I Could not have said this better myself!! I dread the moments that test my resolve, but LOVE and live for the moments that melt my heart..my camera ( both my mental one, and my actual Camera) stand ready to capture the moments when my son is shining at his best, and even catches some of the not so good. It catches the moments when my two girls openly accept their brother, and all three are on the floor in fits of laughter, the days when He is outside, accepted by the kids on our street, as they adapt to His way of playing ball, or help him go on a safari hunt, asking what animal are we hunting today…The friends who come and sit on the bleachers, in the sun to watch Him, and other Disabled kids get the chance to play Baseball, who “get it” and cheer as he skips around the bases…to all of you in my world who Love ALL three of my children, who see PAST the Autism, who stand by us through meltdowns, through moments of avoiding social contact, just for those moments when he DOES let you in, Thank you!
It never ceases to amaze me the way God works, the way He teaches us about ourselves, and about Who HE is, and His plan for our lives. About 10 years ago, my son was diagnosed with Autism. I cried, I was angry, I didn’t understand, but I never stopped loving my precious little boy. I dug in my heels, and prepared for any fight that would come my way, and there have been many….fights with Dr’s. fights with the school, fights with family members, battles fought on a deep emotional level with people who could not see past the word Autism, who refused to get to know my child simply because they didn’t understand Autism, didn’t want to deal with Autism.
There have been many times over the past 10 years that I have cried out to God “WHY??” He has sent people across my path who have helped me along the journey. I am blessed to have a husband who stands beside me, and at times, in front of me as we fight for what is best for our son. He has blessed me with two daughters who love their brother unconditionally, who see things in him that even I can’t always see.
I have learned that Autism is not something I need to fight, it’s not something I can, or need to fix. My son is NOT Broken, He is simply wired differently. God Made Him Special, and he loves him VERY Much. this brings me to my current lesson. The past year has been a hard one, not just because of the trials of raising a pre-teen boy who happens to be autistic. 8 months ago, a tragic event occurred that forever changed my life, impacted my walk with the Lord in ways I for whatever reason, couldn’t see before that point. (see my post “life , death and the Power of Prayer” for the full story).
Last month, the Pastor of my church challenged us to ask someone close to us what our gifts were, and if we were using them, or keeping them hidden. Unsure who to ask, I asked on Facebook, since most of the people who know me best live miles away. My sister responded that I have a gift of intercession. I shared this yesterday with my Sunday school class, and the teacher said ” to stand in the gap”. We have been studying the book of Acts, but also in the course of discussion, talking about “spiritual boot camp” and it was pointed out yesterday to me that raising three kids, one who happens to have Autism, and all the trials that come from raising a special needs child is my boot camp. That because I have a child with Autism, I am a more compassionate person, and that it enhances my prayer life as a result. I had never even thought about things from this perspective before. Sure, I had accepted that my son is a gift, and that loving Him unconditionally has made me stronger, but this was a new direction. I couldn’t get what had been stated in Sunday school off my mind, I thought on it, prayed about it, wondered why I had not seen it before.
When i logged into facebook this morning, I was greeted with a blog post from another “blogging mom” friend of mine and something jumped out at me, something fit like a piece to the puzzle of my life. It was like a confirmation for me. This is what she said ”
“Autism teaches compassion.
Autism teaches acceptance.
Autism teaches patience.
I am a work in progress and the gift of autism that God gave me is shaping me, molding me everyday.” ( see her full post here: Autism: a Blessing )
Thank you Lord for bringing people into my life who can see past the day to day, who can help me see beyond the trials and struggles to open my eyes to the blessing you have given me in my son.
I leave you today with a song that sums this up perfectly for me:
”We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things’Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
As long as we have faith to believe
When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise” ~Laura Story
My friend Jess over at Diary of a mom wrote the following Letter to President Obama. I couldn’t have said it better myself. For my son, for her Daughter, for all the Families living with Autism, I encourage you to read this letter, and to Light it up Blue on April 2nd
Military wife, special needs mom, both jobs are challenging, full of highs and lows. add them together in one not so neat package, and you get one wild roller coaster ride! This past week, my husband was gone for a week of training, and I was home with our three children. It is the beginning of softball season for my girls, so we had a week packed with school, softball practices, Dr’s appointments and daddy gone.
Sunday was spent quietly at home. The kids turned my living room into a fort, and laughed and played. it had not yet sunk in that we had taken Daddy to the airport earlier that morning. Monday arrived with a Dr. appointment for Dak. He was meeting his new Dr. for the first time, and I was nervously hopeful that it would go well. He was TERRIFIED of his old Dr. and past Dr’s apts had been a fight. This one went 100 times better! He jabbered happily the whole time, mostly in his own language, we affectionately call”Dakese”, He HUGGED the Dr.! yup, it was a good morning. then we had to face softball practice that night.My son protested LOUDLY to having to sit at the ball field and watch his big sister’s softball practice Monday night at the time he is usually heading for bed. His routine had been officially blown out of the water. By the time we got home, I was in tears. I missed my husband, the kids were at war with each other, how was I ever going to make it a week. Somehow I got them all to sleep Monday night, and we faced Tuesday head on.
Tuesday started off rough. I overslept, and had to rush to get the kids off to school. Dak did NOT want to go to school, missed the bus. I got the girls out the door, and loaded a protesting Dak into the truck and we headed for school. I was certain I would be back up at the school by noon, but off we went anyway. I had to try, and trust that He would have a good day. I Explained to His teacher that Daddy was out of town, and his routine was blown clean out of the water for the week, left Him in her very capable hands, and headed back home. The house was eerily quiet with the kids gone. Granted , I am used to this any other day of the week, yet this week it just gave me time to think about how badly I missed my husband. The Blessing came around 2 that afternoon. Dak’s teacher called me to tell me that He had a good day for the most part. I had been bracing for a phone call saying He was out of sorts, so this was a very good thing! Tuesday’s blessing also included a friend taking the thought process out of dinner.
