Dear Joy: To my Daughter with ASD
Happy Birthday, my baby girl! I can’t believe you are four years old today! So much has changed in our lives since this time last year, yet by choosing joy in God’s plan for your life, I am forever changed for the better.
You see it’s been almost 9 months since you were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, and I remember it like it was yesterday. When I heard the news, I started crying, of course, but felt God whisper to me that it was all going to be alright and with His help, we would be able to conquer ASD in our own way and have a wonderful life together!
When we went home from the testing, I felt as though nothing and yet everything had changed. Most importantly, we still were and always would be, a family, brought together by God to be your Forever Family. On the day you were born I promised to love you unconditionally and to be the best mom I could be, no matter the mountains we would have to climb, hand in hand, together as a family. If possible, I mean that promise more now, with your diagnosis, than the day you were first placed in my arms and I became a mom.
With this new direction and path, I promise to protect you and shield you from a world that wants to, but doesn’t fully understand Autism yet. Sometimes people can be harsh and critical, but because we are all sinners by birth and lost, I vow to help them appreciate who you are; a miracle and gift from the Lord. Your hands may flap and your words may be few, but you are important and the world has much to learn about God’s love and faithfulness from your little life.
I will help push you, sometimes beyond your frustration level, as you strive to accomplish new skills. I understand that you may need some extra time to grasp new concepts and I promise to cheer you on every step of the way, louder and prouder than anyone. It doesn’t matter what your abilities may or may not be, I will always be your #1 fan, and celebrate each milestone as you achieve it.
Have I mentioned lately how proud of you I am? It’s so true! Every new skill, when you use your “big girl words” or when you look me in the eye with those huge, puppy dog eyes you have, makes me swell with pride. I want to shout to everyone I know (and even those I don’t) that my girl, regardless of a label or not, just did something amazing.
I’m thankful that the word Autism is now used to describe you. I know that may sound a little silly, but it has freed me tremendously. I now know that you can’t help it when you tantrum or bang your head. I now know that is your way of communicating and it means you are frustrated and want my help. It has helped me understand you more and God has granted me more strength to parent you, even though I am far from perfect.
Forgive me for the times I am easily frustrated with behaviors you can’t control. I pray daily that God will grant me more strength for the difficult days and the ability to pour grace into your life when your curiosity gets you into trouble. I am human, just like you, and while I wish I could say I had all of the answers to life figured out, especially to Autism, I don’t.
My guidance along this great unknown of ASD comes only from faith in the Lord, as I have learned to open my hands to Him, releasing my hopes and dreams for you back to Him. I have learned through the trials of this life, how God’s path, although sometimes a little more rocky and tough to navigate, is paved with His power and might, and will end with the glory of Him, not with earthly limitations and trouble.
Every day I pray for God to grow your smart brain even more than He already has. I love that He knows the paths you will take and what your capabilities will be. For awhile, I was overwhelmed wondering about your future, feeling like somehow I had to know your path now. Thankfully, God reminded me that not only did I not have to know your path, but that He had your path under control. You see, He formed you and made you. He gave you life and knew all of your quirks, the things that make you you, before you were even born. Don’t ever let anyone tell you these things are a mistake. God sees you like I do, whole and without neurological imperfections. I rest in knowing He NEVER makes mistakes. He made you you for a reason. My prayer is that in your own way, you will shine for Jesus and bring glory to His name.
I am blessed, proud and humbled to be your mom. I love you, big girl!
Happy Birthday little one. Gramps and I love you so much. Look forward to being with you next week.
Beautiful! You sounds like a gorgeous family!!! Happy birthday to your little sweetheart!
Please ignore the spelling mistakes! My own little sweetheart has been sick and kept me up all night! 😉
Thank you, Madaline! I appreciate you stopping by and can totally relate to being up all night with a little one. Get some rest if you can!
Happy Birthday, Joy!
Happy Birthday Sweet Joy!!
Your letter is precious, Sarah Ann. Though we don’t have the same story, having a daughter who has navigated life differently every victory was a huge praise. Praying that you will continue to see His grace and feel His presence as you live life together.:)
Thank you, my friend! Walking the road of a special needs parent is not easy, but God is SO faithful to provide every step of the way!