Monday, January 6, 2014

What #Autism is Teaching Me ~ by @ShelleyHendrix

Photo by Amelia Grace Photography
All rights reserved

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Psalm 139:14 KJV

Most of this blog's readers are already aware that I have a child with Asperger's Syndrome. In fact, shortly after we became aware of her diagnosis, I shared about that experience in a blog series called "Our Pearl Story," (which you'll find here) and I heard from a lot of you on how much that story meant to you. Thank you to all of you who have sent such kind and supportive comments over the years. It means a lot to our whole family.

As Macey continues to grow and mature I continue to be amazed by her, even in the midst of being challenged by her. I think most parents can identify with that statement! Life through Macey's eyes is always educational for me as her mom. I wanted to share with you just a few ways this girl has changed my life and continues to help me become a better person.

1. Macey is the bravest person I know. I don't know of many people, much less adolescent girls, who could go through what Macey has gone through and come through it with a resolve to keep on keepin' on. She has been hurt time and again by people who either don't understand her processing challenges or don't care to understand, and she continues to take one step after another and give the world another chance. Her bravery inspires me to be brave!

2. Macey has the inability to be anything less than persistent. This sometimes...okay, OFTEN...drives me and the rest of us in the family absolutely bonkers. When she gets a hold of an idea, or a desire, or a plan, it is next to impossible for her to let it go. Yet it is this persistence in her that has helped her come to understand her forever relationship with her Heavenly Father; when she can't sense His presence, she refuses to give up communicating with Him; she refuses to stop worshiping Him; she pursues His heart even when she doesn't recognize He is always, always with her. Her persistence challenges me to not give up so easily, either.

3. Macey always has a song in her heart--and usually on her lips. Although, because of her AS, she doesn't always get when it's an appropriate time or setting to belt it out, watching her life over these past 17+ years has shown me that I've allowed myself to stop singing when I ought to be singing. I used to sing all the time. I used to sing in the shower, in the car, while doing housework. I've noticed that I just don't do this as much. I don't know when I stopped either. Macey says that when she sings it's like she's getting a hug from Jesus. Her reckless and unabashed worship emboldens me to belt out my own song of praise and celebrate life more.

I've confided in those closest to me before that I don't know who Asperger's Syndrome is most challenging for: the one who has it, or the one who loves the one who has it. Some days are really, really hard--for all involved.

Macey has asked me before what I think she would be like without Asperger's. Would life be easier? Quite possibly. But, honestly, I don't want to know her without it. Not only would she be fundamentally different than the Macey I adore, Iwould be different. I would be less brave. I would be less persistent. I would be more inhibited. I know I wouldn't have as much patience or compassion for other parents who have kids with special needs. So, no, I wouldn't want to have Macey any different. She teaches me SO much and inspires me in countless ways by being Macey--who also happens to have Asperger's Syndrome.

I don't know what challenges you face in your relationships with those closest to you, but this I do know: God has a GOOD purpose in mind. And this purpose isn't to hold us back, but to set us free. I've shared just a few ways my Macey Girl has helped me become freer. I'd love to hear what challenges you face and how God is using even these challenges to help you grow as a person and find greater freedom. Feel free to connect here or with me via email at I look forward to hearing from you!

******************This  was originally posted at*****************

Shelley and Macey, Nov 2013

If you'd like to connect, I'd like that, too! You'll find my personal website/blog at where all my other social media links and what-not can be easily found. 

Happy New Year to you and yours, and may 2014 find us all trusting God more in the midst of imperfect lives, relationships, health, finances, bodies, and experiences. Let Grace reign free!

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