Beauty From Ashes: Disabilities

In 1996, God gifted our family with a precious baby boy. Just like his two older sisters he was perfect in every way. But when he turned 15 months, we started to notice him “fading” and “pulling away” from us. At three-and-a-half, Justin was finally diagnosed with severe autism. Our world shattered.

Background
Beauty and brains are supposed to make for a winning combination in the future of a woman. From a young age I was taught hard work would make the most of these two elements. So as a little girl I wanted to be pretty and smart, and was willing to work as I needed to. My parents moved the family from Hong Kong to the United States when I was 12 years old. With only an elementary school education, my parents spoke very little English and worked long hours. I was the first in my family to get a college degree, with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. Upon graduation, I became project engineer for the U.S. Department of Transportation. I continued to work part-time as a professional model. A few years later, I added a Masters in Cross Cultural Studies to my résumé. I married a handsome man who is an accomplished doctor out of an Ivy League. All in all, not too shabby for a daughter of poor immigrants.

But becoming a mother brought out some of my deepest insecurities. Unlike the discipline of engineering, there is no exact science to motherhood. The more deeply I grew to love my children, the more I felt uncertainty and even a sense of helplessness. I applied every mothering principle I could out of every book on godly wisdom. But still nervous that I wouldn’t ‘measure up’ as a mom, I labored even harder to be the ‘perfect mom.’

Our first child was the compliant one that allowed me to play rookie Mom with relative success. Our second was the spirited one that challenged every word and boundary. We spent a lot more time praying on our knees and asking the help of others with this spunky child. Along came our third. Everything was normal until our outgoing, explorative child suddenly became a serious introvert who was attracted to objects instead of people. He eventually lost his ability to speak and had trouble engaging the world. His diagnosis was a death sentence. No longer were we on our knees. We were on our faces before God.

A simple dinner out as a family would turn into a problem when Justin made loud noises to drown out the sounds in the restaurant. Embarrassment would turn to disaster when he went on to bang his head to the table, punching himself before pouring the glass of ice water on himself. He also refused to leave the restaurant in tones so strident that some onlookers would look with judgment on our “obvious” lack of parenting skills. So many family outings have gone sour: like when he snuck away and got lost on a ship. Another time he hid himself at an amusement park. We searched for him for hours. Over the years I’m afraid we developed a sense of hopelessness and dread as parents. We’d opt to hide out at home where things were more controlled and there was no need to worry about stares or comments. Still, even at home were plenty of moments when Justin would become frustrated or overstimulated. He would start hurting himself or run around the house kicking holes in the wall. We got so tired of repairing those we just left them unpatched for a while. No amount of beauty, brains or hard work could save us from this 24/7 tragedy.

Beauty from Ashes
I knew the answer to our pain would not come by human means. My husband and I had prayed and grieved so much. But little by little, hope surfaced. Not because our beloved son was miraculously healed; he has grown in some ways – always a great joy and a deep encouragement. Over the past 19 years, we found we have been changed. Maybe the miracle we were praying for did indeed occur. In our own hearts. We started to realize how deeply our own lives have been enriched, in some ways beyond our imagination.

I would like to share with you the 10 most important lessons I have learned on this journey.

1. God is not surprised and He is in control.
The day we got Justin’s diagnosis, all the dreams we ever had for him were lost in an instant. Like most parents, we imagined he would grow up to be a typical boy who enjoyed sports, had lots of friends, went to parties, and had fun growing up. We looked forward to his graduating from college, getting a job and maybe starting his own family. We felt robbed. Some point later during prayer, God showed me in the first chapter of Genesis that He created something beautiful out of chaos. He reminded me that He is an expert at making the best out of the worst raw materials and situations. He created beauty from ashes. He showed me that He was and is in full control. And that He loved Justin very much. This divine assurance was the first peace and comfort I experienced since the “death sentence”.

