You have arrived.
This may be the last post in my series, but it is the beginning in so many ways.
Step eight is about persistence.
As so aptly quoted in The Lego Movie, “I know it sounds like something on a cat poster, but it’s true.”
(If you don’t get that joke, you should definitely see the movie.)
Now is the time for learning, growing, making adjustments, and pursing recovery while embracing your child’s uniqueness.
Now is the time for being content without becoming stagnant.
You will likely cycle back through the last seven steps at different times in your journey; this is a process and one not to be rushed. New stages bring new challenges and victories. God willing, more information about autism will surface over the coming years and your perspective will continue to evolve.
Sounds motivating…and vague…right?
Let me tell you how to actually keep on keepin’ on…
We’ve all been on a plane and been instructed to secure our own oxygen masks first before we help others if there is a loss of cabin pressure.
Because you are useless if you are dead.
Same rule applies to being a special needs parent…
You are useless (to your child) if you are dead (on the inside).
What do I mean?
The list goes on.
Your plate is full. Your load is heavy. Your cup runneth over…and not in a good way.
So how do you secure your mask? How do you keep on keepin’ on when you are all of the above things – because you will be at one point or another. I struggle with so many of them, myself, on a daily basis.
I could tell you to be sure to make time for yourself or to go out with your spouse or friends and recharge. I could recommend a great book to motivate you but the feeling you got from it would be fleeting. I could write another post called “10 Tips for Keeping a Good Attitude,” but it’d be impossible to do. I could tell you all the inspirational songs I listen to that get me fired up and feeling on top of the world. But they’re only about 3 minutes long each.
These are all good things, but any advice I gave you outside of the truth would be impossible to sustain in your own power. I want more for you and there’s only one way to really thrive under these trying circumstances.
See, earlier when I said “inside,” more specifically, I mean spiritually.
You can’t do this autism thing alone. In step 5, I talked about assembling a team. The one member I didn’t mention was your behind the scenes guy. Your coach. The well that you drink from. Your source of energy.
He is the fountain from which love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control come from and these are all really helpful traits to have when parenting a child with autism.
Died. Buried. Raised. Appeared.
No matter how big your autism worries are, I promise you, he’s got this.
I would not have the stamina that it takes to keep going day after day without him. I can say that in all honesty because I remember how I felt before I knew him and was trying to do life on my own. It’s impossible.
He is the only way to truly secure your mask.
For those of you “to-do” list lovers like myself, I hate to disappoint you, but I’m not going to tell you to pray a prayer or say a magic word or find a church to walk an aisle in. Your call to action is this: get to know Him. Spend time with him. Read the really, really long love letter He wrote you. Learn to trust him. If you’re sincerely interested in knowing more about all this, email me directly.
For your child’s sake, you need a secure mask. You need the confidence to step out onto this difficult path you’ve been called to walk. Yes, it’s scary, but you can do this. Parents, you are your child’s number one shot at a thriving life. You can be your child’s hero in ways no one expects you to be able to. The world underestimates us. Special needs parents are an audacious bunch – jump on board and let’s do this thing together.
Remember, an autism diagnosis is not the end of the road; it’s the beginning of a new journey.
And yours starts now.