Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Autism: That the Works of God Might Be Displayed

Life got very raw at the Earls house yesterday. I (Annie) had a bit of a, "I'm the mother of an autistic child" breakdown. I felt like I lost complete control (literally of my emotions and my life) as I saw a video of a grown up with autism who had not progressed past, well... infancy really. I felt like I wanted to hold onto Bella and never let go. I wanted to impart all of the wisdom my feeble mind has to offer into her mind (as if it was that easy) ... I felt frantic for a cure that does not exist.... that feeling of such finality is sinking and it wrenched my stomach...

(PS I don't write this to be a downer, this is just our journey....we feel it's important to remember and recall these days)

I am taking a class right now that deals with transition services or, in other words, preparing students to transition into adulthood. Apparently, seeing adults with autism who have had to be placed in special facilities because their parents are too old to take care of them anymore, was just a little too much for me to bare. In my deepest heart of hearts, I believe our Bella will progress beyond where those people in that video were.... I now know, however, that I must mentally and spiritually prepare myself before I click on any video or link that deals with autism because the wound goes so deep within me.

With that said, I cannot take away God's glory in this situation. I was YEARNING for His word today, I was spiritually parched. I remember days long ago when I would beg for a desire to "yearn to read the Bible"...but now, it's like nothing else speaks any truth except that very thing. First, I read this....

John 9:1-3 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

If you have a child with a disability, it's hard not feel responsible in some way for their imperfections. In all reality it is sin that caused man's imperfections ... which makes me hate sin so much more. I hate it for Bella so much. In fact, last night I told Josh (ok I cried it to him) that I really HATE AUTISM. I don't feel bad saying that either. It's the result of fallen man. If I could scream that from the mountain tops I would. Ok, back to the verse...

The disciples and Jesus passed by the blind man (who was blind from birth) and I'm sure had experienced much turmoil because of this throughout his life.... the disciples asked Christ why he was blind (surely because of the sin of the parents or the child).... but, and this was where I took a deep refreshed breath.... he was blind/disabled so that...THE WORKS OF GOD MIGHT BE DISPLAYED IN HIM...

This verse is like a cool glass of water for my parched soul. God created Bella in a divine manner, with autism (which we've determined I hate). I don't hate God, I don't hate Bella (obviously), I hate the suffering she will encounter due to autsim. BUT, he created Bella just the way she is so that HIS WORKS might be displayed THROUGH HER. God can use our Bella in amazing ways. He teaches me everyday to depend on Him. He teaches me to love my husband more. He makes me sacrifice myself and my daughter and lay her at his feet every morning in perfect submission. He is already using her to teach us as parents.

I love her so much. So, as much as I hate autism, I am thankful for it. I'm thankful for the blessing it is (a quiet blessing that is planted in the soils of our hearts and cultivated...and grows with firm roots into something beautiful and strong).

Thank you God.

Friends, we ask you to pray that our Bella would experience amazing growth in her mental and spiritual understanding throughout her life....I believe God has great things in store for this little girl:)


  1. Thank you Annie for sharing your heart and being so transparent. Bella is a precious daughter of God, I know He rejoices when she progresses and feels sorrow when she struggles. If God cares that much about the sparrow how much more does He care for you.
    The Lord bless you and keep you, may His Face shine upon you.

  2. Annie...I love reading your blog. Thank you for sharing so candidly. You encourage me and minister to me through your writing, just so you know. I cannot imagine the vast emotions you experience as the parent of an autistic child. I can, however, relate to the general feelings of fear and uncertainty that come with being a parent in general. We all want what's best for our child...we want to protect them from the ugliness in this world. Your desire to lean on the arms of Jesus, and to find your comfort in HIS plan is an encouragement to parents in general. So, thank you again for sharing your heart and your story. Bless you, friend!

  3. It's never easy to put your heart into words, but you've done that so beautifully here. Thank you and God bless you, Josh and Bella. Your (all three of you) friendship and presence in our lives means more than we even know and more than God has revealed yet... I feel priveleged to know you.

  4. How interesting you posted this as I just posted a very similar entry quoting the same scripture regarding Brady...awesome how God works!


    You probably already ready it, but the link is above in case you didn't:)

    Our children are a lot alike and we still need to get together!

    Have a great day:)

  5. Annie - I came upon this blog through Facebook. It is so good to hear where you are, that you're married to a chaplain, have a precious daughter and are trusting the Lord through her autism. May the Lord use her and you even through this blog. Bless you..........."Mrs. Muston"

  6. Annie,

    I love reading your blogs. Thank you for being so candid in your journey with Josh and Bella. I'm so fortunate to know you and to call you a friend. May God continue to bless you and give you strength. Much love!

  7. Thank you for sharing
    Tim y Linda

  8. Thank you for sharing this, I forwarded it to a friend of mine with a special needs child who is burdened with the overwhelming task of caring for him and her other two children. Your reflections on scripture as you journey with Bella always encourage me.

  9. Josh & Annie,
    I know your journey is difficult but blessed and I have added the link to another friend's blog that deals with this type of pressure everyday also with the grace of God and friends and community. All three of her adopted children have special needs that vary in intensity but are there none the less. Maybe some of her insights can be of aid as you walk this journey with Bella. Keep fighting for her and being her strength! Praying for you.