Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Italy



Today I passed a sign while creeping along in traffic. I bet I've passed it 30+ times but have never noticed it before. Not today, today it stood out to me so much that I took a picture and I knew instantly what it was.

I've had an interesting few weeks with God recently particularly in regards to Lincoln and him being free from autism.  He has been speaking some pretty cool things to my heart and I'm finally starting to pay attention again. It has been pretty incredible and encouraging to me in this season of life.

It's been a journey and a long one at that, in just  a short time; Lincoln's life. Specifically believing that we'd not have to be visiting Holland for long and having that longing for Italy fulfilled. Not sure what I'm talking about? You probably wouldn't unless you have a child with a disability.  This is a poem that I read 5 years ago after Lincoln reveived an autism diagnosis;

Welcome to Holland
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability
- to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand
it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

 When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip
- to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans.
The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn
some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags
and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes
in and says, "Welcome to Holland." "Holland?!?"
you say. "What do
you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed
to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and
there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you
to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and
disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new
language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never
have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than
Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath,
you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and
Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all
bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of
your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's
what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss
of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But...if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy,
you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things
... about Holland.


I blogged here ( CLICK HERE TO READ ) about how I truly felt about that poem. I felt like it was an acceptance of autism and staying there. Which is something I have never wanted. If you have followed my blog or we are friends on Facebook, then you know I'm very vocal about getting Lincoln free from autism. Mainly, whole-heartedly believing God is a good healing God like His Word says and that my little boy can be free. That we can figuratively enjoy Italy. And guys, he mostly IS free.  5 years ago from a classic autism diagnosis, non-verbal and the whole 9 yards, fast forward to today. Today he watched Airbud and cried his eyes out because the clown was mean to Buddy and he hated that. He even shut the TV off on everyone because his little heart and eyes and ears couldn't bear anymore. It was fantastic. Yes I said fantastic. I am happy my son cried and was heartbroken by a movie. Why? Because he chose empathy and understanding and it wasn't just a story for him to script. He didn't even script any of the movie.  He actually watched and wasn't self-absorbed in his own world. And I cry on that exact same scene every time I watch that movie too and that makes my heart pretty happy. :)


This is how our Lincoln has been here recently; normal, healthy, happy, funny, loving and so many other things that I would describe him much like the way I would describe my other 2 typical children.

Not much Holland recently.

I had actually forgotten about Holland and Italy until today. Until I passed by that beautiful sign; "Next Stop: Italy." Maybe it's just pasta to you, but the way God drew my attention to that sign today was just Heavenly reassurance that everything is going to be alright. Lincoln is going to be just fine and we are well on our way. I'm not saying I haven't waivered, but I am thankful that I have held tight to the assurance of God's Word believing for Linky's healing over the past 4 years.

God speaks to us how He knows we will hear him and through our surroundings. Look for Him to speak to you. The Word says that "His sheep know his voice." Listen and trust Him. He is there guiding and encouraging you in whatever journey you are facing.












Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Time

     The buzzing of clippers through each boy's hair is surprisingly calm as they sit in their individual chairs getting their hair cut.  Too good to be true, I silently start counting, backwards, like it's a countdown; "10, 9 ,8, 7..."  Yep, there it is. Calmness is gone. Linky begins squealing in frustration every time a hair falls onto his iPad. Nothing major, but enough that I quickly offer redirection to keep him focused. In between squeals, I try to answer the questions from the barber cutting Lucas' hair on why we choose to homeschool. I start to answer again and Maddi from her chair yells that her movie isn't working on the phone. I pause from answering to help her for a moment only to be interrupted by Linky's squeals again. Yep, not the time for questions, especially not serious ones, not today, no time.
    
     Another day, we finally get loaded into the car after lots of rushing about and getting everyone dressed. Someone wants Orange juice, the other wants milk. Then someone starts crying. I yell out in frustration that we don't have time for this, no time for fighting or to go back in. I get on the road and call ahead to Mardel to ask them to leave a book at the counter for me, a quick stop in our rushed plans, so that if I find the time later, I can read. I'm desperate for some light shed, someone who has paved the way, some insight. I need this book. I've done this too many times. By calling ahead, we don't have to go through the store at all, just a quick jot through the doors with all 3 kids and we can checkout right where the book will be waiting. This will eliminate fussing and meltdowns and ultimately save; well, time.

