October 18, 2017

The Rewards of PATIENCE

Posted on May 26, 2016 by in Home & Hearth

“I have no reservations saying that your son is definitely on the Autism Spectrum,” his psychiatrist said. I had been waiting for those words for twelve years, nine months, and nineteen days.

I knew when he was born that my son, Troy, was “different.” He had “trouble transitioning” after birth and was placed in the NICU for two hours until he was too hungry to keep there. He was an extremely needy baby. He wanted me and only me twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. No one else would do.

I went through near hell trying to figure out all of the ins and outs of nursing him and had almost every problem a mother can encounter in doing so. When he began to eat solid foods, he would stuff his chubby cheeks so full that he would gag before he would figure out that he needed to swallow. His development was slower than other babies of the same age; the only thing he did do “on time” was sit up. For everything else he was at least a few months behind other kids his age.

Then there was church preschool…

His teacher would tell me almost daily that he had a tough time moving from one activity to another. He would get really frustrated if he had to stop doing something that he wanted to do and move to an activity that he liked less. Sharing toys and working with others were also issues that caused a near meltdown over every day.

BUT, there were also his artistic abilities…

At age three, he drew a 3-D perspective drawing of a Great White shark coming head-on towards the viewer. THREE-YEAR-OLDS DON’T DO THAT! Shortly thereafter, he copied Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” And he has continued to excel in the visual arts, reading, and writing, especially comics and character drawing.

I had mentioned these difficulties and accomplishments to his pediatrician. “Oh, he just has a sensitive temperament. He’ll be okay,” the doctor would say. But in my heart I knew that there was MORE to this than just a sensitive temperament. I knew that Troy was a special kind of kid and suspected that his kind of special was Autism.

In college, I had been an Autism Therapist, trained in the Lovass Method of ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), a therapy form that works especially well with kids who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. I had worked one-on-one with a girl who had pretty severe Autism. I learned so much from her; especially, how to spot kids that were “on the Spectrum.” (Coincidence?)

Later, after college and before kids, I was a Kindergarten teacher in a lovely public school in the sleepy little town of Lake Stevens, in Washington state. All of the teachers used to tease me; every year they’d ask me, “So, Cresta, how many ASD kids do you have this year?” implying that I was the Kindergarten teacher who always ended up with the undiagnosed kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and it was true. Each year, there was at least one child I ended up referring for testing! (Coincidence?)

I don’t know if it was irony or God’s Will, but when we were blessed with Troy, I knew that he was the continuation of that work that God had started in me many years ago. This kid, MY kid, was different – SPECIAL – and it was and is my life’s work to make sure he knows that God has amazing plans for him.

Over TWELVE YEARS I HAVE WAITED for some “expert” to affirm what I knew about my child. That’s a LLLLLLOOOOOONNNNNGGGGG time! There have been so many trials and tribulations, difficulties and strife. I have almost pulled my hair out in frustration when Troy just wouldn’t calm down after one of his siblings committed a minor transgression against him. It has been trying!

Little did I know that the Lord was there, working diligently, paving the way for this diagnosis, these words that finally said what I’ve known since the very beginning. God was using this, using Troy, to test my patience and give me time to develop it into a usable skill.

Of course, when a Christian is considering the virtue of patience, we often think of poor Job. Here is a man who endured so much pain and suffering, yet he never once cursed God for his troubles! My twelve-plus years waiting for the official word on my son’s condition looks like a 15-minute cat-nap compared to what Job faced! What a humbling thought.

Luke 21:19 says, “In your patience possess ye your souls.” Oh, how true! When we lose our patience waiting for that affirming word, the monetary blessing, the healing for which we have been praying, we lose our souls! We can become obsessed and consumed by the THING that we perceive God is withholding. What’s really happening is that the Lord is working tirelessly and diligently and waiting for the right time to let us know what is in His Plan.

The Good News here is that no matter what, Jesus rewards PATIENCE. Now that my family has finally gotten an “official” diagnosis, we are able to move forward in getting Troy the services he needs to be able to become a well-rounded, functional, valuable, contributing member of society. I have had ample time to look into what these services are and how we can go about accessing them.

I have found that my heart has softened toward Troy. I am now even more PATIENT with him and his idiosyncrasies. In the past, his irritation at his sister’s backseat singing would irritate me. Now, I calmly ask Troy to take a deep breath, and then I ask his sister to wait until we get out of the car to sing. God is rewarding those twelve-plus years of my patience with Him by giving me patience of my own for my kids. Thank you, Jesus!

By Cresta Ogle – Helpmeet, Mini-farm Maven, Homeschool Teacher, Barefoot Gardener, and Mom to a Very Amazing Bunch of Kiddos.

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