Archives for category: Autism

Couple Working in Homeless Shelter

I teach one Sunday a month in what we call Relief Society, our women’s organization. This month, I was asked to teach about service. Again. I gave a lesson on service last year. The Bishop, our ecclesiastical leader, just talked about service a couple weeks ago. I feel like my church is always talking about service. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I just wasn’t very excited to prepare another lesson on the topic.

But then, as I was thinking things through, I remembered an experience that I had earlier this fall. After watching my Autistic daughter run in her first cross country meet, I allowed my younger girls to play in a canvas pavilion while we waited for the meet to end. I intentionally left my oldest to be with her teammates. What fifteen-year-old wants to hang out with her mom?

After a while a group of girls, including my daughter, walked by the pavilion. I watched them as the lined up along the rope that marked the course. I don’t think they knew I was watching them. After cheering on other teammates, the other girls turned and walked toward the finish line. My daughter didn’t seem to notice they had left and remained where she was.

I wasn’t angry that the girls had left her behind. I understand that my daughter’s disability makes it hard for her to fit in. Sometimes, she can be downright rude. But I felt very sad as I watch her stand there alone. For a moment or two, I debated whether to go over to be with her.

But then I heard someone call her name. I looked to see the other girls, standing about a hundred yards away. When they had noticed that my daughter wasn’t with them, they stopped and called for her. They waited for her as she ran to join them. I was so grateful for their kindness.

I realized that God feels like I did that day. He loves us each individually, and with His infinite power He watches each one of us just like I watched my daughter that day. And when we are left alone, or anything else negative happens to us, He is saddened just like I was. But unlike me, He can’t come rescue us. He has the ability, but He chooses not to because His appearance would affect our agency.

So He has to send someone else.

Mountains

Often the deep valleys of our present will be understood only by looking back on them from the mountains of our future experience. Often we can’t see the Lord’s hand in our lives until long after trials have passed. Often the most difficult times of our lives are essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understanding and happiness.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, May 2010, 58

The experience in my life that best fits this quote has to do with one of my greatest challenges as a parent. My husband and I were forced to admit that one of our daughters suffered from mental illness when her second grade teacher urged us to take our daughter to counseling. We followed the teacher’s advice, but by the time my daughter was in middle school, her depression had only deepened.

Her struggle with depression was very difficult for the whole family. Our home was filled with constant turmoil and contention. I felt like this daughter was always in trouble. I became obsessed with her condition which led to my own depression. We had no idea how to overcome this trial. Those were dark days.

Years later, I cannot express the joy I feel when I see this daughter laugh or smile. She still had days, like the rest of us, when she’s hard to be around, but for the most part, her depression is gone. Occasionally, we have issues with how she interacts with other members of the family, but other than that, I couldn’t ask for a more obedient child.

Now that this trial has past, I can look back and list the blessings we received from this experience. During that time, I began attending the Addiction Recover Group which has drastically changed my life for the better. In an effort to help her, we made changes in the way our family eats and that has benefited all of us. We were able to discover that my daughter is Autistic, a diagnosis which helped us significantly. We were now able to explain behaviors that before were hard to understand. This new knowledge helped us change how we parented which had a positive result. We received yet another witness that our prayers were heard and answered. This trial was very difficult to overcome, but it was worth it.

http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/continue-in-patience?lang=eng