Honestly, I was tired of being in my own head and kept feeling as though my faith should be so much more, but I didn't know what that meant or how to achieve it. Over and over I heard people talking about vision and what they felt God wanted them to do in life, and I felt like I was just trying to survive life. I kept going with what I thought of as the rules of church, in hopes that somehow my faith would reignite if I was just good enough and tried enough. It didn't.

So, that's where I've been, for maybe a couple of years now. A stalemate. Full of guilt for not caring more, or doing more, but having no motivation to do anything in regard to my faith.

Then, I had a conversation with my Dad. He is an amazing man, the kind of guy that would be referred to as a "pillar of faith." He was telling me about his passion in volunteering for Gospel for Asia and how he wanted to do more, about the things he was doing for his church and various ministries beyond. And I guiltily expressed that I just didn't feel like I was doing anything, that I can't even think about anything beyond the walls of my house. He simply replied "That is your ministry, raising those kids." My first thought was- Oh great, then I'm horribly failing in more ways than I thought. But I let it marinade in my brain for a bit. It just kept popping back into the forefront of my mind.

It isn't a new idea to me. But for some reason, it's what I needed to hear right now I suppose. Just one little piece of a puzzle, coming together at the right time. It planted a little seed of thought, and I was thinking about what God might want for me and from me.

And then, this week, I saw something that made me equal parts excited and terrified. I follow the fabulous Jen Hatmaker on Facebook and she posted about a new movement called IF. As I read Jen's blog post, for the first time in a long time, I felt the stirrings of passion for my faith. I felt excited. And it scared me to death. Because IF boils down to one question: IF God is real....THEN what?

I feel drawn to this. It's like someone took all the internal struggles I've faced in the past few years and wrapped it all up into one question. I read it and thought Ah, these are my people! They get me!

It seems as though my days of Sunday School answers on the outside and grappling with questions on the inside is over. The comfort of apathy is gone. No more putting on appearances or hiding behind my kids as an excuse to do nothing and say nothing. This is me, putting it all out there, the things left unsaid for years. I have questions and doubts, yes. I also have a passion and a hope for something bigger. A church without walls, a love without limitations.

I have no pretty red bow with which to tie up all these jumbled thoughts. My faith isn't a pretty red bow kind of faith. It's a messy, frazzled, tri-colored thread that I tend to tie in knots. But it's time that it's something I share, in a real way. Yes, I will continue to just blog about my life as with three kids, on the autism spectrum. But my life now includes this journey of faith. Welcome to the beginning of that process. Hope you stick around, have a cup of tea, and join the conversation. I'm ready to have it now, even without all the answers.

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