Help Us Encourage Others

Set up road markers for yourself;
    make yourself guideposts;
consider well the highway,
    the road by which you went. Jeremiah 31:21a

I still hear it now—how encouraging my parents were to other special-needs parents in our small town in Oklahoma. I’ll get a friend request on Facebook from one of their friends and they will ask, “How are your parents and sister doing? Your parents were such a help when we got our child’s diagnosis.”

So it’s in my DNA to help the special-needs parents coming behind us. This verse in Jeremiah instructs me on how to best do that. I set up road markers and guideposts so I can remember what each stage was like and can better encourage others through them. I look back on our path and see how we’ve changed and grown as God has worked on us and through us. Then I share that wisdom with friends.

My older sister was the first person with Down syndrome to go all the way through our school system. My parents were trailblazers and I’m thankful for their generation who fought battles we don’t have to fight. And I’m also aware of those behind us, especially since we’ve moved to a state that has so far to go in giving kids with autism the education and services they need. There’s still work for us to do!

Many of our children can also be trailblazers for those coming behind them. Each person they meet who learns more about them and what autism can look like will help the next person with autism they encounter. I’m so thankful for how God uses us and our kids to encourage (and sometimes challenge!) others!

God, help us to remember where we’ve been and Your mercy every step of the way. Help us to encourage others on the same journey.

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