I used to worry a lot about how my son with autism would be able to comprehend an invisible, triune God. After all, autism means the odds are high that he will be a very literal and visual learner. After his twin sister accepted Jesus at the young age of 3 1/2, my concerns hit the accelerator with force.
Carrying twins for my 1st pregnancy experience was one way I broke the mold of typical. Carrying those twins to 39 weeks, when all the books end at 34-36 weeks? That’s a whole other story.
I had no idea what to expect that last month, except to know that it probably wouldn’t go that much longer…but it did.
I longed for the books to tell me what to expect. I may have even begged the books to add a few more chapters to include those weeks!
Even though my pregnancy didn’t happen according to the books, I wanted to read about it anyway. The fog of the future would seem clearer with knowledge, accurate or not.
But no one had written those chapters.
I should have known that this would not be the last time there was no instruction manual in my parenting journey.
Having kids on the autism spectrum that didn’t match “What To Expect The Toddler Years” or later, for that matter, left me floundering like a fish in a new tank. I wished (and still do) for a manual on how things will go in the future.
I especially would like a manual for my 9 year old, who has baffled everyone who tries to help him—he has a “doesn’t want to” problem:
• Doesn’t want to change.
• Doesn’t want to eat real food.
• Doesn’t want to follow a routine.
• Doesn't want to wear clothes in the house.
• Doesn't want to sleep on a bed.
• Doesn't want to be quiet and calm when everyone else is asleep.
He certainly knows what he doesn’t want!
He has the explosions and meltdowns that sometimes seem trigger-free. He has an out-of-sync sensory system that bobbles from one extreme to the other without warning, baffling those who work with him.
There is no manual for him. There is nothing that says what I should do when he does that.
I long for something to give me a heads up on what to expect in the next year or two.
I mean, theteen-age years are coming, for crying out loud!
Perhaps you have experience this too? Are you are going full speed on a parenting train ride and you don’t know where this train is going?
I have heard parents of typical kids say they wish their child came with a manual, too. They spend many hours reading all the parenting books and searching for answers.
Often, the advice in those books is not right for our child because it is general advice for all children.
We end up with a false sense of clarity and expectation.
Sometimes that feels better than not knowing at all, but it’s an illusion.
The benefit of having a different child, is that we learn a bit earlier that there is only One who really knows our little one.
The Master Crafter himself knows all the ins and outs and He is the one that gently guides us as we raise our children.
No illusions, just perfectly crafted guidance for our child.
I want to share with you a scripture that I have been praying for my 9 year old.
You may wish to substitute his name with your child’s name. The picture this verse paints in my mind induces a beautiful calm amidst all the uncertainty:
“You promise to tend your flock like a shepherd. Gather Steve like a lamb in your arms and carry him close to your heart. And, just as you promised to gently lead those that have young, teach us, as parents, how to lead, and guide, and care for Steve. (Isaiah 40:11)
What is your story?
Donald Miller talks a lot about how well we learn from each others stories. I wonder what your story is?