Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It is World #Autism Awareness Day ~ Fearfully & Wonderfully Made by @ShelleyHendrix

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well. 

Psalm 139:14 NKJV

No one gets to have a perfect life. I think the sooner we accept this, the happier we'll enjoy being with the life we actually experience (versus the life we fantasize we should have.)

Life isn't perfect, and no one gets to have the "ideal" no matter how ideal it may appear on the surface or to the casual passerby. Into every life pain, loss, struggle, turmoil, crises, and all the whole gamut of life-in-a-human-body-in-an-imperfect-world occur. 

But Life is still beautiful!

Your life is beautiful!

Your Story is unique and indeed has significant purpose.

Macey, my 17 year old daughter, has High Functioning Autism, also known as Asperger's Syndrome. Like most girls on the Spectrum, Macey wasn't diagnosed until she was already finished with elementary school. Also like most girls on the spectrum, those who know her best knew there was something "different" about Macey. 

We noticed that she got angrier than situations seemed to call for and that, while she is very capable of communicating her own thoughts, feelings, opinions and desires, she struggled to comprehend others when they were trying to express themselves to her. 

We felt disrespected by her lack of eye contact. 

I felt rejected by her reaction when I would touch her on the shoulder or hug her unexpectedly. She would jerk away or push my hand away from her. 

She would argue the stars down over things that really were not of any (at least to the rest of us) significant value...and it wouldn't matter if we were home or in the grocery store. Condescending stares from strangers were a normal part of a trip out with the kids. 

I shared our journey in more detail a while back on my personal blog as we let others know of Macey's diagnosis in the 7th Grade and how much hearing an experienced, Christ-following Doctor acknowledge that our concerns that Macey was "different" were indeed founded. Hearing him say, "You are a good mother," was so healing. I felt like I was doing everything wrong (and I still wonder about that at times, to be honest). Life isn't perfect, and neither are mothers. 

As a mother of a child with Autism, my heart has grown exponentially and my compassion goes out to parents and families touched, not only by Autism, but by any kind of what we refer to as "special needs" or "disabilities" or "handicaps" or "illness." How do we experience peace in the midst of the chaotic that comes with imperfect bodies and imperfect lives?

For me, it comes down to giving my soul (mind, will, and emotions) permission to trust and rest: 
To Trust that God has made my child(ren) on Purpose and For a Purpose; 
Trust that He knew what He was doing when He allowed Macey to be on the Autism Spectrum (and also to have a hearing impairment like me); 
Trust that He has really great plans for her life and that He isn't limited by her limitations; 
Trust that I will one day understand in full what I only understand in part now. 

And in that place of Trust, I find myself able to rest ~ to give myself permission to not be perfect; to not have all the answers; to not have to "perfect" my child or my family or my life while we are intentionally working towards helping her thrive in the reality of "imperfect." I can allow my soul to find rest in God as we head out in public and people may misunderstand and misjudge a conversation between my daughter and me. 

Oh, and I can also celebrate: I can celebrate that Macey is fearfully and wonderfully made. I can celebrate her tremendous growth and maturity over the past several years and how I know God is still working with her and in her and through her. I can celebrate the HOPE this young woman offers to others on the spectrum and to their parents as they see how far she has come and how far she is going to go. Macey, and every other human being, is fearfully and wonderfully made--and THAT my soul knows VERY well!

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,

And that my soul knows very well.

1 comment:

  1. So beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story.


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