2. Shore up the foundation for the long term.
When crisis happens we almost always run to solve the problem and put out the fire. But special-needs families like ours need to remember that life is a marathon and not a sprint. Statistics tell us that up to 90% of marriages with a special-needs child end up in divorce. My husband and I learned to put in place supports for our marriage even as we tackled the needs of our son. We set aside weekly date nights, quarterly getaways, and special times of prayer to reconnect and be refreshed. Marriage counseling improved our communication. These measures enabled us to walk the many deep valleys together as one. I understand it might not be possible for all parents to do all these things. But I have seen some really creative ways couples have found to strengthen their marriages. Some couples institute a daily 15-minute hugging/holding time with no interruption. Others exchange love letters of appreciation. Others reach out to needy families in their area to exchange babysitting and help one other in various ways. You are of no use to your child in the long run if you – and your marriage – do not survive. Your relationship is not something you can place on hold while you put all your energy into helping your child. You must prioritize your marriage, for that covering is super-important to your children. Knowing that the two most important people in their world both love and are committed to each other is perhaps the best gift you can give your child.

The other foundation you must shore up is yourself. Mothers will sacrifice everything for their children. There are seasons where this is called for in order to allow our children to thrive. However, these seasons cannot last. In fact, they need to be as short as possible. In order to make it for the long haul, we need to feed and nurture our own souls. This may be difficult, as many of us are wired to give selflessly. But we cannot give out of emptiness. I learned this principle from Jesus Himself. The Bible tells us that Jesus poured Himself out for others. He healed the sick, the blind and the lame. He encouraged the downhearted and taught all who would listen. He challenged the corrupt authorities and brought the Kingdom of God wherever He went. But He poured Himself out from His fullness in God. Even Jesus, the very incarnation of God Almighty, at times went off by Himself to commune with His Heavenly Father. He also needed to eat and sleep, at least sometimes. We need to find ways to refresh ourselves. I love to take occasional prayer retreats in solitude to nourish my soul. In those times alone with Him, I am reminded that I am first and foremost His beloved daughter. He reminds me that I am cherished and that He loves my family more than I do. With this strong assurance in my heart, I can return home as a nurturing mother to all my children and a faithful and loving wife for my husband as best I can.

3. It takes a community.
I used to pride myself in being independent and self-sufficient. Asking for help was very uncomfortable for me. In fact, I saw it as a sign of weakness. But after years of being humbled by my neediness and even suffering times of serious depression, I learned that I must lean on my community. Just as importantly, I learned that it is no shame to do so. I now seek out older parents with special-needs children for mentors and supporters. Together, we’ve trained college students who are energetic caregivers for our son and others. This network has been an incredible blessing, nothing less than extended family. I can no longer make this journey alone.

4. My worth is not based on my accomplishments.
When I was younger I believed that my accomplishments showed my value. This was part of the beauty, brains and hard work equation of my culture. I grew up with the constant fear that if I failed to achieve more and yet more, my self-worth would tumble. Whenever I felt unmotivated or perceived that I was underachieving, I would feel dreadful, guilty and unworthy. But in parenting Justin, I found that no matter what he was or wasn’t able to do my love for him remained steady. I realized that Justin’s limited abilities did not change my love for him. In fact, I loved him even more. I wanted to protect and care for him more as he depended so much on me. One day I was trying to get him to attend to what I was saying to him when he was absorbed in his own little world. I longed so much for my child to just take one glance at me and connect with me. God’s Spirit said to me, “Chrissie, I love you and long for you in the same way.” I could hardly digest the truth. “Really?! Father, you do?” I came to appreciate the unconditional love of our God in a new way. This has become an important part of my own healing: accepting that I am loved for who I am, not for my looks or brains or accomplishments. I am valuable whether I produce or not. I am not what I do. Wow! In our accomplishment-obsessed culture, this was a breakthrough for me.

