Behold your parents

“Keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart always; tie them about your neck.” -Proverbs 6:20-21

I have a really hard time with verses like this they refer to my father and mother because I take things literally. My father is not a good guy. We’re estranged from one another and I well absolutely not obey his commands. My mother means well but she is easily led astray.

Who is my father? Who is my mother? Not these human parents. My father is God alone. My mother is his bride. I can trust them to lead me, to watch over me, and to light my way.

I am not an orphan. I am not forsaken. I have a Father in Heaven who loves me and a mother who draws me to Him.

Who do you want me to be?

This seems like such an autistic question to ask. Who do you want me to be? I thought that my whole life in my relationships with people. It’s the essence of masking, I suppose. I could elaborate more on this and what it looks like in my life but that’s not why I come here today.

I sat in prayer this morning, wrestling with myself, with my identity, with who I’m meant to be… asking God that very question. Who do you want me to be? Because He is the one who really knows me, He created me, He formed me in my mother’s womb, with a purpose for my life. He is the one that I long to please.

I put it all out there, these internal conflicts that I’m having, these areas where I feel like I’m failing, where I don’t know if I am supposed to be this kind of person or the other. And then I turned to Him in the Scriptures and He reminded me that his desire for is that I believe in Him. He does not condemn me. He came to save me. He wants me to be a believer.

I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.

Just the Way You Are

I have been feeling like I am having an identity crisis. I have been masking for so long, how do I even know who I really am? Who am I?

I took this to prayer and received the most gentle and loving answer.

The truth is that my identity is not in what I do. It is not in my neurology, or in my personality type. It is not in my interests or my intense emotions. Those things are all important parts of me. But they are not Who I Am.

I am Beloved. I am Yours.

This song spoke the truth into my heart. I hope it will for you too.

Feeling your feelings

I have been seeing posts online about the various emotions people have regarding autism diagnoses- their own or their children’s. Someone will express thoughts or feelings and a commenter will respond with an assessment or criticism of the person’s feelings.

This can go in a variety of ways. (Be aware that the following examples contain possible triggers.) Sometimes it’s something like this:

Person A: I see autism as a gift. Being autistic enables me to care deeply about things that interest me and I love that I feel things intensely.

Commenter: Autism isn’t all sunshine and rainbows! It can be really hard for me when my child is having meltdowns or is hyperactive. I love my child but I don’t think autism is a gift. I wish things were different.

But, other times, it is something like this:

Person B: I am feeling really sad about this diagnosis. I have a sense of loss at what might have been. I don’t know how to go on like this. I am so overwhelmed. I wonder what went wrong.

Commenter: It’s terrible for you to say that. That is a horrible ableist mindset. Imagine how your child feels. Imagine what it must be like to live in a world that is confusing, frustrating, loud, and scary for you all the time and then imagine you get in trouble for feeling that way! Don’t be such a martyr. Think of your child first.

There are so many thoughts and feelings going on in each of these examples and the commenters’ responses. My intention here is not to analyze what each person said, why they said it, or how I feel about what was said. My intention here is much more simple. I want to say this.

Your feelings are valid.

Your feelings are valid. Your feelings are valid if you are angry or sad or happy or confused or disappointed. Your feelings are valid. Your experience is valid. You can feel that way.

That doesn’t mean that all feelings are good. It means that all feelings are real. It means that it is okay that you feel that way. It is okay even if you also desire to feel differently.

It means that it is valid for your neighbor to feel completely different than you do in the same situation. It is also valid for you feel angry and frustrated with that neighbor for feeling so differently than you.

I believe that all feelings are valid. Feelings are neither right nor wrong. They are just feelings. They are entirely different than right or wrong thinking which we can talk about another time.

You are a unique and unrepeatable person. Allowing yourself to feel your feelings upholds the dignity of who you are.

Allowing others to feel their feelings is loving your neighbor as yourself.

Thanksgiving 2019

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. I tried my best. In some ways it was great and, in other ways, it could have been much better.

One thing I have known for a long time is that I have serious executive dysfunction. Since realizing this is part of AS, I have been try to implement some ideas and strategies that will help me gain lagging skills in that regard.

