Did You End Up On An Unexpected Train?

 

Floundering Fish
Like a fish out of water

 The Unexpected Train Ride

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, the teen-age years are coming, for crying out loud!

 

Full Speed Ahead
Full Speed Ahead

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 Upside

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)

The twins first stuffed animal was a lamb
The twins first stuffed animal was a lamb

 

What is your story?

Donald Miller talks a lot about how well we learn from each others stories.  I wonder what your story is?

I would love to hear from you!

Driving Out Fear

Driving Out Fear

Before we ever knew about autism, when we thought our adorable twins were like all other adorable twins but cuter and ours, I took them for a little "floatation trip" to the lake. They were 8 or 9 months old at the time, and I packed up all our luggage (since luggage is needed when you go to the lake with infant twins!) and met my friend who lived nearby and loved my babies like me.

We blew up the baby flotation devices and put sunscreen all over my then bald children and carried them to the water.

In the middle of the lake, standing shoulder deep in water while holding the floats steady, the twins looked very peaceful. So at rest.

And they were. Practically asleep but not quite. Just so content.

"Look at how at peace they are in the water. They know their Momma loves them."  My friend commented.

Later that month, she sent me a card with a photograph she took of them in the water. On the card she wrote, "Perfect loves casts out fear."  1 John 4:18

The moment I received that card, I knew I had misunderstood that verse my whole life and the true meaning of it overwhelmed my suddenly flooded mind and heart.

The twins were so peaceful because they were secure in my love for them. They new they were safe, not because of where they were, who they were or what their abilities were, but because they were with me.  Their security came from knowing my love for them.

And our security comes from knowing God's love for us.

I finally came to realize, that if I'm afraid or anxious, it isn't for a lack of MY love, but because I'm not secure in HIS perfect love for me.

Taking the focus off of myself, off of my ability to love others and rather focus on Gods ability to love me perfectly does in fact, cast out fear.

When we are flooded with Gods perfect love for us, why would we be afraid? We'd trust Him completely with our lives and the lives of our loved ones. What will we fear if we know the God of the universe has us in the palm of His hand?

Yesterday we said goodbye to Stevie's Case Manager. She accepted a promotion and will be moving on in the company. Her words to us as she left our house for the last time, captured my attention.

She said something like, "You guys always laugh. Things that happen with Stevie that would put other families in to crisis, you all see differently. You see from a different viewpoint, and it is so refreshing. I always know when I come visit you, I will be laughing."

At first I was surprised. What had we gone through that would put others into crisis but not us? What do we see differently?

And then I realized it was our knowing that our children are secure in the hands of a God who loves them more than we can every fully grasp.

That's what makes the difference.

We know our kids have a purpose. A big one, an intentional one that is part of a great plan.

We know our kids see things differently, and we know that is a part of His Great Plan for them, for us and for the world He loves.

We can embrace the way our children are, because we know God made them in His image. God reveals a little bit more of himself in these neuro-diverse kids than was revealed before, and I don't know about you...

but I think it's beautiful.

Knowing God's perfect love for us means we don't have to fear for our kids or for ourselves.

We know God's got this.

And that makes the all difference.