Why I Don’t Write About Autism Anymore

I almost titled this, “We’ve Still Got It!”  Sorry, a little autism humor.

I haven’t written much about Autism, in this space, lately. There’s a reason for that.

There was a time when Sweetboy was newly diagnosed and I needed to write of the devastation I felt at receiving the news that our child would face challenges more than your average bear. I needed every letter of the alphabet to deal with All The Feelings as they poured over me like a deluge.

So, I wrote through them.

Then came those times when I wanted to celebrate his victories and make note of every challenge he was able to overcome and highlight the achievements.

So, I wrote about them.

But, that Sweetboy is now fast approaching his fourteenth year. And you know what? He doesn’t want me to write about him here anymore.

Part of being a good story teller is knowing where your part of the story ends and another person’s begins. He would like to take over ownership of his story. And, to me, that is a grand new adventure!

I can’t wait to watch it unfold! I’m finding the beauty in watching my son, my Sweetboy, own who he is and choose to move forward from here on out.


Does that mean that Autism has no place here, anymore?

As if that could ever happen!

It does mean that I choose to honor and respect the wishes of this man-child. If he wants to share a story, you can be sure I’ll be making space for him to.

It’s all a grace, this parenting thing. And to parent a child with Autism is truly layer upon layer of grace. Daily. Hourly. Minute by agonizing minute.

But the joy of seeing your child continue to progress… there is nothing greater!

To those of you in the thick of the diagnosis, or the thrill of the achievement, warrior on! We are rooting for you and praying for you and loving on you from afar.

And always will be.

Yes indeedy!

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Write It With Your Feet

Sweetboy’s soccer team made it to the playoffs this weekend.  It was quite an accomplishment.  Even the coaches (whom we think are the bomb diggety) acknowledged that it was like they had their very own “Bad News Bears” team!

We were doubly excited for this opportunity because, as many of you know, Sweetboy is on the Autism Spectrum. And while this doesn’t mean much of anything to us in terms of his abilities, it does mean that he isn’t comfortable participating in group sport activities with typical children.  Weekly practices and weekend games are a struggle for this child who prefers the consistent environment of our safe and predictable four walls.

But, Sweetman and I decided about 3 years ago, that this was one sport that we would encourage him to be a part of. We wanted to give him opportunities to interact with his world in ways that would prepare him for the life he will someday have to live outside of our four walls. We contacted the local recreational soccer organization and laid out our wishes and concerns to them. They were welcoming and accepted the challenge to let him just be him and be a part of the group. We were (and are) so grateful.

Now, this child? He is no go-getter.  We’re 99.9% certain that he doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body. When Coach says “hustle”, he hears “meander”. His practice runs, dribbling the ball up and down the field each week, resembled erratic muscle spasms far more than intentional directing of the ball. But, each year, this quirky kid of ours has been able to practice being one part of a whole team.  And to us? Well, that’s all that matters, to be quite honest.

But this year? This year’s experience was spectacular.

For him and for us.

And not because we made it to the Championship game.

No. It was because any time our son’s foot even remotely looked like it was going to touch the ball, he had parents on the sidelines cheering him on wildly.  And when he actually attempted to kick the ball and his foot connected?  You could feel the encouragement literally carrying him along. And he felt it.  And he felt like he was part of something bigger than him. And he felt competent, whether he was or he wasn’t. Don’t we all just long to feel like we can accomplish something?

So, this morning, as we headed for the playoffs against a team they had lost to twice before (and lost big), Sweetboy had some words of wisdom to share:

“They’re just gonna beat us, today.”

And I took this golden opportunity for the teachable moment that it was. I asked him what Coach would think of his attitude?  He acknowledged she wouldn’t like it one bit.

“But it is true. They will beat us.  Probably 4 to 0 or 7 to 2 or something like that.”  (And these were the exact scores of the other games against this team, because we are wildly creative in our predictions around here.)

So, I told him that this story had not been written yet.  That he had the chance to write a new ending to the story of this game today.

And Sweetgirl piped up from next to him, “Yeah, write the new story with your feet.”

Indeed, Sweetgirl.

Indeed.

And he did!

They didn’t win.  But they came dern close.

5 to 4!

And our Sweetboy was On Fire today.  Everyone noticed it.  And everyone commented on it.

And even though his team ended up in second place, he felt like he was in first.

Because he wrote it so with his feet.

And that couldn’t fill us with more joy.

Could.

Not.

Indeed!