Well, I have to say, that was a great help in Thanksgiving preparation. I started my prep work on Monday and , with help from the kids, was able to get nearly everything done without any major problems… except for the stuffing that was overcooked but I guess you can’t win them all.

I did get pretty overwhelmed and overstimulated when everyone wanted to be in the kitchen at the same time. There was music playing in the background, people talking, asking me questions, and people randomly touching me. I got some fresh air and a cold drink, turned off the music, and told the people that “I love you. I just don’t want hugs and touches right now.” That helped.

We played a game where you are supposed to pick funny answers to fill-in-the-blank questions or statements. I only scored 1 point. I am just not funny. I really don’t understand half of what people do find funny. I didn’t realize that was the kind of game it was when I said I would play. I would probably play again because it was interesting and I did laugh at other people’s answers but I just can’t expect to win. That’s okay.

I hurt my husband’s feelings when trying to make a joke. I don’t like to see him hurt. I really didn’t mean to hurt him. I know he forgives me but I still hate that I did that.

In other news, the turkey was good and my gravy was the best it’s ever been. Fried apples and onions made their Thanksgiving debut and were a welcome addition. From-scratch green bean casserole also deserves a mention. It was delicious.

I hope you all enjoy the holiday weekend, if you celebrate, and that you all have many things for which to be thankful.

“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.” Nahum 1:7 RSV

Happy Dance

I had no idea that dancing, spinning, twirling, and skipping could be stimming behaviors. I have been told that I twirl sometimes and I don’t always realize it. I sometimes have a desire to skip or dance when I’m feeling good, when I’m happy and secure…

The more I reflect on my experiences, the more it seems that I have an innate desire to stim in these ways. I usually refrain when I can because adults don’t typically skip and twirl. I am glad to know that this is actually a good part of me.

I want to embrace my unique expression of feelings. I want to sincerely dance like nobody is watching and not worry that I will be thought weird.

The truth is that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. There is nothing weird about my unique and unrepeatable soul. I am free to be who I really am without judgment or condemnation.

That gives something to dance about.

Rain

“I tried to be brave but the rain keeps falling.”

This resonated with me today.

I know the ache in my heart is actually because of the grieving process I am going through but being autistic intensifies my experience.

Click here for The Rain Keeps Falling by Andrew Peterson.

I find comfort in putting myself before Jesus and being with him in the rain. The rain falls but I am not alone. I can feel him with me.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” -John 14:27 NKJV

Time to Go

My son, Pablo, usually enjoys going on outings if he is prepared for them in advance. Today is Tuesday and he knows that on Tuesdays we (almost) always go to a particular weekly event. We talked about it at breakfast this morning so he knew it was Tuesday.

But, when it was time to go, he got so angry. I don’t know why he didn’t want to go today. The other kids went to get in the van but he pushed and pulled at me, yelling, trying to keep me from going.

But I needed to get there so badly.

This particular event is an oasis for me. It is one hour that is such a grace for my weary soul and I just can’t bear to miss it unless it’s absolutely necessary.

At the thought of him stopping me from going… I began to meltdown too.

I took deep breaths. Then I took more. I did not want to lose my temper and I felt like I was just barely hanging on.

I asked the other kids to go ahead and go back inside while we worked things out. I hate to have them in the middle of it.

After a while, he started yelling at me to help him. I was calm now and I tried to ask him to take deep breaths. He tried but then he said it wasn’t helping. He begged me to help him feel better. My heart nearly broke.

Finally, I asked him what he thought would help him. He said that he wanted to sit in my lap. So I held my big boy in my arms, with his head against my chest, letting his big feelings start to fade away. It was good to be able to do something for him.

We sat quietly for a few minutes. Then I asked him if he could make his big feelings into a picture what he would make. He wasn’t sure. I asked him if he felt like a volcano. He said no but that he could understand why I would say that. He said his feelings do feel like explosions.

A few more minutes, and he calmly asked if he could honk the horn to call the others back to the van. I said yes and he was pleased to be the one to say, albeit without words,

Time to go.

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