Death by a Thousand Cuts
“Please Lord, no,” I prayed. And here we are again. The tears, the anger, and every heavy emotion follow every time, ”yet You are always there with me and him. Every time.”
This was a small family trip to join our family in northern Arizona for camping leading up to an outdoor wedding. My husband, me, our teenage girl (just 2 weeks shy of 13 and official teenager-hood), and our very busy, larger-than-life 9-year-old autistic son embarked on this family adventure.
We opted to rent a small cabin about an hour away from where most of our family would be camping. Not entirely to avoid good old-fashioned camping, but for a more “all too familiar” reason. If our son had a meltdown (in which he’s not able to regulate his emotions, filled with anxiety and overstimulation) the entire campsite would then be brought into a situation that is new for them and commonplace for us. The day went well because he loves the outdoors, but we are the constant referee of his curiosity and unawareness of personal space and disregard for boundaries. I was praying his good day would last all the way through the wedding ceremony. Weddings, birthdays, and every kind of gathering have always been difficult for him to process. Something awkward usually happens. As all the guests were walking towards the ceremony where the couple would say their vows he began squirming, then sporadically yelling out, all building to a crescendo of crying. In the past I would get embarrassed, but now my heart just breaks for him. I feel anger rising in me, questioning why I should continue to believe in a breakthrough appearing more unattainable. It’s not just the meltdowns that have me running into the arms of God (a very good place to be), it’s the little things. It's watching him struggle to have a conversation with kids his age; it’s his not knowing how to read; it’s his not wanting to be touched or looked at; it’s the aggressiveness he has during a meltdown; it’s his inability to tell me what’s wrong or what he’s feeling; it’s my own feeling of not doing enough.
Again, it’s not always the big moments of struggle that set us onto a path of no hope, but all the small moments stacked one on top of another. Death by a thousand cuts. I saw my mother fall into this place of no hope, collapsed from exhaustion on her journey with my special needs sister. I don't judge her and especially not now- because I am on this journey myself. This life is not for the faint of heart.
What He has shown me thus far: The Gems
“Thank you Holy Spirit that I have You. I would not know what to do without You, without the picture You’ve shown to me.”
The enemy wants to show us his big picture of “no hope”. He wants us to see that “this” situation, all of these accumulated daily struggles, is an indication of how it will always be. He knows this will distract us from what he desperately does not want us to see. God’s treasure. God’s masterpiece. He (Holy Spirit) is the reason I have not felt as if the journey with my son is just surviving or striving to mold him into what I think he should be-all limited to my own understanding
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all our ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
He has shown me so much truth, so much wisdom. I want to share these gems (the substance of the treasure)with you.
First, celebrate each victory, no matter how small and insignificant it appears (although, these small things are monumental to parents of special needs kiddos.) Celebration shamelessly flaunts our trust in the Lord right in front of the enemy. It also reprograms us-our thoughts, and our perspectives. As we give glory to God our faith grows as well. And as our faith grows, it activates the purpose of God through this unique, special child-a gift to the superficial world.
Along with the celebration of victories, the Holy Spirit has led me to be thankful for each moment.
“Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (TPT)
Am I thankful for every moment? Umm… no. But, thankfully (no pun intended) the Holy Spirit highlights these moments and opens my eyes to see what He sees-His beautiful child.
This also frustrates the enemy because he equates hard moments or average moments with defeat and stagnation. However, we know that our God is victorious and faithful. When we choose to thank Him, we choose to trust Him-even in the midst of discouragement.
Then, after you celebrate, and after you thank the Lord, do it again and do it OUT LOUD. The most effective celebration and acts of thankfulness are spoken out loud- where your child sees and hears it. But, you need to hear it too. We often forget how our words are powerful and speak life into our circumstances.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” -Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)
When we celebrate, we draw our child’s attention to what God thinks is special and worth recognizing, not what the world thinks is special and worth recognizing. When we thank Him out loud and in front of our children we give them hope that they are not
defeated by their struggles-that God can use every moment to reflect and reveal His glory.
“So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together for good, for we his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.” -Romans 8:28 (TPT)
The treasure, the masterpiece
My son may not grasp that he is a treasure, displaying a full spectrum of the expression of God, but The Lord will show me -so that I can show him. He is a masterpiece, a beautiful collection of the best of God -shining in a world of meaningless expectations, limited thinking, untapped brilliance, shortsighted goals, and disconnection from the richness of our senses (to which he has a full supply).
Jesus, God in the flesh, demonstrated how we should pray. When He prayed “Give us today our daily bread”- Matthew 6:11 (NIV),He knew we would require strength from on High on a daily basis. The bread referenced in this scripture equals the same meaning in John 6:51 (NIV), “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” We should ask for this bread, Jesus, every day. My son is a daily reminder to me of how much I need this bread. And when I ask, the Lord fills me, every time, with a fresh dose of supernatural strength; heavenly perspective; lasting peace; wisdom that would take years of seeking to gain. My go-to scripture, Philippians 4:4-7(NIV), encompasses all the (aforementioned) gems I collected from the Lord. It encourages me to not be anxious, but to rejoice and be full of thankfulness.. then God will send his peace that passes all understanding. This is MasterPeace, ready to care for His Masterpiece (my son).
“Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” -Phillipians 4:4-7 (NIV)
Gina Vigil from Texas along with her husband and 2 children moved to Arizona because she and her husband felt a strong calling from the Lord to pursue their dreams not only in their respective fields, but in the many gifts that God has given them. One of these dreams was to be a published author of Holy-Spirit inspired content. She is especailly focused on completing the writing of a book that will provide an inspirational resource to women who have had struggles in the area of pregnancy.
Other writing focuses of hers are geared towards moms of special needs kids. This passion comes from her own experience with the challenges and victories in those areas. She has passed on her love of writing, drawing, and creative expression to her kids. She is recognizing how the Lord is empowering them through their own creativity to inspire their generation.
God has shaped and prepared her in this journey to use her creative gifts in several ways. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus on marketing paired with 17 years experience in sales/marketing and sales management. Currently she is a marketer in the healthcare arena.