Wednesday arrived with stormy weather, Thunder storms and LOTS of rain. The oldest went off to school, but the younger two ended up home with me. The youngest had been up most of the night missing Daddy, and Dak…well Thunder sends His sensory issues through the roof, and when added to missing Daddy, was NOT a good combination. We hunkered down for a rainy day, and watched movies and listened to the storm rage outside. The good thing in all that was that due to the rain…we did not have to face the ball field that night. Softball Practice had been rescheduled.
We had made it through half the week, and as Thursday arrived, I was a mess emotionally, but had kicked into survivor mode. I had not slept in almost a week, but was pushing onward. The youngest had softball practice Thursday night, so after school, I rushed to get dinner ready early so we could eat before ball, set the older 2 up to play on the computer, and headed out the door with softball gear and my 8 year old in tow. It was a COLD windy night for ball, but it was a GOOD night. I got to focus on just one child for a brief moment, got some adult conversation, and started to feel a little bit less stressed. It was Thursday night, I had made it this far, I was going to be ok after all!
Friday was an interesting Day. Dak told EVERYONE who would listen “Daddy home tomorrow!” and when I say everyone, I mean everyone…His teacher, the bus driver, His sister’s softball team. Friday night brought us back to the ballfield, but I came prepared this time. We brought Dak’s portable DVD Player, His two favorite movies, crayons and coloring books, the light bright, and his buzz light-year snuggie ( it was still COLD out) . It was a good night, we made it through softball practice without any meltdowns, and headed home for the night. The hardest part was trying to get the kids to bed each night. They all missed daddy, and there was nothing I could do to fix that. the lack of sleep had taken it’s toll on all of us.
It was Saturday morning, and the kids and I faced the day armed with cleaning up the house before Dad got home. They all knew we were set to go to the airport at around 3 that afternoon. I fired up the flight trackers online and we watched as daddy flew from Reno to Denver…then as his flight out of Denver got delayed we started praying. He did not have enough cushion in Memphis for a delay, His connection was certain to be missed. We prayed hard, and as we watched the flight from Denver to Memphis, it LOOKED like they were making up time lost in flight. My phone rang, He had made it to Memphis. The crew on his flight from Denver did EVERYTHING they could to help him make his connection. on the flight, he sat next to an 11 year old boy whose parents were also on the plane…seated not far away. When the plane landed, the father of the boy asked that every one stay seated so a young soldier could make his connection to get home. He missed His connection by TWO minutes. The customer service people working the gate got Him AND His luggage re-routed.
While he sat in Memphis waiting for his flight to Atlanta, I got the fun job of explaining to Dak that we were not leaving for the airport at 3, but instead had to wait until 7. “Daddy home at threee” he wailed. I showed Him the flight tracker, and explained again that Daddy’s flight had changed , but that Daddy would, in fact, be home safe, soon. He danced around the house ” Daddy home today YAY!!” He seemed satisfied that even though we did not head for the airport at 3…we were still going to go get Daddy. by 6 that evening, Dak had his shoes on, and had camped at the front door, pacing ” mom, time go get Daddy”. I could not help but smile. we loaded up at 7:15 and headed for the airport, and got there JUST as the flight landed, and had to sit in the cell phone waiting lane ( a really cool idea btw) and wait for Daddy’s call that he was outside ready to go home. Dak didn’t think this was a good idea…”Go around the circle mom” I heard from the backseat immediately followed by “Dak! I brought your DVD Player, Watch your movie!” from my youngest. We drove around the circle again, and parked back in the waiting lane. my phone rang…His luggage was NOT there, but He was ready to come home. the luggage added stress…but that’s another story…my Husband was home! the kids cheered, and off we went. We had survived the roller-coaster! God is AWESOME!
Ok, I know I know…It has been a while since I have written anything! I didn’t even manage to get around to writing my “look back at 2010” I started to…I just kept getting interrupted.The all too familiar “Mooom!!!!” or a blood curdling scream from my autistic son…or the sound of my daughters fighting…*sigh* . Thankfully, life goes on even when I can’t find time to write, though I must admit, writing my thoughts down provides a much needed outlet. Anyway…..
My thoughts today are on blessings, a Very specific blessings actually, my friends, my children, and my Husband. The past few weeks have been more overwhelming than usual, and I have found myself reduced to tears repeatedly. Feelings of helplessness, loneliness and isolation have swarmed in to attack me in the midst of problems my son is having at school, Cursive and division disasters with my youngest daughter, and preparing for high school with my socially challenged teenager. It never fails that when we are feeling our most vulnerable, we find ourselves under a barrage of emotional attacks until we feel we need to dive for cover. God is faithful though, when the cover we dive for is His word, He pulls us through, and I have found that prayer through tears this past few weeks has once again, been my rock.
Last week, when I thought I could not handle anymore, when i needed a friend, a break, something….God used what was a hard, bad situation, to bring me one. Our dog ran away ( don’t worry, he is home safe and sound now 🙂 ) and the kids didn’t sleep, nobody did that night. Friends came out of the woodwork to help search for our beloved critter, and it was the reminder I needed that I am , in fact, not alone. It is easy for me to forget that sometimes.
the past two weekends, I have had surprise visits from friends, a front yard FULL of children playing and laughing, ALL three of my children included. The sound of their laughter is the most beautiful sound in the world to me, it is good for my heart, and it was , again, the reminder I needed of why , even on the hardest days, I keep pushing forward, keep pressing on, fighting the good fight.