Autism. A six letter word that I knew nothing about, until this year. When I heard the word “autism,” I couldn’t tell you much about it. I thought I did, but it’s not until you’re called into the front lines of the battle that you better understand the war. Deep I know, right?
Why am I talking about Autism? Our oldest daughter, Opal Grace, was completely “normal.” She hit all of her milestones on time, loved people, engaged with others, played with toys, and LOVED having pretend tea parties. But, like a lot of other people this year, 2020 has been a doozy for us. In March of this year, Opal stopped talking. Almost altogether. We had our own opinions of why it happened, but then she started regressing and changing immensely, to where it became concerning.
Now you may be reading this and thinking, “Opal? Are you sure?” Yes, we are. We know her better than anyone else, and we knew something was wrong. It came out of nowhere, along with everything else globally, nationally, and all the other things that have happened this year! It’s been ROUGH!
We haven’t told many people because even though we had a “hunch,” she hadn’t been diagnosed with anything. We had her evaluation today and we heard the words that no parent wants to hear. “Your child has autism.” And I’m not saying that to say that parents dread it or that it’s a bad thing, but I do think that any healthy parent would want their child to be healthy in all aspects. No one wants their child to have any kind of disability. Right?
So yes. For those of you that have asked questions, that have sat on the sidelines watching and wondering why she has been acting differently, Opal has Autism. Opal is not Autism, but she does have Autism. And I don’t write this blog to get sympathy or to get attention, but I do know that she has a village out there who truly cares about her, so I want us all to be able to understand her better. She is STILL smart, brave, beautiful, talented, and HILARIOUS! This does not change how much we love her, or our hopes and dreams for her in the future. It does open our eyes to so many other parents’ worlds that we truly had no idea about and could not relate in any way.
I can honestly say this has been the hardest year of our lives, but I can also say I have seen God the most this year and His faithfulness has been weaved throughout everything. We weren’t even supposed to get an appointment for her evaluation until 2021 or 2022. Now that we have her diagnosis, she can get all the help and resources she needs quicker.
God is good. Even when you don’t feel Him, even when you don’t see Him, and even when you don’t hear Him. Believe me. I have felt unseen and unheard most of this year, as I’m sure a lot of us have. But God sees you. He hears you.
If you are going through something rough personally or with your kiddos or your family and you keep asking God for answers but you’re just not getting any, hold on. None of this has surprised Him. He knows best and He IS faithful! If God has promised you something, DO NOT GIVE UP!
Our “symbol” throughout the entire year has been a rainbow. It reminds us that God is going to keep His promises He has made to us. And we also know that after every storm comes a rainbow. DO NOT LOSE HOPE! Keep going, because that one push you need may just get you to where you need to be!