Today I was hit right square in the “feels”. My phone greeted me this morning with my Facebook Memories, which are a recap of things you’ve shared on Facebook in years passed.

One year ago, I shared a picture and an update about Augustus, who had just turned 18 months old.

The caption to this picture read:

This guy is 18-months-old today! 😲 Can you believe it!? I can’t. 😒 He is a boy of few words, which I think is largely in part to the fact that his older sister never stops talking. πŸ˜„ He is always on the move.πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ Even when he watches tv, he walks around. He loves to crawl up onto things and climb. πŸ˜“ He has grown 3 INCHES in the last 6 months, and is very close to being off the charts for his height. His height to weight ratio is perfect. So, in other words, he’s a big ol’ healthy boy! πŸ’ͺ He’s still a big eater and isn’t too picky. πŸ— He adores books and asks to be read to often. πŸ“— He also likes to sit by himself and look at books. He’s really into throwing and rolling balls around.⚾️ He loves anything with wheels. 🏍 He has a little camoflauge blankie with a stuffed animal deer head on it that is his absolute goto for comfort. ☺ He has to have it to sleep. 😴 He’s big on sleep. He gets a little fussy and wants to go to bed or take a nap and is all for it. πŸ‘ He still likes to wrestle and often uses his head as a weapon. 😏 His sister likes to boss him around and even push him around. 😣 He’s such a lover, though. He usually doesn’t fight back. He loves to give hugs and kisses, and loves to rest his head against mine for some snuggles. He is the sweetest. πŸ˜πŸ’™

Sweet, huh?

Then, in the comments, I elaborated on some details my friends had inquired about:

At this time we were starting to come to terms that maybe something was going on with Gus, but just weren’t sure, and not yet willing to admit it.

I could take the caption to that adorable picture and pick it apart, piece by piece, and show you that what I was describing, although very vaguely and unaware, were some of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder and sensory processing disorder.

Autism taketh away…

Notice in the comments I mentioned the words he was using? Although they were few, he was using words; for a while. They eventually went away.

That’s what really hit me. It hit me that I’m not even sure I remember what that sweet little voice sounded like, because I never thought it would go away. We all take so many things for granted, such as the voices of our loved ones. I was fortunate enough to hear him say “mama”, which is more than some can say, and I am blessed in that.

That’s what autism has taken away. It took away my son’s voice; his ability to communicate verbally. What I wouldn’t give to hear him say “I love you.” I’d even love to hear him argue with his sister.

While he still makes noises and sounds, he does not speak. Maybe he will again one day, but maybe he wont.

Autism took away the future I saw for my son and my family.

Autism took the wind out of my sails (initially).

Autism rules my schedule and routines.

Autism filled me with doubt and changed the way I see almost everything.

Autism requires my son, my baby, to work so much harder than most to be socially accepted and understood and to learn. He learns differently.

He is different not less!

Autism giveth…

Autism has given me absolute proof that love requires no words. None. That in itself is probably worth more than everything it has taken away.

Autism has given me a new outlook on life and a new way to view things.

Autism has broadened my horizons and introduced me to things and people I would have likely never come across otherwise.

I’ve got some hella wind in my sails now! It took it away, but sent it back with a vengeance.

Autism has given me understanding.

Autism has given me an understanding that words are not needed to communicate.

Autism has given me strength; so much strength.

Autism has renewed my faith and renewed my trust in God.

Autism has given me an entirely unique, loving, affectionate, smiley, and happy son to fulfill my life; my family’s lives.

God has entrusted me with what is perfect and planned for me.

I always wanted to be a mother. That’s all I ever knew. When it became obvious that may never happen I turned to fertility treatments and had my beautiful daughter. Then God, in his own timing, blessed our family with this amazing and unique little boy who would bring us all together and build us all up in strength, understanding, and love, and show me a side of motherhood many don’t see.

Both of my children are perfect for me and to me.

