“You are smart. You have a voice. You will fulfill the purposes of the Lord.”
This is the phrase I speak over Jack every night as I sit by the bed rubbing his head. I started repeating this mantra at 15 months, around the time his delays became obvious.
Most nights I say it with boldness. My heart is full of expectancy and I believe every word. Some nights I say it through tears and doubt. I’ve decided no matter how the day went, or how I’m feeling, I will say it.
The other night I was putting my sweet boy to bed and felt the Lord nudging my heart: “Speak these things over yourself too.“
It felt weird at first. Almost like stealing. This is Jack’s phrase, not mine. He needs it more than I do. Or so I thought. When I stopped to think of each part of Jack’s mantra, I realized it does apply to me. Dare I say, it also applies to you?
You are smart
Even though I’m an educator, Jack’s autism diagnosis felt overwhelming. The magnitude of information and decisions regarding his therapy and education made me feel I was not prepared. But I know my children and I know myself. I’m smart when I trust the instincts God created in me.
You don’t have to raise a child with special needs to feel overwhelmed. Maybe you have willingly stepped out into something new or have been thrown into a situation. Either way, the lies will come. They will whisper you aren’t smart enough or talented enough. You will start to see others as more qualified and before you know it the lies begin to take root. If this sounds familiar, pull those weeds out and replace them with the truth of God’s word.
You have a voice
When I became a mother, many things immediately changed: my schedule, my sleep, my heart. Other changes moved in slowly and quietly. A few years into motherhood I realized I was losing my voice. Not my real voice of course. The kids will tell you my vocal cords still work just fine. I mean the other voice. You know the one. The pre-mom voice. I felt like a part of my personality went on the top shelf. I knew how to be a wife and mother but forgot how to just be me. It took time, but I’ve pushed through to find my voice again.
Whether you are parenting small children like me, recently found yourself in an empty nest, or are in a season of waiting, take the time to find your voice.
You will fulfill the purposes of the Lord
When Jack and his twin sister were born, I had a goal in sight. Knowing the first few years would be the most demanding physically, I braced for impact and told myself when they turned three, I would have more time to work on my dreams and goals. So much for that. The twins are now four and I am exhausted every day. Jack is growing towards independence but still needs a lot of support. Not only am I letting go of what I thought Jack’s future would look like, but I am also letting go of what I thought my future would be.
Don’t start feeling sorry for me, this isn’t a pity party. It’s a lesson. It took me time to learn, but I think I’ve got it now.
What if I let go of what I thought my life was going to look like and also live a wonderful, happy life as an autism mama?
The pain I have experienced in my life isn’t hindering the plan, it IS the plan. Now that I’m switching my lens, I can see Jack’s diagnosis isn’t delaying my purpose. It’s fueling it.
Perhaps your life is not what you planned, or even remotely considered. Whatever you are facing today, try changing your focus. Start seeing yourself as adequate, find your voice, and live out your purpose. I give you full permission to borrow Jack’s mantra.