5. Receive the gift of now.
As a planner who thinks strategically, I tend to put a goal in front of me and then figure out what I need to do to reach it. Everything needs to be purposeful and intentional, wasting neither time nor resources. Efficiency may be great for the corporate world, but taken to the extreme in everyday life it is a joy-robber. Living with Justin has meant living with uncertainty. So over time we have learned to be okay with the unexpected. In between meltdowns, we’ve learned to breathe deeply, to listen to the birds, or just feel the warmth of the sun. We’ve learned to appreciate the gentleness of a touch and the warmth of a smile. Everyone shouts in joy when a baby first says dada or mama. But soon, we take their ability to speak for granted. Autism affects our son in ways that we cannot understand. At one moment he might be able to say, “That’s great, Mom!” and the next moment have no words at all. We have learned to appreciate every small victory, like when he says, “Good morning, Dad” because we cannot know if those words will ever come forth from those lips again. We’ve learned to appreciate the miracle of the moment. The gift of now is priceless. Being too future-oriented has sometimes caused us to lose the joy of the moment. We don’t do that anymore because while the present is here only now, the future may never be.

6. What other people think of you is not really important.
One aim of successful modeling is to be able look effortlessly gorgeous at all times. Perhaps I mastered that to a certain degree. Even when I am lost, I can totally look like I know where I am going. My daughters still joke about that. The faking was important to me because I always wanted others to have a good impression of me and my family. Being Justin’s mom has forced me to abandon that silly desire and so has given me new freedom. It was hard enough to always look buttoned up when the girls were babies. When Justin came along, the unpredictable tantrums and meltdowns almost kept me from going out in public at all. I had to rethink my need to look composed and in control. I had to learn not to be bothered by the condemning looks of strangers. Gone were the effortless pretty days. Not worrying about what strangers think has been a blessing and freedom all its own.

7. Take the lemons and make lemonade.
The challenge of having a child with autism gave us the chance to get to know many other parents in the same situation. We came to know needs in this population that had not been addressed and we prayed we might be part of the answer. We discovered that 90% of the families with special-needs children do not attend church. One main reason is that there is almost never appropriate child care for autistic children. With support from our church, we started a special ministry for these families. I shared publicly our struggles with our child. Parents thanked me. It turned out that many of them were in my shoes but for the sense of shame had kept the truth about their children a family secret. We trained workers to understand the children’s unique challenges, set up classrooms specially designed for autistic kids, added picture scheduling so the kids could know what was coming next, and made sure that the Bible lessons, the songs and teachings were always appropriate. We worked hard to integrate these kids with other children to help them socialize. Our entire church community transformed into a more caring and understanding place. We broke down those walls of shame and fear. No longer do families with special-needs children in our area feel that churches don’t accept or love them.

8. Function as family, but let kids be kids.
Our tendency as parents is to protect children from harmful, bad or tough things. We never want to overwhelm children with adult-sized problems. But we do feel it is good to share with our girls in an age-appropriate way when challenges arise. They have learned lifelong lessons from these times. They have seen our family rally for one another and have grown to see themselves as indispensable members of our family. This is much healthier than hiding family needs and problems from the kids. A word of caution: do not load your children with more than a child’s share of duty. They are still just kids. Do not turn them into primary caregivers for their special-needs sibling – an impossible role for a child. If this boundary is not observed, typical siblings can become resentful and bear ill feelings towards the special-needs child. We have tried to remain sensitive in this area and our daughters have grown in a very loving relationship with their brother. Their care for him does not come from a place of obligation but of love.

9. Do not parent from fear.
Fear sells. Many of the commercials that target parents feed off our normal parental tendency to protect. I was a very conscientious mom who installed protective locks on the windows, plugged the outlets, checked car seat restraints, moved all dangerous chemicals to locked top shelves, etc. etc. etc. Yet it was my child who ended up falling out of our second-floor window when he was four. I was angry at myself. But through that terrible incident, I learned that all my fear and worry were not best for our children. My endless worrying and all my safeguards will never be enough. There will always be dangers in this world. It dawned on me. I really needed to trust in the only One who could truly protect my kids. This truth freed me from the burden of feeling I needed to do more and more and more. It helped me experience a new level of peace that has been a blessing not just to me, but also to my husband and our children.

