Thursday, October 2, 2008

From God's lips to Jamie's pen

If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,the Lord would not have listened.But truly God has listened;he has attended to the voice of my prayer.—Psalm 66:18-19

I have a friend, Michael John Vines, who wrote a rather obscure book about a young girl prophet, called Theophany. To this day, that book remains one of my favorite novels of all time.

Michael is a theologian. He was a close online buddy of mine about a thousand years ago when my boys were diagnosed with autism. One night, we were chatting online and I tearfully asked him why God didn't answer my prayers for my sons.

Michael reassured me that God had heard--and yes, had even answered--every one of my prayers. "It's just that sometimes God's answer is ,"no." Or, "not now," or, "yes, but not in the way you prayed for it."

Once, Mike even dared suggest thatt God never promised us Heaven on Earth. "We get Heaven in Heaven, Traci."

Ouch. I think I half-hated him for daring to tellme the truth in the moment when I thought I most needed to hear a lie. But I also knew he was right. And something deep inside made me cling to that conversation.

Even though I've mostly lost touch with Mike, his words have literally been my light in the darkness a million times . He gave me a beacon, kept me praying, redirected my eye back to where it belonged--on God and His perfect promise to redeem us. To redeem my sons.

Somewhere along the way, I started listening a bit harder for God's answers. And yes, as Mike promised, those answers always came. And no, I didn't always like them. But I did learn to trust them.

Friendship. We rely on it for so much.

When I first realized that my children would face unique challenges in their lives and personal developments, the prediction that they'd struggle with human relationships was one of my biggest worries.

"Who will care for him when I'm not there?" The more I asked the question, the more the answer fled from me. We live in a world filled with people hardwired to interact with each other, to seek and forge friendships. And my children were being left behind more every day.

Indeed, how could my sons ever navigate the intricate maze of social interactions when they could barely tell me their names?

Nobody had an answer. God had a lot of "no, not nows" for me during that time. He was too busy working on the changes He needed to make inside my heart, helping me to become the mother my boys needed. The road from autism as a disease to autism as a developmental difference was a bumpy one.

Nobody I knew had ever been where we were as a family. So I prayed, talked to God, even cursed Him sometimes (he knew I didn't mean it). "Please God, bring the kinds of people into their lives who will get them, who will go that extra mile to unearth the amazing personalities lurking beneath my sons' tics and jerks and stone-faced facades."

Even allowing them to board a schoolbus required a leap of faith. Letting go and letting God stinks sometimes. :) I wanted the sky to open up and reassure me that my sons were headed to good places filled by people who would universally accept and respect them and their differences.

But it's a hard world. Children are seldom taught how to cope with other children who experience developmental challenges. Confidentiality laws prevent teachers from educating and equipping typically developing students on the difficulties suffered by their struggling classmates.

With no how-to-befriend-a -kid-with-autism guide to steer them, children will do what they're hardwired to do--avoid that which they do not understand. I can't blame them for that.

But I can pray, do pray. For them. My sons, their peers. And yeah, myself. :)

And today, God's hourglass on "no, not now" ran dry. My son Jamie brought the answer to many of my prayers and worries for him home, in the form of a poem. That he has even grasped the concept of creating poetry is, in itself a miracle. He has a language disorder.

But *what* he wrote is doubly miraculous.

So if you ever wanted to know what God's word sounds like, translated through the mind of a twelve year old boy with autism, then here it is, the answer to my prayers in the minimalist prose of one of God's perfect angels:


by Jamie Poff

Friends are hard
To find
When You don’t know how
To say hello

My friends
Don’t care
If my words won’t come
They don’t call me names
Or say I’m dumb.

My friend
just smiles
And waits
And share his snacks.
My friend Jacob
He always
has my back.

So I try real hard
To be a friend.
To say hello Jacob
When the words get stuck
And just won’t flow.


Tambra said...

What beautiful words Jamie penned.
And so very true.

God has wonderful things in store for your children Traci. They remind us with each triumph that miracles do exist.

Hugs to you and Jamie!

Donna Cooper said...

WOW...THAT left an indelible mark in my heart.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Traci, this poem should be published!!! Jamie, WOOT!!! You ROCK!!! This is quite the mother/son inspirational post. It brought tears to my eyes and I wish I could give you both a hug.

Blessings! JJ

Deidre Knight said...

An absolutely beautiful post, Traci, and a gorgeous poem. I'm going to share this post with a number of friends; right now so many people are struggling with trusting God in these hard times... well, not just now, of course because your friend was right. We don't get heaven on Earth, we get it in heaven. And that's one of the biggest OUCHES of our faith and life in the hear/now. You are so gifted as a writer, and have many, many important things to share with people. Big hugs

365 Blessings said...

Tambra, Donna, Nancy and Deidre, thank you so much for sharing Jamie's little triumph with me today. Someday, when we're all on the other side, we'll have to throw a hugee sisters in Christ tea party. :) Jamie, being my budding chef, can make the teacakes and watercress sandwiches. :)

MariaGeraci said...

Your faith is inspirational. Thank you for reminding me of what truly matters- friendship and love.

Liane Gentry Skye said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
365 Blessings said...

Thank you, Maria, for stopping by to share Jamie's story.

Toni Leverett said...

Oh my goodness, Traci!! Donna sent me your blog a few weeks ago, but I was busy, so I put it in my favorites - but (you know me!) I forgot about it until today! And I was looking for something in my faves and saw it there & wondered what it was...and I came here & remembered instantly. This story of Jamie is so beautiful!! His poem brought me to tears - methinks we have another budding writer in our midst!
Traci, you have no idea how overjoyed I am at your renewed relationship with the Lord. You have held a special place in my heart since I first met you, and my heart is glad that we share a faith in the Savior.
I love you, girlfriend! I'm so glad you're blogging! :)