Autism: It Giveth and It Taketh Away

– AMomsFaithUnbroken

Autism: It Giveth and It Taketh Away

Those Dark & Scary Places

I want to talk about the dark, scary, somber and lonely places our mind can take us. Those places where we isolate ourselves, blame ourselves, blame others, doubt ourselves, doubt others, doubt our worthiness, and even doubt our worthiness in God’s eyes. The places that keep us anxious and frightened. The places that keep us from being happy where we are at. Those dark & scary places.

We all have to consciously make an effort to “not go there”; to not let our mind wander; to not let others lead us there; not let our circumstances keep us there; and not let the devil tempt us there. Those dark & scary places.

I will openly admit that I have always been a worrier, and one to go to and linger in those dark & scary places. I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety even in what could be seen from the outside as some of the happiest times of my life. I do feel we can be predisposed to anxiety and depression. Nobody wants to be anxious or depressed. I do feel there is a genetic aspect. I’ve dealt with such for most of my adult life, but have found relief from medication at times, friends, family, and most of all God.

Since I have started down the path of the unknown with my son’s diagnosis of autism, I have had to fight especially hard to stay out of those dark & scary places.

Of course, I have been looking to my faith to help me be strong in every way, but sometimes I still fall victim and am tempted, pushed, or fall into those dark & scary places.

I decided to do some research on God’s view on autism. I consulted with Mr. Google, and he led me to a very dark & scary place. I came across an article that claimed those born with autism are cursed with a dark and evil spirit and will be healed once that evil is cast out. This claim was even backed by stories in scripture. I choose not to share such with you, because I don’t want to go back to that place and read those terrible words again; I don’t mean the words of the scripture, but the words that used that scripture to take me to a dark & scary place. This article made me doubt, made me place blame, made me feel guilty, and made me feel as if God himself was punishing me. My mind spiraled out of control.

I then began to look at other Bible verses such as Isaiah 65:6-7 (NIV)

6 β€œSee, it stands written before me:

I will not keep silent but will pay back in full;
I will pay it back into their lapsβ€”
7 both your sins and the sins of your ancestors,”
says the Lord.
β€œBecause they burned sacrifices on the mountains
and defied me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps
the full payment for their former deeds.”

I kept replaying in my mind “You shall pay for the sins of your fathers.” I don’t mean literally my father, but my ancestors. This then morphed into me feeling like I was being punished by God. This then led to me going over all the reasons he would have to punish me…I used fertility treatments to conceive, I played God, therefore, God in his anger gave me a child, no fertility treatments needed, but gave me a child that has disabilities as a punishment.

Thankfully, I later realized that thinking that way was absolutely a sin in itself. It was most definitely the devil planting those seeds of doubt in my mind and leading me astray. God does not punish us for our sins or for the sins of our ancestors as is told later in the Bible. My punishment for my sin and those of my ancestors was put on the life of Jesus. Jesus died on the cross for all sin; present, past, and future. My debt has been paid through His blood.

A dear friend also helped me out of those dark & scary places. She reminded me that with fertility treatments or not, if I were not meant to have children God would not have given me children. We all have free will, but God is ultimately in charge.

I believe God does discipline us in that he places us in circumstances and situations that refocus us on Him; to become closer to Him; to be reminded how much we need Him; to keep us aware that our actions do have consequences. Discipline is different than punishment.

Hebrews 12:5-7 (NIV)

5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, β€œMy son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

It’s so easy to let the devil place those seeds of doubt in our minds. Truly, all we have to do is look to scripture to know that he is dead wrong.

Everyone always says “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” I don’t think this is true at all. I think God absolutely will give us more than we can handle so we will turn to him and become closer to him; this goes back to being disciplined but not punished.

It’s somewhat embarrassing to admit that I let the devil in and that I spent some time in those dark & scary places, but I share in hopes of helping you to realize that this kind of unhealthy and sinful thinking is just the devil getting in. Don’t let him in. Whether he tries to snake his way in through the internet, others’ comments, an unfortunate circumstance or bad experience, keep in mind that you are a cherished and loved child of God. Consciously make an effort to stay out of the dark & scary places, and be on the lookout for the devil trying to put you there. Even if you’re already in those dark & scary places or find yourself there again, look to Him to consciously find your way out, and remember you are forgiven.

– AMomsFaithUnbroken