We’ve been doing this for almost five months, at least for my son for five months and my daughter for two. While we initially saw wonderful results, now progress has slowed. No, not just slowed, reversed. The therapies that we hoped would provide help for my daughter seem to leave her daily behavior and attitudes unchanged. After promising results with our son, he now seems to be back to where we started. It is discouraging and disheartening, not just because of all the money we’ve poured into this process but because we genuinely want to see our children succeed.

As an adult, I’m familiar with a feeling of stuckness and the powerless, sinking in the pit of my stomach that comes with it. It’s easy to feel as though things will never change. The house that was too small, the job and company that were imploding fast and existential crisis simmering below the surface like a low grade fever. Yet two years, later we are seeing progress in all of those things.

But it is somehow different when it’s your kids. Because despite our attempts to remain neutral, we always want the best for our children. We believe they were created for a purpose and that there is a good life waiting for them. But sometimes it can be hard to believe that. When faced with challenges that feel insurmountable and difficulties that never seem to change, it can feel as though there isn’t much to look forward to except more of them same. It can be hard to see beyond the struggles to the good that lies within.

It has been hard for me to see the positives in my kids. They don’t listen or obey most of the time. They can be rude and hurtful both in their words and actions. They have their positive traits, or at least others tell me. But being with them is no picnic most of the time. Enjoying them, especially all of them together, is difficult even at the best of times. Add to it at least two of them having a bad day at any given time and it feel impossible.

I don’t have an easy solution to this. I wish I could provide you with a guaranteed five step program to hope and peace but it just isn’t that simple. Lots of breathing, the occasional bowl of ice cream, daily exercise whenever possible, and praying; even when the praying feels too hard and it spills out as tears and wails. I went to a women’s worship even at my church last week. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go but I decided I would. As we spent time praying for God’s breakthrough in our families I thought of the woman in the book of Matthew who came to Jesus begging him to heal her daughter. So I wept and prayed for God to heal my children. Because all the care plans and testing in the world won’t change the fact that what I want most is to see them healthy, whole and functional. The trouble is figuring out where I need to accept their limitations and adjust my future expectations and when I need to fight for them. Right now I’m doing both.