I admittedly had a very distorted view of all things special needs related before becoming a participant in the journey. When I saw someone with a visible disability, I felt sad. No one taught me that pity shouldn’t be one of the emotions to flow from me in that situation…until I met my children.
Becoming an Autism Mama has changed my life in many ways. One of the biggest has been my understanding that there is no “us” and “them”. I now have four children, three of them with special needs, and I finally get it. God had to immerse me in this world for me to truly grasp that pity is neither needed or wanted by those with disabilities. What society convinced me was so different, either visibly or relationally, simply…isn’t. At least, not in any way that should affect how we view or treat each other.
I won’t lie and say that I’ve never prayed that my children be healed. I’ve wished, countless times, that I could take away some of the pain and struggle associated with Autism. But, today, even knowing all that’s involved in this journey…I can say with 100% certainty that I wouldn’t remove myself from this world if I could. If not for disability, my family wouldn’t have been led to places where only God could reach us. Our dependence on Him is as necessary to us as breath. This journey has left me emptied of myself so that I could be filled with more of Jesus. No other experience has impacted me in quite the same way.
This road has taken me from pity to passion. A passion to not just talk about how to support and love on special needs families…but to do it. A passion to take a stand. A passion to more deeply understand. A passion for change, starting with myself. A passion to look beyond the difficulties of this life and see how those difficulties point us to our individual life missions.
Disability lit a fire within. It awakened my heart to the truth that families impacted by disability may have many needs that are different, but we all have the same core needs: Love. Acceptance. Support. Grace. Christ. Individuals with disabilities and their families don’t want your pity…we want your passion. Passionately support. Passionately learn. Passionately love.
And, one last thing…let us do the same for you!!! Yes, some of us have days where just surviving feels like too much; please, don’t let that stop you from involving us! If we can’t make it to an event or can’t help you out on a certain day, please don’t stop asking. We don’t just need to be served; we need to serve. (The ways in which we’re able to serve may look different, but different is good. We all have something to offer.) We want to invite you into our lives, and we want to be invited into yours. Yes, there may be some things that simply won’t work for us. Then, give us grace. But, there are many, many things we can do; things we long to do. We all have the need to give love just as much as the need to receive it. Don’t count us out! When we bring our passions together, there are no limits to what we can do.