     We unload from the car and walk right though the door as I had planned. Only there is a lady in line at the desk where I usually retrieve my book very quickly. As we stand there, the kids remember there is a train table and toys and start begging to go over there. I can't, they can't, we just can't, I try to explain, not with the mood Linky is in.  I pick up Linky in all of his 39 lbs at 5 years old. He's starting to get frustrated and wanting to wander. The lady in front of me keeps talking and I'm starting to sweat. I start silently counting again as I know Linky is about to lose it big time.

     When this happens, I feel like the world is on pause. Like I am in the middle and everything starts to spin and go in slow motion. I'm panicking on the inside because I know how long it takes in situations like these before he freaks out and loses it, causing a scene. Nobody on the outside can see he has autism and nobody wants to speed their world up to accommodate the internal battle I have raging on the inside of me.  He doesn't care about the looks or the time, he just wants what he wants and he wants it NOW! He starts yelling and tries to hit me and right about the time I am ready to say forget it, the line opens up to me. I step forward, clammy, red faced and teary-eyed, just ready to get out of there. I knew I shouldn't have came, should have waited until some other time.

     He's in bed, or, so I think. The time is late and he starts beating on the door. I sigh heavily as I was just about to start reading that book. I get him what he needs and know that my time is limited as he won't go to sleep without me. Over time, his sleep cycle has always been a mess and it's one of the only ways he will go to sleep. I have Daniel lie down with him and I head back to the living room as he stands at the door screaming for me.

     I plop down in a chair, tears in my eyes and I think about the time. It's late, I'm exhausted. Not from tonight, not just this time. But all of time, all of Linky's time. From a sick infant to a sleepless baby to a toddler with autism, fast forward to now, it's been a long 5 1/2 years. I feel like there is never time for anything. I work against time and time works against me, yet we go so far only to find that all of the time, we are still fighting the same battle. Where has the time gone? Do we still have time? I'm so utterly exhausted from waging war with time.

Time has been a  thief and yet the thief has been time, stolen, right from us.  When is that time that he, the enemy, will pay back for all he has stolen. How will all of this time be paid back to us? Measuring 4 years of autism against the backdrop time of eternity, leaves me feeling like this time has been but a speck in the bigger picture. In that, I start to remember how far Linky has come in such a "speck" of time.  All sadness aside, his disposition has changed dramatically and for that I am grateful! I ponder these things until my heart hurts for Linky, focusing back on his cries at the door. I get out of my sad state and walk down the hall to him.

     I scoop him up in my arms, cry a little more and silently promise him, that no matter how long the time takes, no matter how much time has been stolen, that I will never stop fighting for him. While hugging me so tightly, he gazes at me, tears in his eyes and says,  "I always love you and hold you mom." My heart melts and I tell him that no matter how busy, I will always have time for moments like these. I know that in time when full manifestation of his healing arrives, he will look back and remember me as his courageous mom. He will remember me fighting for him, fighting for HIS time and that......THAT moment of his full healing is worth all the time in the world!



(No matter what time has been to us or how I view it, that "Greater is He that is in me than he who is living in the World" and that no matter what has been stolen by the enemy, God restores and HE is good, all the time. That's where I will continue to keep my focus because I just don't have time to think about the lesser. Continually in search of that abundant life on behalf of my son.)
    
John 10:10 "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."

Proverbs 6:31 "But if the thief is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole..."

"I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about, how he loves us..." -How He Loves Us. (video below)


Friday, January 9, 2015

Be careful What You Speak

     I try to be extremely careful with what I speak as I believe our words have power, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21).I believe many things come and go by what we speak. For example; we have to "confess" with our mouth Jesus is Lord or in Mark 11:23, it says "If you will 'say' to this mountain....." There are many other scripture references to our speaking but I won't get into them all, I am just tying to lay a foundation for why I am careful with what I speak.

     In the past 4 years, I have been very careful to not say "autistic." Obviously I am believing for healing and even though we have some symptoms in the natural that are obvious, I refuse to define and characterize my son as being "autistic." I have preferred to say, "He has autism." Honestly, I don't even like saying that but there are times you can't not say anything as people do need to understand certain things regarding your child (for a church class or whatever it may be.)

Anyway, tonight I happened to come across this;
 "Autism literally means 'aloneness' originating from the Greek word 'autos' meaning 'self.'"

Stopped. Me. Right. In. My. Tracks.

