Autism, Motherhood and the Glory of God

On April 30, our eldest, Bailey, received an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. She is on the “high functioning” end, meaning you might not notice right away.

We’ve suspected for months, after some divinely appointed friendships and interactions that opened our eyes to what might name what we’ve been experiencing with B for years.

I am many things. Sad. Hopeful. Thankful. Overwhelmed. And while I am a part of this story, this is really her story and I’ve wrestled with what to share and how much. I’ve landed on sharing what will bring Jesus glory and what might help others. Bailey would want the same.

So while her social skills will take some intentional refining, she is absolutely brilliant.  I believe and pray that she will be given a story to tell. The Lord will use her mind for his glory in a very specific way. And we pray for the grace to steward her life well. The Lord has given a gift to us in her. She is an answer to prayer for grace. Patience. Unconditional Love.

She is the polar opposite of my spontaneous adventuring spirit. She makes me plan everything. She awakens in me the eyes to see and have mercy on the fear she feels. She helps me explain everything I take knowing for granted. I can’t describe my nerves when we know something might overwhelm or upset her. But I also have no words for the joy and pride I feel when she is brave, calm, and even excited for “new.”

She went to day camp today. For most, this is not a big deal. A mere childhood right of passage.  But we’ve prayed over this day for months. Even paying the registration fee for this 7 hours of camp left me with a pit in my stomach knowing it just might not work. I might end up taking her home stuck in a loop of irrational fear.

At the last minute I tried to control the outcome and desperately tried to make sure she would know someone in her group.

Despite my (and the camp’s) best efforts, I failed.

Yet, in my failure and subsequent fear, I heard a familiar voice whispering,

“Trust me.”

We texted our people begging for prayer. I drove her out this morning talking about saying “hi” and asking questions to help friendships form, all the while my heart cried out “Jesus this is all on you!” over and over.

We met her group leader and a few other girls her age, and after about 8 hugs, Bailey beamed up at me and said “I’m excited mom!”

I walked out the door with a backdrop of loud music and laughter. No screaming. No one had to hold her back. I didn’t have to wipe away tears as I left.

She was happy while I walked out the door.

Amazed. Thankful. So.Very.Proud.

Feeling courageous in the midst of her fear will likely always be a war we’ll have to wage together. But as much as Bailey needed today to build her confidence, I needed it more.

I needed to give up control.

I needed it to be all on Jesus.

I’m going to wrestle this need to protect my daughter from loneliness, fear, anxiety, you name it, for years to come I’m sure. But this is a marker in the wilderness for us. Today was a day we will look back on to remember the Lord’s faithfulness and providence and care.

When I think about it, all of motherhood is truly all on Him anyway, regardless of the particular struggles we and our children might be facing. If we want to have any sort of peace and hope for the future of our kids, we need to wake up each day, give up control and cry out to Jesus “this is all on you! Help me today!” and look for the ways he answers our prayers. And we need to share them with each other when things are bleak. We all just need reminders now and then.

So just as Joshua set up the stones to be reminded of God’s protection and provision for them when they passed over the Jordan River on miraculous dry ground, these posts remind me of God’s miraculous-to-us interventions and provisions when we need him most.

20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal.  And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’  then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’  For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
(Read more in Joshua 4)
Lord give us eyes to see and ears to hear of your wondrous deeds and may we tell of your faithfulness to all generations.

One thought on “Autism, Motherhood and the Glory of God

  1. Wilma Frederick says:

    Nothing new with this, Carly! Once again the Lord has trusted your faithfulness as He has pushed you and James out front to lead the way. Faithful servants. Obedient children. How He loves you. And He’s got this all the way.

    Willie F.


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