Part of the reason I started my blog was to have a platform to share my family’s journey in recovering two of our children from autism. On the one hand, it is very personal and private. Such a scary time that I want to erase from my memory. On the other hand, God led us to recovery, and it’s my duty to share how He did it. The Holy Spirit keeps nagging me to tell our story just in case it helps someone else.
When something traumatic happens in life, I think it’s pretty common to think of that event as a divider. This happened to me with autism. I fondly remember my life B.A. (Before Autism) as a time of playgroup fun, trips to McDonald’s, Pottery Barn decorations, and blissfully driving through fast food places to get my Pepsi fix.
Then there is life A.A. (After Autism). My life stopped. Honestly, way deep down inside, a part of me broke. I was consumed with hours of therapy, researching biomedical treatments, feeling the burden of making the right treatment decisions, worrying about finances, and trying to keep my family together—all while desperately trying to save my children. No more McDonald’s or Pepsi (too toxic!), and the playgroup friends all grew up, just like my children who left the autism behind.
Now, praise God, I live in L.A.R. (Life After Recovery). It is a wonderful, happy place to be. Life is full of baseball practices, band concerts, Nutcracker performances, basketball games, sleepovers, and wrestling with friends. We have weird vitamins and chiropractic visits to stay healthy. Most of my brokenness is healed, but a small crack remains.
Plan A was to write a book entitled Walking with God Out of Autism. I even have a picture (who knows where it is now?) of Mike and me walking on the beach holding hands with Drake and Blaise. That picture was going to be on the cover!
Time flew by. Life happened. God blessed us with five more children! The book will never happen, so now I have Plan B—posting “Autism Flashbacks” on my blog to describe our journey. I have so many moments in time that, years later, still jump out at me. I can’t guarantee my posts will be in chronological order, but they will be honest. I need to tell our story to heal.
FACING THE FEAR
- I fear the autism will come back.
- I fear my younger children, especially the boys, will regress.
- I fear feeding my younger boys wheat and milk, terrified that these foods will trigger autism. Read this to understand why.
- I fear letting my toddlers out of my sight, even to spend the night with Grandma, because I am afraid I won’t see “it” happening. I will miss the regression, and they will be lost forever.
- I fear that the autism is still there a little bit. I didn’t do enough to heal them, I should’ve tried harder. It’s all my fault.
- I fear autism.
Now, before you start thinking I’m too crazy, the fear doesn’t control me. In fact, the fear only pops up on occasion—right now I have a 6-month-old son (one of my children had a life-threatening regression at 6 months) and a 23-month-old son (my other child was disappearing at this age). I do my very best to give my fear to God. He will heal me just like He healed my children.
Also know that I will love my children no matter what disability they have or challenges they face in life. The autism that happened to my children was not something they were born with. They were developing normally and were ripped away from me. God led us to doctors who helped us heal their broken immune systems, healing their brains. Their smiles, laughter, and words returned!
My fear of autism is no different than someone else’s fear of cancer or drug addiction. You could exchange autism for many different diseases or situations, but they all cause suffering. We all fear the unknown. We want the suffering gone. Right now.
Nine years ago, when we were deep into detox and therapy, I hit a breaking point. I cried a lot back then, especially during mass. I read Psalm 13 and prayed it,
looking for demanding answers:
How long, O LORD? Will you utterly forget me? How long will you hide your face from me? How long shall I harbor sorrow in my soul, grief in my heart day after day? Look, answer me, O LORD, my God!
Clear as a bell, a male voice spoke to me and said
“They are going to be OK.”
Peace washed over me. I knew it was God talking to me. My boys were going to be OK! From that point on, I just had to go back to those words and trust that God was healing my children. Trusting God and fear don’t go together!
April is Autism Awareness month. Newly released numbers indicate that 1 in 68 U.S. children will be diagnosed with autism (1 in 42 boys). I am taking a deep breath, telling the fear to leave my body. I unite it with Jesus on the cross, offering it up for those families who suffer because of autism.
The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little. 1 Peter 5:10