I grew up in the church, and was baptized at 11.
I married a Christian man, and we have taught the Bible in our home and taken our kids to church since they were weeks old.
They were all dedicated at some church or another.
God is central in our lives.
All the lessons we teach our children daily center around how to emulate Christ’s behavior in the Bible.
We haven’t had severe poverty or war torn environments to overcome.
We’ve never been rich, but we do ok.
We have made sacrifices to ensure our children are well educated and cared for.
In all our planning, we never anticipated a child with severe food allergies.
We never dreamed about a child with autism.
We never imagined we’d live through a global pandemic with negligent leadership.
But here we are.
Initially we thought our second child was quirky.
He communicated via sign language as his speech was challenging at best to understand.
He obsessively lined up his toys.
And OH the fits that befell us if any of his things were millimeters askew.
We thought he was intense.
But he was gaining language.
He wasn’t regressing in any areas.
He was just himself—quirky, intense, our perfect, premature son.
He was seven when we finally decided something else must be going on.
He had a full neuropsych evaluation which showed us he had autism.
And an IQ that would rival Einstein’s.
Prior to that set of answers that allowed me to direct my research, teaching, and discipline, we had struggled through his earlier years of parenting.
We couldn’t figure out how to help him through his massive tantrums—meltdowns.
We relied on each other, and God, to get through each harrowing day rife with multiple, sometimes hours long meltdowns.
Over the color of his cup.
We had all but given up and decided he would just be a screamer.
God led us to have an evaluation done, though.
He showed us we needed to adjust our parenting and expectations so we could be more effective parents to our precious gift.
God led me to the research I needed.
He prompted me to write my book and blog about our journey so others wouldn’t experience our strife.
God directed me to freely help others in parenting whenever they reached out.
God walked us through the fires of raising a child we didn’t understand and holds my hand as I counsel other parents regardless of whether their children have autism.
Perhaps we would have sought help with that son, Will, had we not been so exhausted from attempting to parent him and his younger brother, Mack.
Mack was a force as a baby and toddler.
He destroyed everything in his path.
Obviously keeping them separated in a 900 square foot house was a challenge.
Will needed a safe space for play.
And Mack needed a safe space to explore and survive.
Mack was born with more than 60 food allergies and sensitivities.
Like all moms, I thought I had done something to cause this.
However, I have come to a place where I understand God allows certain circumstances in our lives for purposes higher than ourselves.
I learned to cook in a new way.
I learned to shop differently.
I learned not to waste food.
I learned to be strong about my boundaries.
Mack changed our lives for the better.
I am writing a book about our allergy journey as well.
My goal again is to help others.
God made me a helper.
Like with Will’s struggles, Mack has given me the understanding regarding food that allows me to help those who are navigating the terrifying world of cross contamination and epinephrine injectors.
As these boys are just 9 and 11, we are by no means “through” these trials.
In some cases, we are just embarking on the scariest years of them.
However, God has walked with us or carried us through the fires thus far.
He will continue to stand in them with me as He did with Shadrach, Meshach, and Obednigo all those years ago.
Daniel Chapter 3
I trust God will continue to shed His light on our lives as we discover what’s next.
He will guide me to the right people who will help me as we approach teenage years with these difficulties.
He will guide me to who needs my help and love through their own trials.
I rest in His assurance.
God allows certain circumstances in our lives for purposes higher than ourselves.
Rest in God’s assurance.
Guest Blogger: Kendra Rogers
Kendra Rogers was born in PA in 1984 where she attended elementary school before moving to AL for third grade. In PA, she had a second grade experience that still affects how she learns and teaches. The class wasn’t challenging, and the teacher was not understanding. She had the privilege of attending a gifted and talented pull-out program during the school day, but still remembers being bullied by the teacher. In AL, she learned to do just enough to earn the A’s she felt she needed. Her mother homeschooled Kendra for eighth grade which increased her desire to do so with her own children one day. Just before entering high school, Kendra moved to MI where she still lives. In high school and college, Kendra enjoyed faster paced classes and advanced placement. She also enjoyed doing exactly what the instructors cautioned against—seeing them as challenges to be attacked. She is now married to a gifted man whose childhood was anything but accommodating of such a gift. They are trying to raise and educate four gifted children with minds of their own and lofty goals. Kendra chose to write “Growing Exceptional Seedlings: Companionship for Parents of Neurodivergent Kids” because of her experiences raising such children. She powered through their early years guessing how to address their many large needs, but without knowledge from those who had gone before. The helper in her spurred Kendra to write her story in hopes that it would help countless other parents avoid the sleepless nights wondering whether they’d completely failed their children that day. In addition to her first book, Kendra writes a blog and has three more books she is planning and working on.
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