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Lessons from Autism: Amazing Grace

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I’m a singer at heart, although I am pretty sure I wouldn’t make it through the blooper round of American Idol. Out of habit, I burst into song at random times throughout the day and even make up words to popular tunes to entertain my little loves. While my kids are my favorite audience, they’ve started asking me NOT to sing. Oh my!  How at 2 and 4 did they already grow tired of my voice? I love sharing old hymns and songs of faith with my babies, since one my favorite ways to connect with God is through worship.  When words evade me in prayer or I struggle to connect to the Bible, a song always stirs my soul and moves me towards the presence of the Lord. Sometimes, I find my hands raised high, eyes closed, belting slightly off-key and I’m completely lost giving thanks to my God for His mighty presence.

The song Amazing Grace has always been a favorite.  It reminds me of where I came from; a teenager who had no idea how lost she was. At the tender age of 15 I had no idea I wanted, let alone needed, a relationship with God.  I certainly wasn’t looking for it, but when God calls you to be His, there is nothing to do but follow Him.

Maybe it’s the lyrics of that old hymn that captures me or the sweet melody that holds my heart, but I’ve always been fascinated at the concept of grace. According to Biblestudytools.com (my new favorite site!), grace is: fogiveness, repentance, regeneration and salvation.

I am who I am today because of grace.  I am so thankful my sins were washed as white as snow the minute I admitted my need for a Savior and asked Him to save my lost spirit.  That cold December day, I emerged a new creation in Christ and I was set free from the bondage of sin. PRAISE.THE.LORD!!!!

Sometimes, I don’t live in that freedom and become easily irritated and frustrated with my family, especially my Joy who struggles to manage her Autistic behaviors. Even though Jesus gave me grace freely and is always ready to my forgive the multitude of imperfections, I don’t treat others that same way and fall short to shower lavishly with forgiveness.

But there is something life-altering about parenting a child who is out of control, and loving a child whom on some days you can’t help or reach.

There’s something about holding her as she screams in the middle of the night because she can’t sleep.

There’s something about prying your bloody finger out of her mouth because she bit you so hard and wouldn’t let go.

There’s something about the madness of our everyday life that reminds me of God’s grace.

On days where I have battled her tantrums, her desire to communicate but lack of ability, and her general orneriness, I am floored by the whispers of grace from the Lord. In moments when I am angry and overwhelmed, He calls me not to stay in that place of frustration. He beckons me to extend the same humbling grace to her tiny heart that God poured out for me on Calvary. Joy needs me to be the mom who can brush off a bad day or string of unfortunate events because I too have been forgiven and experienced the miracle of grace first hand. Since I’ve been transformed by the power of true forgiveness,  God calls me to move past the frustration parenting a child on the spectrum can bring and demonstrate the power of God’s forgiveness to her.

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Those whispers of grace remind me to forgive myself when I have moments of questioning and feel defeated.  Those whispers of grace remind me that He has already forgiven my occasional “bad mom attitude” and feeling of selfishness.  The beauty of grace is that it is not a one time occurrence.  His mercies are new EVERY morning and every minute. He is ready to wipe the slate clean time and time again, in moments I have it all together and times I struggle with failure.

Grace in our house means banishing the thoughts of the bad days as far as the east is to the west, just as God does with our sin.

Grace means meeting Joy in her weakest moments and loving her despite her behaviors, just as God forgives us.

Grace means recognizing her total dependence and reliance on us, just as we have a desperate need for the Lord.

Grace IS amazing!!!

How do you live out the grace of the Lord in your everyday lives?  Is there someone you need to extend grace to today and show them lavish forgiveness the way that Christ forgave you?

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This was linked to Serving Joyfully.

About Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann is a perfectly imperfect wife and mother, and is thankful for the saving grace of the Lord. When she’s not busy folding yet another load of laundry or comforting a crying child, she enjoys studying God’s Word, writing, and spending time with authentic friends. She's passionate about equipping women to live with intentional faith, family, home, and habits at Proverbs31Mentor.com. Join her for biblical encouragement and practical lifestyle tips to help you live on mission for the glory of God.

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11 Comments

  1. I can’t believe they are asking you to stop singing at such young ages! Mine still haven’t 🙂
    Extending grace is so tough, but I find I have several neighbors who apparently need it bad. When I am frustrated and thinking angry thoughts, Jesus whispers that I need to pray for them. That is definitely NOT my natural reaction!

    1. Sarah, I’m jealous your kids still wants to hear you sing! Ha! Grace is a HUGE weakness of mine but as with most things, I am a work in progress. 🙂

  2. Praying for you/your family, and thankful God saw fit for you to raise a child who would need your extra love and tender care. I also love your worship scene. I find myself in those moments as well. Blessings (:

    1. Aww, thanks Madelain! God does know what He is doing and even in those moments I see as challenging, He is using them to grow me for His glory. I’m so glad you stopped by and look forward to checking out your blog!!!

  3. What a beautiful message of grace . . . received and extended. That’s the life of faith in family and in community, sharing what we have been given. Beautiful Sarah Ann. Blessings and hugs!

  4. we both have a 2 and a 4 yr old..they too have asked me not to sing..lol
    love all your post..your thoughts..your faith..your strength and courage.

    have a great weekend!

    1. Haha, Khit! I am so glad I am not the only one! Thank you for your kindness and sweet words. They are a blessing to me! I love your blog as well!

  5. Thank you for this post. My sister, who is nearly 28, is autistic but began to lash out at those who love her after someone else abandoned her. It’s not easy, especially when she lashes out physically, but you are right, we need to show her grace.

    1. Rachel, Thank you for stopping by! Autism can be daunting and frustrating some times. Relying on God gets me through those tough moments and He is leading our family to better ways to manage her when times are tough. Many blessings to you and your sister!

  6. Sarah Ann,
    I’m Rachel’s mom and she is a wonderful sister to her special sister, Sarah, as are her other two sisters who still live at home. Our situation is unique in we always suspected Sarah was autistic but high functioning. When she was abandoned by her older sister it totally devastated her and caused an emotional and spiritual breakdown and her autism became obvious. At that time everything changed, she went from a smiling happy 24 year old to an angry and out of control broken 4 year old who was trapped in the body of a 24 year old. We have been working for 18 months to reclaim the Sarah we had. God has been our rock! I can’t imagine getting through this without Him. Knowing He is in control brings such peace and comfort. I know that no matter how out of control things seem to me, He has a plan.

    I have found that by starting every day by praying for wisdom as to how to handle what I’m dealing with at the moment has helped me tremendously. More times than I can count the answer has become apparent within a short time. The other day it came to me as clear as day, it was the verse about putting off sin, and putting on righteousness. I have made Sarah emotion cards so that she can express what she’s feeling; this time we changed it up and used them to show the emotions God wants us to choose. This caused a great breakthrough. It’s been a rough week with lots of extreme outbursts, but He has helped us, given us a plan, and helped us to show her grace as well as ourselves.

    Thanks for the encouragement and reminder, they greatly blessed this momma today!

    1. Lora, Wow! What a story! Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I love the idea of praying specifically for wisdom and will be continuing to do so. I can’t imagine your heartbreak at the regression but it sounds like you are on the right track for recovery. I will be praying for your family and specifically that God will heal Sarah and bring restoration to her life. I’ll be praying for strength and courage for you as you parent and guide her back. May God bless you all! Please stop by and keep me updated on how you are doing!!! Hugs!!

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