It brought me to tears, even the thought of asking. I already knew the answer. But I felt like I had to say it out loud…I had to try…
Sitting in the dark on my bed, my hands were shaking. My heart was pounding so hard that it hurt to breathe. My chest was tight, the tears wouldn’t stop. I didn’t know where to begin. I hoped that He’d understand. That He wouldn’t think I was being ungrateful. When I could finally speak, I reassured Him that I loved her just the way she was and I didn’t want to change who she was…I just couldn’t watch her suffer anymore. “She’s my daughter…”, I pleaded. “Please make it stop.”
“…Please heal her.”
Immediately, I wanted to take it back. Because I knew the truth. She was never truly mine. She’s His child. I’m just the one He gave her to in this life. And, if it hadn’t been for these trials, it all would’ve passed me by…
When she lets me hold her, I hang on tighter. When she looks at me, I don’t just look back at her…I see her. When she says “I love you”, the world stands still. If not for Autism, I would’ve taken for granted so many small things, only to look back and realize they weren’t small at all.
Autism changed me. I am strong because Autism made me weak. It brought me to my knees and pointed me toward Heaven. It robbed me of all self-reliance and ushered me into a relationship with God that I could only find by walking through the fire. Autism left me broken so that others could watch Him put me back together. Our lives are a testimony to His power. His power to strengthen and soften us all at the same time. Without these trials, I would’ve only been the person that I was..never the person that I was meant to be.
When we got the diagnosis, one of the first things I wondered was if she’d ever be able have a relationship with God. Today, she worships with an abandon that I’ve never seen before. She connects in a way that those of us who’d like to think we’re whole can only dream of. Often, when I begin to doubt His plan, He draws my eyes to her. There in our living room, listening to worship music…her hands are lifted, her gaze pointed upwards, twirling softly and singing sweetly. There, beside her, are her siblings. Watching, learning, lifting their little hands to praise Him the way that she does.
They didn’t learn it from me…how to worship with their whole hearts, the world around them disappearing…they learned it from her.
Now, knowing all of this, I don’t pray for healing. Not because it’s wrong to do so- All of us are expected to pray for healing. He instructs us to in His Word. But every story is different. Some prayers for healing will be answered with a “Yes”. Then, we praise! Some prayers for healing will be answered with a “Not Yet”. Then, still, there is reason to praise! In my family’s story, I don’t pray for healing. Not because I don’t want her healed. Not because I don’t long to give her relief. But because I trust His “Not Yet”. I am content with it, as hard as it is to be, because I want what God’s planned to do through her. I trust His plan because He’s already proven time and time again that she is a light. She shines in ways that point others toward Jesus. I don’t pray for healing because I know that my best wishes and dreams for her can’t begin to compare to what He has in store for her. If healing meant trading the intimacy with Him that my family has developed through these struggles…it’s not a trade that I could make. For, as much as I want physical wholeness for my child, my greatest prayer for her is a deepened relationship with God. So, if this is how He’s chosen to reach her…how He’s chosen to reach all of us…I will choose to embrace our “Not Yet”.