How Autism Grew my Faith

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Judge Not

Luke 6: 37 “Judge not and you will not be judged. Condemn not and you will not be condemned.”

I have to laugh when I look back at my oldest child’s toddler years. I have to hand it to her, she was pretty much the perfect baby and the perfect toddler. She was so smart and caught onto things quickly. She made a parent (and grandparent) very proud.

She was strong willed,(but so am I ); so, at first I admired that in her. I was fresh out of graduate school with a near perfect child asking myself, “Why do people make such a big fuss about parenting? I could have several more.” I would see parents with their children in the mall and their child pitching a tantrum over something they wanted or be with a friend and their child constantly interrupting adult conversations. I would think to myself, “My child will never do that! I will make sure of it!” After all with all the knowledge of psychology and parent training books I had read, this seemed pretty easy.

Sure, my daughter got in the occassional trouble at pre-school but mostly because she was so bright no one knew what to do with her. She was verbal so early that in her “under 2” preschool class she was the only one who could speak full sentnces. She was like the leader of the class. The other kids looked up to her because they could not speak. I will never forget the day I went to pick her up and her teachers were frazzled. Not one child had napped that day and it seemed my daughter was reason.

She led a rebellion in the cribs that day. She told all the other children to tear off the sheets from their beds and throw the mattress overboard. The teacher was in the bathroom for a few seconds to wash her hands and when she emerged toddlers where throwing sheets and trying to lift their mattresses. My daughter was the commander in chief of the army. Some said, “No nap!” The teacher said, “You need to speak with your daughter about her leadership because they listen to her more than they do me!”

At the age of 2 my daughter got it. She never did that again but also learned she could quickly get others in her class to do what she wanted to do. She somehow knew she had this power in speech. She possessed something they did not have- words.

How does this have to do with judging not? Well, in my pride I somehow thought my husband and I had done just this awesome job in rearing her and her intelligence and leadership and speech were all results of a well thought out and healthy pregnancy. Why couldn’t everyone’s child behave like mine? Trust me I did not say that when she was in elementary school!  Sure, she is spirited. Many who have taught her would vouch for that. This verse takes on more meaning as you read later into my story. I judged. I wish back then I would have learned this verse.

Later, I can certainly tell you. I have been judged and I have been condemned by others. At times I wonder, “Did I bring some of that onto myself?” I know in my anger with uneducated people trying to deal with my daughter I said things in judgment of them. As you are parenting a special needs’  or strong willed child, I challenge you not to judge others. Believe me, you will encounter church people, teachers, administrators, maybe even your own family who will not understand your child, your child’s needs, or your needs or where you are coming from. Please accept the challenge not to judge, but to pray.  Instead of judging, you can be an agent of change in your surrounding community. I know that is my current goal. I don’t want to change the environment to suit my child. That does not help her. However, how can I educate those around her to understand her and other children that are different. How can I partner with those who work with her to help them. Condemn not and you will not be condemned. You may be persecuted and your parenting attacked, but on the eternal perspective, God has your back when no else does.

A future blog will discuss the age old question- judging versus warning others who are in sin. That is a totally different concept.  Beware of judging the intention and motives of others because we only have what we see- God sees the heart.  When I see others having difficulty with a child and I can see their obvious embarrassment about it I quickly now say, “Don’t worry, I am not judging I live in glass house myself and I will not throw a stone 🙂 “

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