10. God’s dream for my children is better than mine.
We had chosen a special name for our son before he was born. Justin means justice and righteousness. We prayed for him to be a leader in those areas. We thought he might become a lawyer or a social worker or a pastor. We had to give up those dreams but we had no idea that God would resurrect them in ways we never imagined. In training young people to work with autistic kids like Justin, many have shared how deeply blessed they have been; they experienced God’s unconditional love for them. Many look forward to coming to our home to work with Justin. Some have chosen to study the field of special education to become teachers. One day it occurred to me, “How many ten-year-olds do you know who’ve influenced this many people in such a profound way just by being himself?”

Despite the conscientious laws in the United States, not all children have automatic access to appropriate education. At times we have had to fight with the school system to get needed services for Justin and other autistic kids in the district. We felt that perhaps the teachers and school leaders resented us for advocating so strongly for our son. But it was a simple matter of justice for Justin and for autistic children everywhere so we never gave up. Out of the blue one day a teacher wrote us a card thanking us for fighting as we did. She said that the process of her adjusting for Justin had also benefited her other students and pushed her to be a better teacher as well. I was so deeply touched I cried.

Motherhood has been a humbling process for me. It has changed my definition of success. Life is no longer about outward beauty, big brains, hard work and a show of accomplishments. It is now more about inward beauty and hidden things that perhaps only my Father can see. I’ve learned that inner beauty comes from love and a spirit that has gone through ashes and brokenness. This is an eternal beauty that cosmetics cannot achieve. Brains are not just for stuffing knowledge into; they are for growing in wisdom. The wisdom of a parent will be one of the most important legacies we can leave our children. Effortless beauty and eternal wisdom flow out of a place of contentment, not striving. I have found that contentment in my heavenly Father.

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…provide for those who grieve…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”  Isaiah 61:1-3

 

I was amazed to find this piece written a year ago sounding so at home now in this series. Christina shared her story originally as a contribution to a book in keeping with her passion to serve as a voice for the voiceless, the overlooked and vulnerable. Her husband is an esteemed professor and physician of gastroenterology in Southern California who made his recent second appearance on the TV show The Doctors. Christina is, among other things, quite a brave heart. She enrolled her two bright daughters in the Mafia Academy of Arts with Yours Truly for instruction in writing and piano which the girls endured six long years.

98 thoughts on “Beauty From Ashes: Disabilities

  1. What an outstanding piece! Thank you for sharing this look at what it means for a family to have a child severely affected by autism – and for helping us broaden our understanding of beauty, faith and what really determines success. This one will stay with me for quite a while.

  2. D:

    What a wonderful post Christina wrote. I am awed by her courage and honesty. It humbles me to see her response to her challenges. Justin and her daughters are so blessed to have such a mother. I love the reference about making beauty from ashes, and inner beauty comes from brokenness. It gives me hope I can find my own way forward.

    Love,
    E

      • I already read it before. Just needed to run through all the intricacies of your story in my head, to appreciate it better before commenting lol.
        I love that God in his goodness helped you pass through this hurdle and still continues daily. I love that you see more than just how bad the situation is, that your perception of this was not one of resignation, but you fought and you have a become a better human for this. It’s so common to find people who cave under pressure and so few who turn it into something remarkable, a lesson in faith, trust and hope for others.

        May God continue to lead your family through this, and may His plans for your son’s future continue to manifest in him unto a perfect dawn.

        Blessings.

  3. Reblogged this on noordinarygal and commented:
    Sometimes we all need a reminder that it will be okay. It is what you do after the fact that shapes up our happiness. I really love your perspective and wish more people were like you. Great food for thought and thank you for sharing

  4. Hard life lessons I have one grandson who is Bipolar, age 11, one who is Autistic age 3, and they are indeed a challenge – but they are my loved flesh and blood, children with love and spirit. On a family walk, the11 year old came back to walk with grandpa, “because he is slow and has a cane and should not be alone!” Thank you for sharing!

  5. My son is on the autism spectrum as well and there is so much in this piece that resonates….thanks for sharing Christina’s words and story with us, Diana!

    • Oh, CC…so glad to know. I did not realize that about your son. Can’t tell you what a blessing this is for me and Christina to be able to put out. So happy you caught this. Thx for keeping up.

