It’s been one week since we were told that our daughter has Autism. But it’s been close to a year since all of this started. It’s so crazy how in one moment your life is one way and then completely changes in a second. I can’t tell you how much I have grieved in this process. Grieved? Your child is still alive? How could you say that? What are you even grieving about? Let me explain.
All my life, I have wanted to be a mom. I wanted girls and only girls until I was an adult, and then I changed my mind. But God honored what I wanted growing up. I have TWO girls! And I am so very blessed and grateful! But you grow up imagining the future and what it will look like. I imagined tea parties, dress up, being obsessed with Disney princesses, wanting to wear makeup, all the things! But right now, Opal doesn’t want to do any of those things. She doesn’t even understand the concept of them. She used to play pretend and have tea parties with me. Now she doesn’t. She used to LOVE her Disney princess dolls or posing in her fancy dresses for pictures with a huge “CHEESE!” I’m not writing all of this to sound depressing, but to show you that there is some grieving involved.
Opal and I were best friends. We did everything together. I stayed home with her and we loved it. We still love it, but it looks so different now. I remember her laughing and giggling at certain songs, rocking out to Nsync’s “Bye Bye Bye,” and building the biggest block towers we could before she would give me the most ornery smirk and knock it down. Oh! And she made the BEST mustard soup! But I have felt so distant from her because I have to relearn everything about her again.
Guys, my heart hurts. I can’t even describe it. I am SO thankful that she wasn’t diagnosed with a fatal disease and that she’s still with me here in the present. I’m not trying to sound ungrateful at all, because I am SO thankful for her! More than I can express! But it does hurt. Her diagnosis is not a death sentence at all, but it does make the future look fuzzy. I have no idea if she will ever talk one day. I don’t even know if she’ll be able to live on her own. I am so hopeful for all these things, but the only one who knows the future is the Lord himself, and I am thankful I can put my trust in Him, and the fact that He does know the future. But we don’t know the future and that terrifies me.
I often tell my husband that I am so thankful for God. I don’t know how I would have gotten through any of this without Him. Seriously. How do people do it?? I am thankful that no matter what we go through, He is the one walking through the fire with us. Life happens. I would love to say that when you accept Jesus into your heart, you no longer have troubles, but that is far from true. We will still have troubles, because we live on planet earth where life happens, BUT when He comes into your heart and changes your life, you will have someone who is ALWAYS there. When friends flake, He is there. When family let’s us down, He is there. He promises to NEVER leave us or forsake us. And that’s a promise I am willing to put my trust in. In a God who promises that even when I make a mistake, even when life happens, even when I am angry or frustrated or sad, HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME. And He will never leave Opal.
I KNOW something good will come from all of this. It has to. God doesn’t make mistakes, and He uses every circumstance for His glory- which means Opal has a job to do. She has a purpose, just like any other “normal” human being. She has a huge call on her life. I fully believe it. I believe that, if she wants to, she can be a doctor one day or an astronaut or president!
You can tell me to keep dreaming or that I’m crazy. I’m okay with that. But even though all of this is so overwhelming and so tough (especially for Opal), I will never stop advocating for her, loving her, and dreaming with her. She WILL say Momma again. She WILL have a conversation with me. She WILL play with toys again. I believe this in my heart and in every single prayer I pray for her. If you don’t mind, and if you’ve read this far, please say a prayer for her and for our family! This is a totally new journey for us and we have no idea what we are doing, but God does! And we know that He will be with us every single step of the way!