In my last post I shared our process of how our daughter was diagnosed with Autism. It is still early in the journey and we have so much to learn about her. Therapies and specialized schools are being set up to help her and mostly help us as parents. Like I shared in my last post, lately I had been feeling so lost and unconnected with my daughter. When you first become a parent you have these ideas of how it's going to be. When Tennessee was born I couldn't wait for the day to play dolls with her, have a tea party and share stories with giggles. Now she is almost 4 and life looks different. She doesn't like to play with dolls, she can only sit still for a tea party for about one minute and prefers to talk about movies rather than share her day. But she loves to read, sing, dance and play guitar with me for hours. And I couldn't be more in love with her.
I remember when my niece was diagnosed with autism, my husband had a conversation with his sister about praying for healing. We listened and really tried to understand why she didn't want us to pray for healing. She said that her daughter was perfect the way she was. I remember at that time thinking, 'How could you not want your daughter healed?' Every Christian molecule in my being was screaming "God can fix this! Just let Him fix this!" In a culture where healing was everywhere, it was a natural response to want to pray for healing. Looking back on that moment, I never would have thought I would say that I get it now. Now that we are walking on a similar path I can honestly say I get it. And if someone asked me that question, my response would probably be the same. Let me explain why.
I know God heals. I've seen it with my own eyes. I know and believe that He can do anything. I believe in the supernatural and believe that He is the same God today as He was in the book of Acts. I also believe that we as followers of Christ can pray and see healing happen today. I attend a church that believes the same thing. But let me explain why I would not let you pray over my daughter. Because I believe she is perfect the way she is and I don't want her thinking that she needs to be fixed.
When I was 6 months pregnant with Tennessee I went to a woman's conference at Bethel Church in Redding, CA. After one of the meetings, a young girl sitting behind me asked if she could pray for the baby. I had never met her and agreed. She began to prophesy over her. She said that Tennessee, would be a singer/songwriter and have influence in Nashville (we still lived in CA and had no intentions of moving at this time. This was also confirmed by Shawn Bolz word when she was two). That she would even write plays and be poetic; she would have a natural ability towards music. She said that at a young age she would be a carrier of peace and joy and have favor surround her. She even said that she saw her with curly brown hair. Then she said, she would also find it difficult to make friends and we as parents would have to help her in that area. And that she would be extremely sensitive to atmospheres around her and that I as a mother would have to help her discern what she was feeling and how to handle it.
Looking back at that word it could not have been more accurate. The last two things describe a person with autism; but when I heard them I had no idea what they meant. Now, knowing our little Tennessee it all makes sense. God was preparing me for the gifted child that Tennessee is. He created her with an increased ability to memorize song and melody. By 18 months, she was singing songs on pitch. He created her with a heighten sense of the unseen atmospheres around us. He created her with an incredible joy that is so deep in her that she disregards what the social moment calls for and just laughs. He created her with disregard of social boundaries that she will throw her arms around the homeless person standing next to us in the elevator and bring them to tears. The abilities that He created within her are so special that sometimes she doesn't know how to let them out. He was giving me a heads up that I would have to learn how to parent her differently. Because of the incredible call on her life, I would have to learn to see the world how she does. In all it's wonder, all it's sound, all it's light and all it's joys. He created her so perfectly for what her destiny is. So no, she doesn't need to be fixed, because she is perfect the way she is. She was designed to change the world.
Her autism does not define her. The things that make her different, I celebrate.
So if you ask to pray for my daughter, I will say this: Pray that she never stops going against the norm, pray that she always stays innocent and free, pray that she never loses her wonder, pray that we as parents can understand and see as she does and pray that she always knows she was fearfully and wonderfully made.