I just returned from the wonderful American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference (ACFW.com) As always, I learned a ton, spent time with God, and made lots of amazing new friends. I even met some other moms with children on the autism spectrum.
I’m always amazed and grateful for the way God arranges for me to meet other parents on the autism journey, often in the most interesting of places.
One of the writers I met was a gorgeous woman named Holly Varni. At first, I might have thought her to be just an ordinary woman (except for the beautiful part), and maybe soft and squishy inside, but after talking to her I realized this mother of a child on the spectrum was tougher than most Marines!
Just hearing her talk, I was inspired to go out and conquer autism. It felt so good to know there was another mom out there struggling like I was to raise a child with such a plethora of issues. Except this mom made me look like a marshmallow, not that she meant to, but she was so amazing and reminded me of our wonderful therapist Brenda.
In Holly’s words, “Moms of children on the spectrum must be warriors.” They have to stand firm in a host of challenges. She spoke of her son’s school coming for a home visit and telling her she enabled her son because she gave him juice without making him ask for it appropriately.
Ouch! That one hit too close to home.
But the greatest advice Holly gave was about marriage. She said, “Eighty-seven percent of people who have children with autism get divorced. If you found out you had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer, wouldn’t you want to research and find out how to prevent it?”
She went on to talk about how people will follow special diets and do a host of other preventative measures to prevent getting cancer, but what about divorce? People need to care for their marriages!
She later mentioned she’s had a manuscript sitting in a drawer for seven years, but hasn’t done a thing with it because her energy has gone toward her marriage and helping her son.
There is a woman with priorities! She was willing to put personal dreams aside for the sake of her family! And several years later, there she was finally starting to work on her personal dream. She didn’t have to give it up, she just had to wait.
I wish you all could meet her today, but she is just beginning her journey along the rocky writing path. I hope she will guest blog for me soon, but until then, may we all be warriors like Holly!