When I first heard that Jaxon needed to be formally tested for autism, my heart broke. What would this mean for him and our family? I knew very little about autism, but what I did know was the road would be challenging, and we would have a lot to learn quickly, and it would be expensive.
I sought the Lord in prayer daily. I am now 55 years old. I was headed one way, and now my life has completely changed overnight. What is my purpose in all this? The Lord’s answer, I believe, is this – my mission field has changed.
Who I was before
I led women’s Bible studies and enjoyed teaching every week for years, hence this website. I have taught dozens of studies over the years and enjoyed getting to know the women and learning more about the Lord. I have made many friends along the way, and I cherish them all. I love recording videos of Bible lessons and posting them on YouTube. By the way, my channel still exists and has over a hundred Bible study videos, in case you’re interested. You can find my channel under The Teaching Lady.
My daughter is grown, and I was finally doing what I have always wanted to do and enjoy. Then, one day back in early 2020, my life changed before covid hit the fan.
Life didn’t change because of covid; that changed enough for everyone, but because I agreed to take in a little boy who would be homeless. His mom, my young niece, was doing the best she could but still needed to grow up, and raising a child and trying to get on her feet wasn’t working, so we took him in, and he has been with us since. I don’t regret that decision.
I never saw this coming. I never imagined my life would change so drastically, and I would find myself grasping daily for information about something I knew very little about, all the while trying to manage this little boy. His frustrations grew, and so did mine. Have you found yourself in the same situation?
When you set out to have children, do you ever picture yourself raising a beautiful child with autism? Probably not. But you have determined as we have to do everything you can to help make your child’s life as beautiful as possible, all the while struggling with feelings of isolation, denial, low self-esteem, feeling inadequate, frustration, and asking if this is my purpose in life. Some days go better than others, and some days we crawl into a ball and cry because we think we failed again.
Autism is difficult for children, and it is difficult for parents, grandparents, and anyone else raising a child with autism.
A community can be good.
I belong to a grandparents group on Facebook that consists of grandparents and older adults like myself who are starting over at 50 years and older raising their children’s children who are on the spectrum and are finding that we aren’t spring chickens anymore. We don’t have the energy levels we used to have when we were younger or the physical strength, but we have to keep up. We have no choice.
Stories abound in these autism groups about the struggles parents and caretakers have as they try to navigate the autism journey. I read stories of children destroying homes, getting kicked out of daycares, internal fighting among loved ones who disagree with the course of treatments or frankly refuse to accept the child may be autistic. I have read story after story, and it breaks my heart.
This can be a very isolating situation for families and caretakers. Not many people can understand what it’s like to plan out your day around food, supplements, outbursts, sensory challenges, non-verbalism, therapy sessions, and research, research, research, as you wait, wait, and wait for more therapy sessions, doctors appointments, and testing.
And let’s not forget the cost. Oh my goodness, the cost restricts so many families right now, which adds to the frustrations of trying to provide all they can for their child/children.
Sounds depressing, huh?
Let me encourage you the way others have encouraged me lately. You are not alone. The Lord sees your struggles, and he knows your needs before you need them. I have this question for you: Do you know the Lord? Do you know he loves you and is there to be your rock?
The Lord has been my strength and shield. I am here for such a time as this. Jaxon is my new mission field. Autism is my new mission field, my new purpose, and one I will grow through.
I cannot walk this autism road alone and cannot provide everything Jaxon needs myself. I take comfort in knowing the Lord sees my needs and moves among his people to provide. Those people may never fully comprehend the impact they have made in our lives. Knowing I don’t walk this road alone gives me great strength to keep pressing forward.
Have you considered that the journey you are now on is your purpose in life? You too are here for such a time as this.
Dear Lord, I thank you for all you have provided, everything from clean water to drink and food to eat. It is not lost on me right now that there are people on the other side of the world suffering and doing all they can to survive. Father, as we face our daily battles here at home, I ask that you comfort all the parents, grandparents, and caretakers raising children with autism. Please provide everything they need, especially strength, patience, wisdom, and stamina to get through the day. Father, please watch over their children. Lord forgive us of our sin when we have failed you and cleanse our hearts. Thank you for my purpose and give me what I need to carry it forward. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.
I love you, Lord!
The Teaching Lady