Friday, June 27, 2008

Autism Adventure: Part III

We may have been calm and collected on diagnosis day, but even by day two I was showing signs of stress. My Bible study leader called to ask how things went, and for some reason I couldn't even remember the name of the disorder he had been diagnosed with!

There was a lot to deal with that first week. Setting up schedules with all the new therapists was not easy. It seemed so convenient that all the therapy would be provided in our home, until I found out that the only time anybody could come see us was in the middle of nap time. I was reading several different books on autism, which were both helpful and overwhelming. The "to do" list seemed never-ending.

And then there was our life outside of autism that got interesting too. The same week Ryne was diagnosed, we found out I was pregnant with Grace! We were thrilled, but it was still a lot to take in. Just telling having to tell others about autism and pregnancy in the same breath was surreal. But God's timing is perfect -- often He would use the pregnancy to help me keep things in perspective.

As I mentioned earlier, many people had been praying for our family while we went through all of this. Of course this included our wonderfully supportive family and friends, but it also included our Bible Study family. Marc and I were both Children's Leaders for Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) -- him in an evening men's class, and myself in a women's day class. So once a week we would have the actual study where the class members would study their Bible's, and we would teach in the Children's Department. On another day of the week we would meet with just the leaders for training, study, and fellowship. Our respective leaders circles were a great source of support and comfort during this time.

One morning at a leader's meeting, one of the other leaders pulled me aside and handed me a small piece of paper. It was the page from one of those Scripture-of-the-day calendars, and the verse was 2 Corinthians 12:9, "But [the Lord] said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'" I smiled and sincerely thanked this woman for thinking of us and praying for us. And I smiled as I read the verse that has given comfort to many Christians in times of trouble. I'm sure it meant a lot to the lady that gave it to me -- she also has a son on the spectrum. But I admit I didn't really hide that verse in my heart until months later.

One night in particular, I sat in bed and just cried. I was tired. Tired of autism. Tired from being pregnant. Tired of feeling like Anna was being neglected. Tired of just about everything. I tried praying, but ended up just crying more. And then instead of just crying, I cried out. "God, I just don't even know how to pray anymore. I don't even know what to pray for." I drifted in and out of sleep for a while. And then I felt the faint kick of the baby in my tummy. She had only recently started kicking, so I smiled thinking of the baby we had just found out was going to be a girl. We already had her name picked out -- Grace. I had my hand on my tummy, thinking of little Grace when I finally got it. Grace. What did that verse say? My grace is sufficient for you.

God used our baby's name to remind me that His grace is ALL we need. When explaining the term grace to my kids, I often say it is an undeserved gift from God, and that because we are all born sinners no one deserves His grace. So grace can be kindness God shows believers in everyday life, like when He answers a prayer in an unexpected way. But ultimately God's grace is in Jesus Christ. And that is what struck me on that tearful night. All I needed was God's grace through belief in His Son. God's grace is bigger than autism or any other problem I might face. And it is when we are weak that we really see just how powerful God's grace is. When we are feeling strong, we are more likely to focus on ourselves and just get things done. But when we're feeling like I was feeling like that night, we realize that our strength means nothing. It was so comforting that I didn't need to know how or what to pray. It didn't matter that I felt completely powerless. At the end of the day, all that mattered was that I was His, and He was mine.

That was not the last tearful moment in our autism adventure. But it was the last time I had such a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. God frequently reminds me again and again that His grace is truly sufficient in not just our autism adventure, but all of life.


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog and letting me know about yours, Kellie. Your experiences with your son are very interesting - and they make me so thankful that I have been blessed with four kids who are really very average!
    I go to BSF as well, and was a children's leader for a short time. A lot of what I do with my kids in Circle Time is built upon what I learnt from BSF.
    Did you know that Anna also means grace? My firstborn son's middle name is Mercy. We were very aware of God's mercy to us when he was born, and it just seemed right. I love the special privilege of parents in choosing names for their children. I have taken full advantage of it with mine!
    ~ Sharon from Equip Academy

  2. Sharon,

    I didn't even realize you had left a comment -- I always thought blogger would notify me if a comment was posted. This may be my first comment -- you should get a special prize!

    Yes, I noticed on your blog you go to BSF and I'm envious that you get to take your kids to the children's program. We miss it so much! I too draw a lot from my CL training to use in homeschooling and serving in our church.

    And, yes, I knew about Anna meaning Grace -- the girls think it's pretty neat that their names mean the same thing.

    Thank you for visiting! I've been looking through some of your old posts and learning so much.