      Love,
      D.

  6. Dear Christina,
    My parents had three sons. One contracted polio at the age of four during the height of the epidemic. The child missed the Salk vaccine by six months. They, like you, were devastated. They received wonderful advice from a dedicated doctor who would see their son through a number of corrective surgeries over the years.
    After years of rehabilitation their son was mainstreamed into the public school system. He would go on to college and graduate with a B.A. Degree in Mathematics and a Masters in education. After a 30 year career, of teaching mathematics and coaching high school athletics, he would retire.
    As a coach of Girls High School Volleyball, his teams won four state championships, and many of his players would go on to play college volleyball on scholarship. He would be named Coach of the Year for Girls High School Volleyball in 1988; and be inducted into the Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame in his state in 2007.
    As you said when handed a lemon; make lemonade. My parents were also dealt a bad hand, but decided to play, rather than quit. And their reward for there sacrifice of love was a wonderful life for their son.
    As you profess, in your own way, in your wondeful triumphant article; God does not challenge us with any more than we can handle. You also rececived a glorious answer to your prayers: Not that the circumstances changed to relieve you, but instead you both changed to meet the challenge. And I might add in an astounding way.
    My parents, like you both, were able to bear their cross because their trials were borne some time ago for them by another son; the Son of God. “By His stripes we are healed.”
    God’s blessings to you both, your family and your exceptional son, who gives you reason to love in a way most will never understand, save for God.
    One other thing; I am the son referred to above.
    -Alan

    • Alan, goodness!! What a testimony. Thanks so much for sharing your own triumphant tale (love that adjective, entirely befitting for you and C). I would venture to disagree with the common understanding that God challenges us only to the extent that we can handle. If that really were so, He could hardly approve any real trials. It is grace through and through and He enables us to bear up under which all would be otherwise lost. He gives strength commensurate with the task at hand. I know you are a champion of grace through and through. Just wanted to tease out what I believe to be a fallibility in the aphorism common today, which bears theological implications. You know, I may have mentioned to you last yr that my mother-in-law was struck with polio at a young age and has since suffered greatly over the bad leg.

      Love,
      Diana

      • Diana,
        I can empathize with your mother-in law, since we are similarly afflicted. I find it troublesome to complain to much, becasuse I’ve seen others with more to bear; that has not come my way-at least as yet. “There but for the grace of God go I.” And maybe in that statement we find our assigned trials.
        We do need grace, there is no doubt. The greatest grace, I believe granted me, which compels me to hold on when things are at their worst; is gained from Christ having had borne my suffering first on Calvary. He was there for all souls past, present and to come. Even me.
        -Alan

  7. Amazing piece of writing! your words are pouring out your emotions which clearly show that you are a great human being! you are brave and there is nothing like adversities for courageous people!

  8. I encourage people to remember that disability is constructed, rather than inherent, and that it always touches everyone in a family. Accommodations are only needed when the structure of a society excludes individuals and families with unusual ways of experiencing or moving through the world.

    • Michael, Christina just shared the most heartbreaking, difficult challenge in the life of her family that has taken a lifetime to navigate. Can you tell us how you feel Justin’s disability is a construct, not inherent, in this case?

      Diana

  9. You have reminded me through your intimate and inspirational story of the immense power of human love when it is surrendered to higher purpose. Namaste’

  10. He is a treasure made in God’s image. Our view of that image doesn’t always agree with what God sees; nor do we understand what God can do in and through a person who is your son. I am so thankful for your seeing this son as the gift that he is. I am thankful for the Lord sustaining you and giving you wisdom through your experience. God be with you!

  11. Thank you for putting this post up. My 19 year old niece is autistic and only speaks on demand. She will never be able to live alone. My sister and husband have done an incredible job with all the challenges. It was a devastating diagnosis for them. They had a college fund saved the day she was born. That’s where their expectations started.
    I love how you have shown the way your faith is integrated into your attitude about having a child with a handicap. His words are a manual for how we can all live a better life.

    • Each diagnosis affects an entire family network causing great sorrow…as well as deep joy. Thank you for sharing your story. May the joys outweigh the sorrow for your family network.

