Last Updated on February 14, 2012

While straightening a shelf, I came across a scrapbook my mother made when the girls were toddlers. A wave of nostalgia hit me, so I opened it up. Page after page featured my joyful girls, playing and smiling for the camera. As I kept looking, a big, fat lump formed in the back of my throat, and I kept asking myself the same question. When? When did sweet, happy Rachel become autistic? What happened? When did this monster take over my precious baby and try to steal her from me?

I can’t fully communicate the pain I often feel, but I know so many of you have been there in one way or another. We all know life isn’t fair. I’m not the first to ask why, how, or when questions. I’m not the last. And I think that’s okay. God is a loving Father. He’s not afraid of or shocked by our questions, but He doesn’t always answer them in the time frame we’d like. I can see how having an autistic child has grown me, matured me, taught me more about deep love than I imagined myself capable, and given me a longing for eternity. But it has given me more pain than I sometimes think I can bear. And I still have all those questions.

I may always have them, but the important thing is not to get stuck there. I can’t remain in the swamp of questions, wallowing in my whys and drowning in my pain. I have to keep moving, focusing on the solid ground of what is in store for me, for everyone. It’s what the apostle Paul referred to as “the prize.” Someday everything will be restored, everything will be good, and every tear will be wiped away. Until then, I wait and work to make things the best they can be here on earth.

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  1. Thank you Jennifer for you words of encouragement. It is encouraging to me to know that I am not alone. Although I don’t have an autistic child, I do have a special needs child and can relate to you. I can admit I too have been stuck and still fill stuck in the questions. It is hard for me to watch other children who are the same age or younger than my son run and play when he can’t. I am thankful for the things he can do and we take it a day at a time. We celebrate each goal he accomplishes.

  2. Some days, months and years are harder than others. I understand. My daughter w/ autism is 10, now. There was a time when autism had us. The monster is a memory, mostly, who sometimes visits during stress and illness. Thanks to RDI(r) and biomedical treatment, autism doesn’t have us anymore.

  3. Thanks for sharing, ladies. What an encouragement to other moms you are. Penny, I hope more of us will be able to tell a story similar to yours!

  4. Emily Jordan says:

    As I read through your posts I can so relate to the similarities with my daughter who is now 12. She was diagnosed at 4 with Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder and Sensory Integration Disorder, but as I have learned so much through the years I believe had we done further testing they would have found Asperger's. Anyway–we have done counseling, occupational therapy, neurological testing and many other things. The thing that has helped us the most was finding Dr. Feingold was a doctor who discovered that so much of what we eat can cause all kinds of problems in our bodies including our brains. The Feingold diet in a nutshell (although there is more to it) is about eliminating all artificial colors and flavors in our food, eliminating certain preservatives, and certain natural foods, mainly fruits, that contain what is called salicylates from my daughter's diet. We have also found recently that going gluten free and dairy free are helping her tremendously. She still has tantrums occasionally but not nearly as bad and as intense as before doing this diet. The association helps people understand how the food affects us and also provides food lists of processed foods that do not contain the artificials and preservatives by brand name. Anyway…God provided this for us several years ago and I cannot help but tell people who are going through such trials and grief with their children about it. If you would be interested in knowing more my email address is This diet that I believe the Lord led us to truly saved our family. It is not a cure all but a great help. Our household was falling apart dealing with my daughter's challenges. We still have challenges with her and probably always will but there is an edge taken off now for our survival. Best wishes and thank you for sharing your life story with all of us.