It’s 6:15, and we were rushing out the door to catch the bus, running late, as usual. Only then did I remember that it’s school picture day, and we were unquestionably unprepared for the blessed event. For a few righteous seconds I believed that I would be able to pull off the impossible – get the boy changed into something presentable, fill out the form, write the check, and get him on the bus within the next four minutes.
As you may have guessed, those seconds of wishful thinking vanished, and reality set in in a flash. Quickly following, were the choruses of “I’m sorry, Moms” that had begun to give me nightmares, and bringing up the rear were the tears that would inevitably sting my eyes and wet my cheeks.
Ah! Why does all of this have to be so hard? Middle school is killing us!! Truth is, it isn’t just middle school – it’s all of it. It’s navigating middle school as an autistic boy with a bipolar mom, and navigating middle school as a bipolar mom with an autistic son. It’s getting up at 5:30 and trying to get out the door for the 6:20 bus pick-up, and then getting in bed early enough to get plenty of sleep for that next 5:30 wake-up call.
It’s all just a little too much, and we feel a little bit like we are drowning. And if we were living this life on our own, with no help, we probably would be drowning, if not already lying listless on the ground. But we aren’t. We have a helper. More than a helper, actually. We have the creator of the universe watching over us, ensuring us every step of the way that things will be ok.
What in the world?
In the last week, God has been speaking with me so plainly that He may as well be sitting across the table from me, coffee cup in hand, because He is clearly on the opposite end of my conversations. As many times as I have seen this happen, I never cease to be amazed when it does. I am simply blown away at the thought that I am important enough for God – THE God – to talk to me, to reassure me, to comfort me, when I really need it. Well, I must really need it lately, because boy has He been chatty.
I talk to God all the time. And He talks back, but it’s usually in subtle ways that I can easily miss if I’m not paying attention. Not this time. Not with these things. Wait ‘til you hear what He’s been saying to me – and how He’s been saying it.
First, there was the day that I was just beside myself, and refusing to accept my circumstances. I sat in my car, and furiously typed out a text message to my therapist about this very thing. I was not having it that day. I was stomping my foot in my 42-year-old temper tantrum. Honestly, I felt like it was very mature of me to be able to recognize, and admit, that I still had days when I struggled to accept the way things are. Maybe. I wonder what God was thinking when He sent me these words only a few short minutes later:
“Accept each day just as it comes to you. Do not waste your time and energy wishing for a different set of circumstances. Instead, trust Me enough to yield to My design and purposes.” (Dear Jesus, by Sarah Young)
Then, There was the Sunday that we sang It Is Well during service, and it left me wondering if it really is well with my soul. Is it? I mean, is it, really? I want it to be. I know it will be eventually, but is it now? Because sometimes I don’t feel like it is well with my soul. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes I don’t think I can take the pain anymore. Sometimes I don’t want to. Sometimes I am angry, or I question. Sometimes, I believe, yet I don’t. I trust, yet I don’t. So I ask, is it well? How do I know? Lord, how do I know? I want to know – how will I know for sure if it is well with my soul?
I wrestled with this for a few days, and then I get a text from a friend that contains a link to a song. What’s the song, you ask? It Is Well, of course. This one is the version sung by Kristene DiMarco and Bethel Music, and it has some different lyrics. I listened to it on repeat for several days as I let its message pour over me.
And through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
And through it all, through it all
It is well
And there is my answer. My eyes are fixed on Him, through it all. So, it is well. It IS well. He heard me anguishing over this and sent me the answer. I don’t need to wrestle with this any longer. What a relief! Thank you, Lord!
During the last few years you may have heard me say that I just feel unsettled. Unsettled. That’s the word I have chosen to use many, many times. Not sure why other than it just seems to fit the way I feel at times. Mixed with this unsettled feeling, is this fear of what my future will hold. Will I always struggle with bipolar symptoms like I do? Will it always be this hard? Will I ever be able to lead a ‘normal’ life?
In the midst of a major episode that had already lasted for weeks, I found myself in this turmoil of unsettled questioning again, and do you know what happened? Yep. God began talking to me again. This time, He gave me 1 Peter 5:10 by way of the Amplified version, which reads:
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.”
And settle you. I’ve never even heard of the amplified version.
And so, on picture day, or any other hectic day, I hope I can remember that it is well with my soul, that God is going to settle the unsettled, and that it’s ok for me to accept things just as they are because He can handle it.