    • Thanks so much for sharing this part of your family, Susan. I can feel (in weak part) – and only imagine – what it’s been like for your sister and her husband. I am amazed and honored to find myself the arbiter of these precious stories, a treasury of wisdom and beauty.

      Xxx
      Diana

  12. Your lives have been transformed by your autistic child and his siblings too.

    Beside me, sits a co-worker. His wife gave birth to their lst child last year, baby girl with hydrocephalus. She was born 4 months premature. I think most of us don’t know what to say to him since he is quite private about it.

    • It is difficult to know what to say. Words often fail us. I can’t speak for others, especially guys. For me, I have found hugs, and “Your family is in our thoughts.”, kind gestures helpful.

  13. Absolutely wise and wonderful. Number 4 I read more than once. I knew about not parenting from fear thank goodness – my mother taught me that. Blessings to you on your journey.

  14. Through various internships in hospitals I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of parents with such kids and they were the ones who taught me how to live and what to appreciate. I always had the feeling that people like you have so much more to give than others and if there was a reason for God to send us such children, then they for sure deserve to have parents like you, who can give and love, no matter what. I can’t help but think they are the greatest gifts, a compliment from above… Very moving post!

  15. This is so heartfelt, and so redolent of essential truth, that it leaves me with nothing to say, but to endorse you for your courage, and your resilience through the years. I, too, have a differently enabled son, although his particular burdens did not manifest themselves until his teenage years, so I do know something of all you went through to find grace.

  16. I know Autism has changed who I am as a mother and I know I am a much more compassionate person. You sound like an amazing mum and your journey is like no other. Such an inspirational post and thank you for writing it from the heart.

    • The power of love is pretty amazing. I just returned from an IEP and feeling like a terrible mum who could’ve & should’ve done more…I will dust off & keep walking. It is a humbling process. Strength & blessings to you.

      • We always feel we have never done enough BUT WE have I know that feeling well and still after many years drive away from school with a tear in my eye. BUT we will never give up will we? Have a great day in spite of what you feel you have done enough.

  17. Thank you for sharing your very personal story of struggles and daily victories. Sometimes, it is only through opening up that we can begin to see God’s healing. This is a powerful post to never give up and when we feel like it (which is human!), to lean in closer to God!

    • Thank you. Writing this piece was relatively easy. Living it is the real challenge. That’s where divine intervention is needed. So glad He does not forsake me no matter what.

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  19. This is such a wonderful story. My daughter has 9 years to go before our Willie is 19. The holes in the wall, the hurting himself and others has been accepted by our closet family members. Others are surprised when they witness, the outbursts…but those outbursts bring understanding. I call our special needs children, angels, sent here to teach. For the past week, I have been editing Willie’s story to post, also stories of other children of special needs, who have taught me so much during my years as a home care nurse. Reading your post has given me such motivation. Thank you so very much for sharing. I have shared this to FaceBook and Google+.

    • Hello, sojourner! There is a time for everything under the sun. I wrote my piece a year ago & it sat. God orchestrated this post by prompting our dear wayfarer. The exact posting date fell into THIS week…the week where I will be appearing at the court house with Justin to ask for conservatorship. Been dreading this process. The responses & comments from this post have been such a gift of encouragement. Exactly what I needed for such a time as this.
      You stories will be a blessing and the timing will be perfect. I look forward to your post(s).

  20. wow. So inspirational. I am a special education teacher but also experienced a stroke last year. I am trying to find the blessings in this. Your writing has given me good food for thought! Thank you.

  21. Thank you. Beautifully and soulfully written. I am a special education teacher and I experienced a stroke last year. Your piece helped me many ways! Thanks again.

  22. I work with kids with autism. Having not been directly affected in my own family, it helps me in my work to hear your words. I especially liked #4 about accomplishments. Such a tough one! You are a lovely writer. Thank you.

    • Thank YOU for working with this population! I always say that i do what I do because it was given to me. You, however, chose the profession. Hats & hearts off to you!!

