Home Schooling My Autistic Son Helped Me Start Again
This is a guest post in a series called My Resurrection Year which shares stories, reflections and experiments from Resurrection Year readers. Lisa Saul is a fantasy fiction writer (check out her blog at the end of the article). As she explains, she needed a resurrection year. But who’d have thought it would look like this? If you have your own Resurrection Year story please get in touch.
Like many writers, I’ve had my successes. A two-book deal with a major publisher was an answer to many long of hours of work and many prayers. But like many writers, I’ve watched rejection letter after rejection letter arrive from publishers too. After a fifteen year fight to survive in this brutal publishing world, I needed my own resurrection year. I just wasn’t expecting how God would provide it.
I’m starting to think we all have sub-plots going on in our lives, and it is these subplots that God eventually makes the new purpose of our lives while we’re busy chasing what we think is the ‘main’ plot. For me, that subplot is in the form of a little boy given to us nearly nine years ago in extraordinary circumstances.
After many years of infertility and grief, I eventually accepted my situation and surprisingly found myself relieved that we couldn’t have children. I saw that children were a struggle and hard work, and thought God had been kind to spare us that.
Then after a year or two of settling into childless life, God gave me a dream one night of a little boy holding my hand as we walked down an Edinburgh street (where we’d lived years ago). A little brown-haired, brown-eyed boy with glossy straight hair. There was an incredible bond between us that defied explanation. I woke up from that dream knowing I had just seen my son, and that he was coming. A month later I conceived.
Tristan was born. And even though he was born with curly blonde hair and blue eyes, I knew he would eventually be brown haired with brown eyes (quite unusual considering I have blue eyes and my husband Jeff has green eyes) and that his hair would straighten. When Tristan was three, his eyes and hair turned brown and the curls just dropped to leave glossy dead-straight hair.
That vision became a life raft during eight of the most turbulent years of my life, as we tried to raise a very complicated special-needs child with autism.
I thought God was cruel to do this to me when I had accepted life without children. I railed against motherhood, and found I could not connect with Tristan, even as we fought hard for answers to his autism and saw a very different child emerge from the one originally locked inside himself, unable to communicate with us or let us love or even touch him. At times I clung on with my fingernails to that vision, that promise of peace and a bond between us. I admit that I became very bitter before I arrived at a numb state of acceptance by the time Tristan went to school.
After completing my fourth book last year, God started to speak more clearly to me than he ever had. I felt he wanted me to home school Tristan – my high-needs, anxiety-ridden little boy who was struggling more and more to fit in with the school system. There was no doubting the message.
Before 2013, I would have fallen apart if God had asked me to home school. But after reading Resurrection Year I knew this kind of change was exactly what I needed. While Jeff and I were burnt out from Tristan’s issues, I was even more burnt out by writing. Sheridan left his radio show to go overseas when he hadn’t wanted to, but the result was his own resurrection year. Inspired by this, and much to the surprise of friends, I said an enthusiastic Yes to God about home schooling.
And so this year I have thrown myself into home education.
And I have loved every second of it.
For the first time ever there is peace between Tristan and me. Tristan is actually happy. He smiles. He laughs (which he never used to do). He is starting to love life and understand what was once confusing for him. It is actually the most peaceful, restful year I have ever experienced.
Had I picked a resurrection year for myself it most certainly wouldn’t have looked like this – and I would have missed out on so much. I am glad God chooses our paths for us. The relationship between me, Tristan and my husband grows every day. We are starting to bond in ways I couldn’t imagine, just like in the vision. I have gone from resenting my child, to loving having him around and enjoying doing things with him.
And guess where we will be in August this year?
Through the twists and turns of yet another sub-plot, we will be in Edinburgh.
Writing under the name LR Saul, Lisa is the author of four gripping fantasy novels: Bloodline: Alliance, Bloodline: Covenant, Sacrifice and the newly released Redemption. You can find Lisa’s books here and check out her blog here.