Each week, I have been sharing a little bit of my testimony. If you missed the first installments, be sure to read them HERE.
This is the final installment of my current testimony. Thank you for coming back and allowing me to share with you how God has worked in my life.
In 2008 we found out we were pregnant with our 3rd child. At around 20 weeks, I was sent to have the usual ultrasound that everyone gets. When the doctor called to tell me that they were sending me to get another ultrasound that would be a clearer picture of the baby, they made it sound like no big deal. Because of that, I went to that next ultrasound on my own. As they were doing the ultrasound, I realized I was not there just for a regular old ultrasound. They suspected that something was wrong with my baby. There was extra fluid around his kidneys and some of his limbs were measuring small. They could not be for certain, but they said there was a possibility he would have Downs Syndrome.
As I sat there in that consulting office, listening to their words, hearing them ask me if there was any possible way I would want to abort my baby I needed to make the decision now because the latest they could do it was 23 weeks. I felt so alone. Are you kidding me? Abort my baby whom I have felt moving in my body, who is alive and breathing and kicking? Absolutely not. And then I began to pray. Sitting there in that office, I prayed and asked God to give me the strength to continue to listen to what they were telling me and to be tactful in my answers.
I left in tears. But I sat in my car, I turned on worship music and I cried and prayed and I cried and prayed some more. When I was done, I felt a sense of peace that I had never felt before. A sense that everything was going to be okay. My baby was in God’s hands and we would be okay. Even if my baby was born with Downs Syndrome, he was still my baby, my child. God would give me the strength and ability to care for a special needs child.
As you know. Nolan Tyler was born June 11th, a healthy, happy and precious baby boy. I thank God every day for hearing my prayers; for comforting me and for taking care of my precious child. However, God was testing me and preparing me for a different journey that lay ahead.
Shortly after Nolan was born, I started reading and talking with a friend. Her son has Aspergers. And things started making sense. Understanding started to become clear.
Jayden had always been what many people called “quirky.” He did things that we didn’t think were “normal” but he was our first child and we did not know anything different. Plus, every time I asked the pediatrician about it, he would tell me the same thing; all kids are different and he is just a little bit “quirky.”
As the pieces started to fall into place and I began doing more of my own research, it became clear that Jayden was not just quirky; he had autism. Jayden was diagnosed in November 2009 with PDD-NOS which is a form of higher functioning autism. At the time, we had no idea the journey that God was taking us on.
After the diagnosis, I went through a period of grieving. I have talked to many other families since then and I am told that it is typical when you first get the diagnosis. You see, I was grieving for the child I thought I had lost. I was grieving for all the things that my child would probably never be able to do. I was grieving for the picture that I had formed in my mind of what I thought my oldest son would be like. It took some time; a lot of praying and a lot of guidance from others, but I finally realized that my child is still there. He is not gone. He is still my child. He is still my firstborn son. He is just different. He is still my Jayden. I needed to be thankful for all the things that he can do and all the things that make him different and unique because of his autism.
As time went on, it became clearer that Jayden has Aspergers. We have yet to get a clinical diagnosis because most waiting lists are an evaluation are about a year long. We also do not have the finances for it. Insurances in Washington State do not cover autism. They do not cover evaluations to get diagnosed, they do not cover therapy to get them the help they need; they cover a whole lot of nothing. So we wait and we pray. We pray that somehow, someday, Jayden will be able to get the proper help that he needs. We fight the doctors, we fight the insurance companies, we fight legislature, we fight the state, we fight the schools, and we fight society to accept our child.
I now realize that God brought me through everything in my life so I would have the strength and the endurance to be the mother of a child with autism. It is an exhausting job; mentally, physically and emotionally. God had prepared me and He had helped me develop the strength to endure it all. Just as a runner has to begin training by running smaller races before a marathon, I had to build up the strength throughout my life to be able to endure the path He was preparing for me later in life.
God brought me through all of the junk, all of the garbage, all of the yucky stuff, so that I can share my story with others. He wants me to share my story so that anyone can see that even when you feel like I have felt, like you are in the deepest and darkest pit of your life with no way out, all you have to do is look up. When you look up, you will see the light shining at the top of that pit and the hand of your Heavenly Father reaching down to pull you up.
As Priscilla Shirer says “Sometimes your greatest message is the mess of your life.”
My life is certainly not perfect. Being a mother is tough. Having a child with autism is a difficult job. I still have some past hurts and baggage that God continues to help me work through. I still make mistakes.
The difference is that now I have someone who is always there by my side; comforting me, helping me, reassuring me, holding my hand, and pointing me in the right direction. My Jesus. He is always there. He is my Rock. He is my Redeemer. He is my Healer. He is my Forgiver. He is my Savior. He is my One and Only.
I tell my story today so that you can see that there is hope. There is a light at the top of the pit when you choose to look up. I tell you these stories not to gain sympathy, but for you to gain understanding for what God can truly bring you through.
I found this scripture when I first became a Christian. I was able to relate to it. It spoke to my heart. It has become my life scripture; the scripture I return to again and again.
1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: “LORD, save me!”
5 The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
6 The LORD protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.
8 For you, LORD, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
10 I trusted in the LORD when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”;
11 in my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar.”
12 What shall I return to the LORD for all his goodness to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.
16 Truly I am your servant, LORD; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the LORD— in your midst, Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD.