“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
We all worry about our children. We want them to fit in, to feel wanted, to feel secure, to navigate this cruel world without worry or anxiety. When you have a child who is overly anxious over simple changes, and who often feels like the world and his surroundings are an invader, well, you have a tendency to let worry run wild.
My husband and I worry about all of our children, but Hunter? Well, we worry about him the most. See, Hunter has autism, and parents who have a child with special needs can relate to the different type of worry that often affects our daily lives. We worry about all the “what ifs,” all the obstacles he may face, all the challenges he may have, because we know they will come. Once we overcome one hurdle, we are on to the next. It can make a parent crazy, a little too sensitive, and extremely anxious.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7
I know this. I have even recited this verse to others who have worry in their lives, yet worry has been my best friend ever since we received Hunter’s teacher assignment for the new school year. Each day for the last two weeks we have reminded him of his new teacher’s name, and shown him her picture all in the hopes that a new “routine” will set in before the school year gets started.
“Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything.” Philippians 4:6
Sure, we prayed. We cast our cares on Him, but worry still loomed. We still had questions to which we desperately wanted answers-NOW, of course. Is she going to be in tune with his food aversions? Will she understand this is why he vomits? Then, a phone call. It’s from the school nurse, one who happens to be a friend, and attends our church, another mother who says: “I’ll be watching for Hunter.”
So, the answer to our questions, the reminder from God-“I am with you.”
I hope we get the same bus driver. I hope we can get him on the bus if we don’t! The meltdowns that occurred when we had a substitute bus driver were brutal. We knew how bad they could be. We remembered the times we either left Hunter crying, or had to drive to school because he refused to board! What if we had to start the school year with them? We worried, and hoped, and prayed again. He answered with the release of bus schedules that showed us what we should have had faith in all along-the same bus driver, the same bus number, the same bus stop. Routine-just what we needed.
And God whispered yet again.
“I will not fail you or abandon you.” Joshua 1:6
Autism is certainly nothing compared to the trails and triumphs of Joshua when called to continue the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. Crossing the Jordan River seemed to be an impossible task, and Joshua most certainly had to have been filled with worry (Joshua 3). Even still, he had faith in God, and as the river was dried and the Israelites moved across, God whispered to each one of them-“I am with you.”
If God can get an entire nation of people across a raging river, then he can guide Hunter and his weary and worried parents through a new school year-strong, courageous, fearless, and encouraged, as our youngest, exceptional, quirky, and challenging son boards the same school bus, to meet the same driver, and to spend the school year with his new teacher, with last year’s teacher along for the ride-that’s right, last year’s teacher. How is that for routine and answered prayers?
No matter what new back to school obstacle we all may be facing-a new classroom, a new school, a new bus schedule, or the start of school in general, in the midst of it all-
He is with you, too.