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A Salty Story

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The question was posed over and over and over again, this past weekend.

“What’s your story?”

The carefully crafted one minute snapshot of all that I hoped to convey through my words, whether written or spoken.

I had to be able to get right down to brass tacks and pique enough curiosity to spur a desire to know more.

And I wrestled.  Oh, how I wrestled.  The urge to blurt out, “My story isn’t anything special or exciting.” overtook me every time that question was asked. Despite my well thought-out pitch.

And it isn’t.

Except that it is.

Precisely because it’s mine.

God did not create me to be tasteless.  He created me to be salt.

And while salt surely can inflict pain, I prefer to think of my saltiness as being more curative. Much like the salt covering placed over foods to keep them from spoiling in historic times.

You see, I’ve felt spoiled.  I’ve known what it is to see my own flesh rotting on my bones; to smell it’s putrid stink.

And yet, there was One who redeemed me.  And stooped down to cover me with His grace galore.  A salty slathering of love reminding me that my story?  It needed to be told.

I shared it willingly.   With each person that asked, I shared of the grace I am smothered in.

And it was Spirit and Truth in each grain of salty goodness.

Yes indeedy.

It surely was.

I’ve so missed my friends over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday Link Up.  I’m joining in because my mind is still spinning with all of the salt and light that was shed at the SheSpeaks Conference, last weekend.  If you’d like to read what others felt led to write about this, hop on over to Lisa-Jo Baker’s place by clicking the button below.  Or, better yet, join in.  Just write for 5 minutes without editing or re-writing.  Happy Friday my friends!

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I Need To Remember

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I’ve been giving My Story quite a bit of thought lately.  We all have one. Some of us long to share ours. Some hide it deep in the recesses of our hearts, hoping that we never have to.  And still others seem to be able to tell theirs with abandon.

Which one are you?

God seems to be settling the weight of my task more firmly in my heart. Those Petal Soft Whispers are coming more and more frequently.  Through them, He’s been making it abundantly clear that I am to bring my story to Him, first.  I can honestly state that I am well and truly scared.  I need to remember that Perfect Love casts out fear.

Why do I struggle so mightily to step out in faith, in defiance of that fear?

Sifting through memories places me squarely in the sinking sand of emotions.  I find myself getting stuck on a particular period of time, and then on an exact year, and eventually, I feel like I’m sinking in the quicksand of a Specific Memory. I need to remember that God can pull me out.

Who is my solid rock on which I stand?

I’m at the point where I’m weeding through the parts of my story that aren’t mine to tell.  Obviously, my story can only be told from the perspective of the very heart that taps out the words.  But, I’ve started fretting over the wording of certain thoughts for fear of offending.  I need to remember to heed God’s whispers, not those of men.

If God is for me, whom shall I fear?

I’m going into the deepest darkest places.  But here’s the thing – God keeps shining the light of His truth into those places as I continue to learn to trust Him.  He keeps banishing the fear that tries so desperately to cripple me. My trust becomes more fully formed the more He loves me. I need to remember that it’s a matter of eternal perspective.

How do I refocus on the eternal in the midst of the daily?

It would seem, for me anyway, that this is also a maturing process.  The more words I present to my Audience of One to be sifted through, the more I realize that He has lessons for me that I haven’t mastered yet. I continually have to go back to Square One and ask Him to keep maturing me. I must keep asking Him to fill me with more Love to drive out the fear.  I need to remember that He is a Patient and Merciful Teacher.

How do I learn those lessons more quickly, Teacher?

At the end of the day, my only job is to submit what I feel He’s allowed me to see.  Those glimpses of heaven I’ve been given, here, on earth.  Those insights into grace seen on this side of glory.  Each piece of my story that I bring to God, He tenderly shapes and edits to fit His good purposes.  I need to remember that it is His Story, after all.

What about you? Do you long to tell your story?

May I encourage you to start getting it down?  Or to keep putting it down?  Or to bravely step out, with story in hand, knowing that if God’s been laying it on your heart to share it – then He will use it for His glory.

Or, maybe the desire of your heart isn’t quite fully formed in you. Yet.  I’d like to encourage you to keep praying for your desire to line up with God’s will until it becomes clear.

The truth is, that none of us, no – not a one, is fully formed yet.  We are all a work in progress.  Whatever that work may be.

And our job is to trust, but be ready. We must wait, while holding tight to the belief that God will reveal all in His perfect timing.  Not ours.

Oh Lord, form us fully in Your Love and help us to see Your Light in our story.