Thursday, March 20, 2014

Acceptance Begins at Home

So now what? We who are strong are not just to satisfy our own desires. We are called to carry the weaknesses of those who are not strong. Each of us must strive to please our neighbors, pursuing their welfare so they will become strong. The Anointed One Himself is our model for this kind of living, for He did not live to please Himself. And as the Scriptures declared, “When they insult You, they insult me.”[a]  You see, everything written in the days of old was recorded to give us instructions for living. We find encouragement through the Scriptures and a call to perseverance that will produce hopeful living. I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the Anointed. In this unity, you will share one voice as you glorify the one True God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, our Liberating King.
 
So accept one another in the same way the Anointed has accepted you so that God will get the praise He is due.
~ Romans 15:1-7, VOICE ~

accept verb
to regard as right or true 
Synonyms accept, buy, credit, swallow, take, trust
Related Words account, accredit, understand; assume, presume, suppose; conclude, deduce, infer
Near Antonyms distrust, doubt, misdoubt, mistrust, question, suspect; challenge, dispute 
Antonyms disbelieve, discredit, reject*

Poser.  Imposter.  Fraud.

Yes, these are all words I have ascribed to myself over the past 18 months as I try to process the fact that my daughter is on the Autism Spectrum. 

"Imposter Syndrome" is a documented, widely known psychological phenomenon where an individual feels like they are a fraud, despite accomplishments at school, on the job, or even in daily living.  Oddly enough, one of the most significant ways to deal with these feelings is to accept the underlying insecurity that triggers such self-perception.  Acceptance ushers in normalization, allowing an individual to conquer their self-doubt.
 
Yes, this "syndrome" would describe ME, especially when it comes to identifying myself as the mother of a girl with Asperger's Syndrome.

As I puzzled through this with my husband, we tried to grasp where such faulty thinking originates.  Could it be that we only came to the realization that our daughter has this diagnosis within the past few years?  Is it the fact that there are so many other parents whose child faces a far more difficult version of this spectrum disorder?  This is not necessarily her primary or only diagnosis, with such complexities as severe allergies, asthma, ADHD, and most recently, a bleeding disorder.

There's no doubt to me where she stands when you look at the many nuances involved with Theory of Mind. One colleague explained to me awhile back that this, not the ability to make eye contact, is the deciding factor that determines whether or not a child is on the Autism Spectrum.  Her Sensory Processing Disorder, her social awkwardness, her inability to put herself in the shoes of another, and her need to have many nuanced expressions of speech explained to her in detail are just a few of the quirky things that make our daughter uniquely herself.

And maybe that's where they answer lays.

In reality, perhaps my "imposter syndrome" is rooted in a lack of acceptance.  The truth that my daughter's differences collectively have a name is perhaps something that challenges me this far into the parenting journey.  The forgiveness that I fail to give myself in realizing that it's a diagnosis and not me that is responsible for some of her difficulties -- it's all part of this.  Too many years of subconsciously buying into the accusations of others...  Too many years of trying to make adaptations at school...  Too much time trying to make sense of what we saw going on with her at home...  It couldn't be as easy as being labelled an Autism Spectrum Disorder, could it?

But then we who parent a child on the spectrum know 
none of it is easy, don't we?

Always having to be "on" in order to manage our child's challenges in the home, pushing back against bullying, deeply craving and fostering peer friendships, dealing with relatives who will likely never "get it", working on the IEP's in partnership with the school, and praying relentlessly that the future will be bright for our kids never allows us to be completely at ease.

Still, we can accept, and it is that Romans 15 acceptance that I am stepping into as I lay down these feelings of fraud. 

PRAY:  Father, it is so funny how our feelings and perceptions can deceive us.  Forgive me for not accepting with gratitude and love that which You have entrusted to my care.  Strengthen me as I continue to advocate for my cherished child.

~ Barb Dittrich

Footnotes:
  a.  15:3 - Psalm 69:9

*Merriam-Webster, Incorporated



2 comments:

  1. I feel as though I am walking in your footprints right behind you as I read your blog posts. My 6 year old daughter could be substituted perfectly for Sophie in every post I have read, minus the bleeding disorder. Although, that too is a possibility in the future, as my oldest was diagnosed with VonWilebrands at 13 years old. I thank God for directing me to this ministry. I have felt so alone for so long, unable to find another situation quite like ours. To know that someone out there really does get what our family deals with, and is christian to boot, is such a gift. I look forward to many more encounters with your ministry. I will continue to lift your family in prayer as I am sure you will do for mine. God bless you,
    Teresa Maberry

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    1. Teresa, I'm so glad you found us too! Feel free to connect with us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/snappinministries. You can join one of our Side-By-Side Small Groups. No need to feel alone any longer!

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