She was probably in her mid fifties, although she looked older. She patiently waited as I talked and prayed with other ladies. The day before, I had taken the train to get to Kingston, Ontario for this speaking engagement. It had gone very well and the women were so receptive. It was early December so it was cold and wintry outside.
As the lady approached me, she seemed very weary, as if she was carrying a heavy weight on her shoulders. I reached out and took her hands in mine and as she shared, her eyes brimmed with tears.
"My son is twenty-one" she said. "He has a learning disability and doesn't have any friends. No one wants to bother with him. His birthday is today and when I get home, I will have a birthday cake for him. It will be just him and me." She told me how hard it was to see him so sad, to not belong.
I will never forget that moment. I saw her broken heart. She asked me to pray for him and for strength for her. I gave her a hug and held her as she sobbed. I prayed as best as I could. Then I cried with her. I know God heard us that day. I think He cried with us.
I have never been a mother. I have never experienced the anguish a mother feels when her child is different and doesn't seem to belong anywhere.
My friend Michelle Sim has just written a book about her youngest son Paul, who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder. I am halfway through it. I have known some of the "stuff" this family has been through. Reading about it is another thing. When I read the part where the other kids set fire to Paul's school uniform pants and when they made him stand in a big water puddle and drove their bikes back and forth till he was soaking wet, I cried.
Reading this book is stirring things up in me. Not so much about my past, but an ache for moms whose hearts are broken.
I would recommend her book. It is called "My Son, My Gift (Living with Autistic Spectrum Disorder)" It will give you a glimpse into the life of a caring mom, who has gone through hell and back, trying to help her son, trying to find a diagnosis of what is wrong, and the misunderstandings that go with it.
There are a few words in the English vocabulary that I detest. Words like worthless, retard, idiot, loser, to name a few. I know first hand the damage that those words can do and it took me many years to come to the conclusion that I am none of the above.
You see, when you are told something over and over, you start to believe it.
My Heavenly Father thinks I am beautiful! That is ALL that matters.
To those mothers out there who are hurting who have gone and are going through the pain of knowing that their children are made fun of, and considered less than others, I feel to say to you that God has given you a precious gift. He knew that your child would be teased and hurt but He knew that you would be there for them, and that His strength would see you through. What the enemy has meant for evil God will turn around for good. You watch and see! May God enfold you in His mighty loving arms and give you peace - His enduring peace.