Things were going rather well leading up to the onset of puberty. Josh was doing extremely well and remained stable off of all drugs for almost a year thanks to the use of essential oils and supplements and dietary changes. He was so stable that we decided to take our whole family on a missions trip in April of last year. He did exceptionally well the whole time we were there given all of the sensory overload; the constant change of routine and daily plans; the very long days; and all of the new sights, smells, and language. In fact, he LOVED it there! So much so, that we came home, and he completely fell apart because he wanted to live there instead! In less than a month, he ended up in the hospital. It was rough after that, and two months later, he was back in the hospital. His team of doctors and therapists started pushing for residential treatment. We fought that idea as valiantly as we could, but as our ER trips became more and more frequent and the struggle to find open hospital beds became the new reality, we were forced into having to make the hardest decision of our lives and put him in residential treatment in the Fall.
We love our son dearly. It kills us to be separated, yet after the severity of last year, we are still in many ways still today trying to regroup, catch our breath, and pick up the pieces of our lives. We are working through emotional and psychological damage dealing with his behaviors caused in all of us, particularly David who spent countless hours last year locked in our bedroom (his safe room) during the multiple violent meltdowns of his brother.
The most difficult reality for me was having to come to terms with the fact that I have no control of the outcome of his life. He was making countless wrong choices despite all of the therapies, Bible instruction, and parenting we have given him. I was at a loss for changing his course in life because he didn't want to listen to me. It was his way or the highway. No consequences could break through his inner resolve.
It was at that frightening intersection that God had to show me that I've never really had control. Josh has belonged to God before I even knew he was growing in my womb. I can do all that God has called me to do in Josh's life, but at the end of the day, God's the one calling the shots and orchestrating the path of Josh's life. I can't set him up to succeed or prevent him from failure. I can't protect him from sorrow and difficulty or pave the way for blessings. Only God can work all things in Josh's life for his good and God's glory. I had to come to terms with truly letting go and letting God have my son. It's almost a daily battle to not turn back and try to regain control, but I am learning to trust God more. I have no idea what God has in store for my son, but I can continue to pray for him asking God to bring him back to the faith we raised him on, asking Him to deliver Josh from the sinful desires of his heart, and plead for victory in Christ in his life.
Throughout our years of Autism, I have often wondered how unbelievers can walk this journey without knowing God. I would be an absolute mess and may not be alive today if I didn't have a relationship with God. After this year of learning to trust God to have my son, I don't see how it's even possible to journey this path without God. Because of God, I have hope. Josh's future is in His hands, and that's enough. Nothing will happen outside of God's sovereign plan. That's enough.