     I am pretty sure from this moment forward, I hope to rid the word "autism" from my vocabulary. Maybe that seems strange, but I was instantly convicted about the confession I make over my son. Of all the extreme measures I take to keep him in a spirit filled environment and not say "autistic", it bothers me that I still choose to speak this around or over him. I am basically saying, "He has autism (aloneness)." Or "He struggles with autism (aloneness)." What a terrible thing to speak if I should be doing as the Word instructs me to do. Anyway I just wanted to share that with you guys in case it speaks to someone else.

I do tend to speak a lot of other things over him, I constantly tell him these things (and many more);
You have the mind of Christ
You are the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath
Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
You are healed, set free, delivered and normal to function
You are a big, strong, and intelligent boy
Your mind is free
You are redeemed from the curse of sickness
You are whole

     I also make Linky confess these over himself. Even a couple of years ago when he could speak; but only for the sake of ABC's, shapes, echolalia, etc. He didn't have conversations. If he wanted a snack or his iPad, I would say, "Ok say this, 'I have the mind of Christ." At first it was one word at a time. Then eventually, he could repeat it very quickly. I made him work for his food and wants with having to say scriptures. There's power in me speaking the Word over him but I can imagine there is a greater (combined) power with him confessing these things over himself, even if he doesn't understand them. he has changed tremendously since then. Went from a 2 year old little boy, nonverbal, with moderate to severe autism, "Classic autism" to at age 4 being diagnosed as having "High-functioning-autism" or classified as  "autism-mild." He is now 5 1/2 and doing AMAZING. I believe these confessions of the Word have been one of THE most instrumental things we have chosen to do.

      I will share this video (this was about a year ago) of him saying some of these "confessions."
video

Also, feel free to check this post out of some great scripture confessions to play over your kiddos. Click HERE As I have said before; I recorded myself onto a CD and play them over the kiddos as they sleep and  occasionally even through out the day.

Also a great post from a Pastor who's son is healed of autism. He is actually where I found the scripture confessions when he posted their testimony. His name is John Nuzzo.
 Click HERE to read this testimony.
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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Leaving the 99 to go after the 1

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country to go after the lost sheep until he finds it?" Jesus, Luke 15:4

"I know that if you have a little one who is acting out or having troubles or that is driving you up a wall, you need to 'leave' what has the bulk of your time and attention and go after that ONE. Make winning their heart a top priority. Don't wait." (Sarah Mae)



I am pretty sure those words leaped off the page and into my heart as I read them. My heart ached because I have the 1 that needs me to leave the 99. His heart isn't turned away from me YET, but it's definitely headed that direction if I don't start pursuing his heart with all of mine.

He's our precious first born. I'll never forget the day he made me a mom and I tell him that too. "You made me a mommy for the first time and it was the happiest day of my life." He grins at me, hugs me and tells me, "You're the best Mom ever." I always feel a twinge of guilt when he says this because I know I'm not. Nope, not even close.

They say kids are resilient and to that I would definitely have to agree. I think in hind sight I have used that to my advantage. My 1 has been the innocent bystander for the past  4 years while we fight the autism battle with his little brother. From his little face I can see the disappointment. I can see that he feels like his needs don't matter as much as his little brother's. I've made him feel like his struggles aren't as important, as if nothing compares to autism.

I have always said, "He's older, why can't he just be easier, more understanding?" I think I've been saying that since his little brother was born, when he was 2. Terrible. I know. If I'm being honest, I can easily recognize his look of defeat when he realizes he can't compete for my time or attention because I'm too busy with school or Facebook or whatever excuse I have at that moment. It's a look that comes too easily these days, fruit of the root for sure.

Somewhere along the way, I started buying him things as a trade off for my time. Just so I could do all of the things I "needed" to do.  Or, I would take him to fun places and let him play while I sat reading or scrolling through all of my social media accounts. Terrible. I know. I guess I did (do) these things for him to fill the void of knowing that I wasn't giving him my full attention that he needed. I do this with myself too. Sometimes, it's just easier to be distracted with something meaningless and now I'm passing that behavior on to him. Terrible. I know.

He grew up so fast, too fast. All while I have been busy. Busy with school, autism, yelling, social media, impatience, annoyance and stress from life. The years have passed by more quickly than I had anticipated.

So, I'm quitting all the things that don't matter. Leaving the 99 things (and people) that distract me for the 1. I will make all of my children feel as if they are equal. I want them to feel like they independently matter; that I love all of the wonderful traits that they embody. I want him to feel like he matters. Because. He. Does.

Goodbye to so many things so I can go after the 1.

" I will say no to the outside world, so I can say yes to the people who are my world."







