While straightening a shelf, I came across a scrapbook my mother made when the girls were toddlers. A wave of nostalgia hit me, so I opened it up. Page after page featured my joyful girls, playing and smiling for the camera. As I kept looking, a big, fat lump formed in the back of my throat, and I kept asking myself the same question. When? When did sweet, happy Rachel become autistic? What happened? When did this monster take over my precious baby and try to steal her from me?

I can’t fully communicate the pain I often feel, but I know so many of you have been there in one way or another. We all know life isn’t fair. I’m not the first to ask why, how, or when questions. I’m not the last. And I think that’s okay. God is a loving Father. He’s not afraid of or shocked by our questions, but He doesn’t always answer them in the time frame we’d like. I can see how having an autistic child has grown me, matured me, taught me more about deep love than I imagined myself capable, and given me a longing for eternity. But it has given me more pain than I sometimes think I can bear. And I still have all those questions.

I may always have them, but the important thing is not to get stuck there. I can’t remain in the swamp of questions, wallowing in my whys and drowning in my pain. I have to keep moving, focusing on the solid ground of what is in store for me, for everyone. It’s what the apostle Paul referred to as “the prize.” Someday everything will be restored, everything will be good, and every tear will be wiped away. Until then, I wait and work to make things the best they can be here on earth.