When Life is Scary, God is Good!

Thanks to all of Zoey’s wonderful friends and family for praying for a smoother day at Vacation Bible School today! God most definitely answered, “Yes!” Zoey had only one meltdown during the missions portion of the program (more on that later). She had a few lay down on the floor episodes where she fussed a bit, but she recovered well, AND she had NO post VBS meltdown. She was completely quiet on the way home, and was able to participate in speech therapy immediately upon arriving at our house. Also, she scored a 75% accuracy using a communication board with her speech therapist! Praise God for such a great day.

Things are still going good right now . As I right this, she is upstairs sharing a big, comfy desk chair with her big sister, Mya, while watching her play video games. I know that seems a bit boring, but she enjoys it, and it will keep her in one place long enough for me to share our take on VBS day two’s theme, “When Life is Scary, God is Good!”

When your child has Autism, you know what they are scared of just like when parenting a typical kid, but sometimes, without warning, their fear catches you off guard. Today’s only meltdown was because of one of those unexpected fears. Our mission today was to decorate a label, place it on a water bottle, and donate it to the local fire department. The bottles of water will be handed out when fireman have to come to the rescue. Zoey loved making the water bottle with my assistance, and hers was the first one in the donation box. What can I say? She likes to get a task accomplished quickly, or maybe just get it over with so she can move on to the next thing! Ha!

We left the room and were the first ones to sit behind the designated line in the carpet and wait for the fire marshal and fireman to speak with us about what they do. While we waited, I sang the Signing Time song “In My Neighborhood”. Here are some of the lyrics:

The people in my neighborhood 
Are one big family I watch out for them
And they look out for me
Be careful, be safe 
But just in case 
They help me if I’m hurt
They help me if I’m hur

I thought for sure that this song would prepare Zoey for what lay ahead and calm her fears. She loves Signing Time songs. It’s actual quite painful to sing since have cervical fusion last November. Singing makes my throat swell and it feels like someone is tightening a scarf around my neck. I save songs for times when I think Zoey really needs extra peace and this was one of those times.

She actually was quite calm while the fire marshal explained, “We never want you to be scared of a fireman, and run and hide from him. He or she will be wearing this suit, and even though it is scary, you should always go right up to them if you are in a fire. And remember, when Life is Scary, God is Good.” How true that is especially in a fire. God is so good to give firefighters the creative thinking ability to construct a suit that allows them to save people from fire, while keeping themselves save from the harm of smoke and flames!

I was contemplating this thought when one of the crew leaders volunteered to dress in the fireman’s outfit. As he slipped into the pants attached to the boots, Zoey started to fuss. Then the jacket brought on a shriek. I started to whisper the “In My Neighborhood” song in her ear again, but as soon as the helmet and mask were placed on the crew leader’s head, she screamed in terror and turned away from the presentation while hugging me desperately. All the other kids noticed Zoey reaction. Later, in games, several of the kindergarten kids came up to Zoey to check on her. I told them how this was Zoey’s first time to see a fire fighter. A few of those friends commented about how they were scared the first time they saw a fireman, but this was their second, third, or fourth time to see a fire fighter up close. I loved their compassion and attempt to ease Zoey’s fears. God is good for prompting them to interact with her.

I had my own scare today. I was packing up Zoey’s bag during snack time and I allowed her a little freedom to roam the room. I was keeping an eye on her as always. She was walking back towards our picnic blanket when she turned and took off as fast as she could on her tip toes towards the kitchen. I had no idea if the workers in there would be ready for the tornado coming their way. I envisioned piles of cups of icecream melting on the floor. I jumped up and made a mad dash after her….and…slipped on the blanket! I crashed to floor landing on my right hip, smacked my face on the ground, and jarred my recently fused neck. I thought, “Oh no!!! I damaged my neck, broke my hip, and probably bruised my face!”

I didn’t have time to lay there and continue to contemplate the pains shooting through my body, but got up to find Zoey. Our favorite Sunday school teacher had already caught my wind storm trapped in a cute, fleshy vessel on the move. I explained my fall, but honestly, I don’t think I was hurt too badly. I just had some bruises on my legs, and not even a bruise on my face! Bummer! That would have been a good picture for this blog! Ha! Anyway, God is Good because this could easily have ended with me being bed ridden for months.

That leads me to my biggest fear. I fear that someday I may not be able bodied enough to care for Zoey, or that I will die and go to heaven while she still very much needs me. Life is scary when you have a child who will always need you, and who will never completely grow up. One of our crew members today asked, “When will Zoey grow up?” I replied, “Someday,” because six years old is a bit young to contemplate the life long effects of genetic syndromes and Autism.

In reality, though, Zoey won’t grow up. Consequently, I do everything in my power to maintain my health and avoid harm. I allow plenty of room between my car and cars in front of me while driving. I check my blind spot, rear view mirror, and side view mirrors with an almost an obsessive compulsive like manner to defensively drive and avoid accidents. I exercise daily, but take care not to do any type of exercise that could cause an injury. I eat healthy to avoid chronic disease because I need to make sure, if I have any say in it, that I live a long, healthy life, and that I am able to care for my daughter.

However, no matter what I actively do to alleviate this fear of failing Zoey, I have remained scared. Today, at VBS, I realized that I need to pray for God to take this fear from me. He knows the future, and so far in my life, His loving kindness has never failed me. So many friends and family prayed for Zoey to have a better day today, and God took care of that. He is so very good! Join with me and pray for Zoey to always be cared for by those who love her even when I am no longer able to be her primary caregiver. Help me to stop being so scared of her future. Help me to remember, “When Life is Scary, God is Good!”

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