Thursday, January 1, 2015

It takes a Village to Raise a Child

     Applause erupted all over the room as a fellow autism mom finished saying, "If there was a cure for autism, I would be heartbroken because I don't want my child to change, I think she is great just like she is." Applause from everyone but me, I imagine. I couldn't bring myself to clap. I instantly knew I was in the wrong place. I'd known it for a while but I just couldn't bring myself to break away for the sake of wanting to have a support group, someone who understood. In that moment, though; I knew, I had to move on.

     I love Linky like he is, like he has been and for who he will be. But, I believe the Bible, the infallible Word of God. The Word that tells me what Jesus died on the cross for more than just salvation. The Word that goes against what most people say, "God has a plan, There's a reason for this." For that reason, I have to keep myself guarded from unbelief and distraction from the healing (Healer) that I have set my hope and faith in.

Fast forward 6 months.

     We walked into a church we had known and visited frequently over the years. I felt at home in my spirit as this was a "Word of Faith" type church. (Our home church is a wonderful place and very good with Linky. Although, I wouldn't classify them as a faith believing church in regards to how I have studied the Word. So occasionally, it's nice to visit other churches that believe like we do in regards to healing.)  I treasured the feeling of being surrounded by like minded believers as we fight this autism battle. I remembered Linky hadn't been there in a while so he would be in a different class than he had ever been in before when visiting. I found the teacher, logged my number in her phone, walked Linky to class with the group and explained some of the issues he currently had; particularly with waiting and following directions.

     The door opened to the large room with playground equipment and I spotted the ball pit. I was thrilled about the ball pit as I knew Linky would play the whole time and be great. He ran straight for the ball pit as I heard her announcing to all the children to line up and wait their turn. She told him to get in line and she said, "Ok, he's autistic so he doesn't have to wait, but everyone else does." My heart sank as soon as she said it. (Sidebar; I have hardly ever referred to Linky as "autistic." As most of my faith believing friends know, I feel strongly about what we confess and speak and thought I was in like minded company. I also believe in "people first" language. For example; "This is Linky, he loves to play in the ball pit and by the way he has autism.") I could tell she wasn't real compassionate and looked frustrated with Linky interrupting her system.

     I went ahead and made the long walk down the hallway back to the Sanctuary. I clutched my phone in my hand and prayed Linky would be ok. As soon as I sat in my seat, my phone rang. It couldn't have been more than 5 minutes. She told me that he wouldn't listen to anything she said and he wouldn't follow their rules and get out of the ball pit. So I walked back down there and the other lady opened the door carrying Linky as he was kicking and screaming. She apologized, told me the Devil was a liar and to keep the faith. I couldn't agree more. As wonderful as her heart was, it felt like rejection and I took it more along the lines of, "Keep the faith honey, bring him back when he is healed because until he works all his differences out, he isn't welcome. Oh and good luck!" 

I often find myself in opposing situations like this. It feels like such a struggle.  

They say, "It takes a village to raise a child." Well, not in our experience.
    
     The "autism community "is amazing. They are accepting, helpful and encouraging. But for the most part, they believe that autism is just a part of who our kids are and why change it. My convictions tell me otherwise and we can't afford to go down the road. The trade offs aren't worth it. I have to be careful with the thoughts and comments I surround myself with in order to stay on course believing for Linky's healing that is promised to us. 

     The "faith" church is amazing.  I have learned so much about the Word and healing and who God really is. But, I have not found much acceptance there with Linky. They teach you all about spiritual warfare, the enemy and what God's nature really is but there doesn't seem to be any room to love him or us in the process as we walk this thing out.

     So where does this leave our family?  I respect the autism community, love their hearts and know they are helping families like ours every day. I love the "Word of Faith" churches that we have encountered and appreciate the teaching that has helped changed our world. We know what we believe in our heart of hearts and know that Linky is healed according to the Word of God. Somehow, that seamlessly bridges the gap for us.

     So, we walk this out appreciating the help we have gotten from everywhere, but know that at the end of the day it is up to us partnering with God and being led by the Holy Spirit into all truth. In my experience, "It takes a village to raise a child" hasn't applied to us. It's been up to Daniel and I to stay the course and keep our house in order. It has been up to us to keep ours protected and walking a different path than everyone else seems to be walking.

 Sometimes it is okay to be that strong house sitting off by itself, down the remote (narrow) path, just outside the village.

 Hindsight tells me, even today, I'd choose that  path again. The rewards have been huge.