  23. This is a wonderful and moving post, and explains so much about the journey you are taking with you blog. I’ll never forget the day a close friend sent her autistic son to the special needs classroom, then sat down with the other first graders, explained what autism is, how is might manifest, and what to do when it does. Like that teacher who wrote you the notes, it changed the direction of that class. That autistic boy is now a twenty-five year old, bearded man. He is disabled, but gets around on his own on city buses, knows how to cross-country ski, garden, keeps us all up to date on burned out light bulbs and flags flying at inappropriate times. Because of him, and my friend, I read as much as I could about autism, and discovered Temple Grandin’s books, which were a joy to read.

    Thank you for sharing your experience, and for all the hard work you are doing in your community for not only your son, but other disabled children.

    Blessings.

  24. Beautiful. Two of my children are on the spectrum-more on the high-functioning side. Nevertheless, I identify with so much written here from the fears to the grief-stricken prayers to the absolute dependence on God’s grace to the triumph their lives can be. Thank you for sharing this.

  25. great writing, a few of my friends have kids with “special needs.” they ask me what i think, and i said they are great kids, you just have to look around that and see them for what they are. you are doing a great job being a parent! keep it up

  26. I really love what you wrote here, being a parent of a autistic son. We went thru many of the same things as you did because that is autism is. Our son is 35 now and he has been with us the whole time. We saw what was going on when he was about three. School was an issue all the time because some schools could help him and some could not. We moved into different ares so he would have be happy and learn better. When he got out of school all support went away, we were on our own to make his life as productive as possible and it has been ups and downs. We now live in another state that does not have much to offer and we did have some respite but they have turned out very ugly. Now we are around him everyday with no break, have not gone on a vacation in many years and times can be sometimes rough, but we make it life as good as it can be. We used to go to church regularly but that has been a bad experience. So I live my life around him and do my best to make life fun. We go to the beach and he is very good doing art. I am a positive thinking person and have much patience because when I was growing up we had a special needs person in our house. My wife has a much harder time with him. Life is good and God is good and I feel like I was the one to make his life better. I am good with that. So much in your post I can relate to and it brings back some memories I can now laugh about. Well, I could go on about this but will stop for now. I wish for you much joy and I will start following your blog. Have a Wonderful Day! Jim

    • Thank you, thank you for sharing your journey. Reflections & encouragements from experienced parents give me great hope. You managed/loved/lived through years without the kind of research, progress & discoveries that we have access to these days. God bless you with grace upon grace!!

    • That was Christina, my guest, who got back to you, James. I was moved by your story. I caught a similar tale on NPR, parents who exhausted their lives caring for their autistic son whom they finally placed in a home. They loved him so much but it ended up being the best thing for their family — and him. He thrived there with all the supports and knowledgeable community who were trained to care for him. They had barely slept while he was under their roof. You are amazing for what you have shouldered with such love. Thank you for the follow.

      Blessings,

      Diana
      Blog Author

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  28. You captured my attention again. Keep these coming and I might one day tackle War and Peace or Atlas Shrugged. .
    John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Imagine that this new commandment replaces the 10 in the old testament. I bring this to your attention only because it seems that you practice this everyday.

    • The guest on this post (she had her own byline and signature) rec’d your comment but was confused because she’s not a blogger. Yes, I enjoyed your blog before you came over. This was a powerful piece I was so glad to be able to give voice to. Thank you for the support. =)

      Diana
      Blog Author

  29. Reblogged this on Olive Branches and commented:
    God is not surprised and He is in control.,
    My worth is not based on my accomplishments.
    Take the lemons and make lemonade.,
    Function as family, but let kids be kids
    Do not parent from fear.
    God’s dream for my children is better than mine.

    Beauty for ashes, beautiful, simply beautiful thoughts and lessons here, thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you for the taking to heart what’s shared & even reblogging it! I am humbled & overjoyed. My son just attended his senior prom last Saturday. God is so good. May the Spirit of God continue to bring faith & encouragement to all those needing this message. Thank you again for your encouragement.

My Two Gold Cents in the Holistic Treasury

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