I’ve been debating whether or not I wanted to join the thousands of voices around the world honoring #autismawarenessmonth. I haven’t been on this journey for very long, I am still such a baby at most of this. But I remember what it was like to walk this road just a few short months ago, and to feel alone in it. To not need another statistic or book of daunting facts and how-to’s. I needed people. I needed their stories. A pulse. A heartbeat.
I wanted to share just a bit of my thoughts and a bit of what I’ve learned (many of you have asked)...and by this, I am hoping and praying that it will reach some sweet mama who needs these words. Please contact me and let’s chat if that’s you!
For those who are not aware, our youngest, Norah (2), was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder February 17, 2016.
Autism has been a refreshing reminder to me once again, that there is nothing good in me. God again, chose to use a weak woman in a weak spot. To reveal His heart to come close, to show up in big ways not in my child's behavior, but in my own heart.
My heart reveals its darkness when I'm not satisfied with this process. It shows itself in the way I want her to learn faster, to hit her milestones on time, to act like other kids her age. When will we stop using our kids to build our identity? A question I ask myself...a lot. I think about her future. It seems silly, I know. She's two. But for a special needs parent, I imagine it's a thing. The other day I watched her as she whimsically skipped around moving person to person, familiar or visitor, it made no difference. She plants a kiss square on the lips of everyone who will allow it...and it feels like God telling me to hush. I guess that's why He tells us to just do today.
He gives us enough for today. A truth I hold on to.
So quite honestly, I cling to Jesus for everything she needs. Lesson after lesson, cry after cry, anything good in me comes from Him. I've grieved, I've mourned, I've taken God to the table. "Why, God, does this have to be our family?"
Autism is hard. It's overwhelming. It's sad.
It's charming. It's light. It's hilarious.
I find it safe to say, that so far on this journey, I've learned more about myself than I've found answers for our circumstances. And I am grateful that God would choose to love me in this way. I've watched Him provide for her, like in the ways of her older sister, Lily. She is the perfect fit for Norah. She understands her when we can't and she's patient, patient, patient. Norah is joy. I should have named her JOY. "That baby is the most loving thing I know," said often, dripped in sweet southern affection.
I could not agree more.
To many, autism seems like a curse or a death sentence. But to us, it's been a gift. We would not have chosen it, but we have difficulty separating it from Norah. And we would choose her however, whenever, whatever...every time.