Beyond Borders

courage. faith. action.

Her Voice


She has a gift. Its name is Aspergers. I call it Aspergers with a twist. You see she has the ability to recognize when this gift takes over her life. Most do not. They do not see their actions, or better said reactions. They do not see how their words affect others. Most are self centered, self absorbed. This gift with a twist goes against everything she believes, everything that she truly is. It threatens her. She misses the beauty of it. The brilliance and talent it brings.

In this world she feels she has no voice, so she whispers in the quiet. Scribbles words on paper and screen. She retreats into another world. She feels safe there. Accepted. She shuts out this world. And I let her go.

This gift has robbed her of the joys of childhood. The innocence. She has learned the cold harsh cruelty of this world at far too young an age. She feels judged and sentenced by those around her. Labeled. She is believing these lies. And they are lies. If you could look straight into the heart of this child you would know what I know. The rare gift of a beautiful soul. Something so special there are not words to describe it. This child is held close to the heart of God.

Today I give her a voice…

She sees herself as different. She sees herself as misbehaving. Acting out of turn. Disrespectful. Mean. Spoiled. She punishes herself. Severely. Her hand swipes hard against her cheek. Because she deserves it. She believes that. It swipes again. The sting brims tears. The words pour from her lips. She is horrible, she should never have done that, she is not supposed to speak that way. She is just horrible. She pushes you away. She does not deserve to be held. To be loved.

These words of self image live in her heart. She has learned them from others, and they have taken up residence. But these words, these images she has of herself could never be further from the truth.

She is full of more grace than anyone I know. She forgives in an instant the sideways glance. The look of disdain. The words whispered under breath. The names called out to her… fool, stupid, punk. These names cut and wound her deep. Yet she forgives. She cries in the night, wondering why, trying to understand what she did to deserve this. And still she forgives.

Her heart breaks for the poor and the broken. For those that have no voice. No fresh water to drink. No shoes on their feet. She weeps for them.

She cries when she hears the little brother of her friend stops breathing. He lives and it is a miracle, but the tears fall and the shoulders shudder as she collapses in my arms.

She unselfishly prays for the mother of a child that she desperately wants to make her sister. She prays for the mother. For her to find a new life. For her to find Jesus. She cannot understand why the gift is refused. When arms are wide open offering love and the mother walks the other way. She prays for her.

She feels your emotion when you walk in the room. She knows if you are hurting, angry, or happy. These emotions become hers. She feels them heavy. Her young mind not knowing how to process them. She struggles to keep composure. But they are heavy and she does not understand them. She couldn’t. They are your emotions. The weight of it breaks her and her body screams out in pain.

She says yes to things even when she does not want to, just because she does not want to hurt your feelings. She hesitates to answer questions because she is afraid her answer may not be what you wanted to hear. She lives to please you. If she doesn’t than why would you choose to love her? Accept her? She bears this every. Single. Day.

Her brain tells her everyday that her world is chaos. Chaos. The dictionary defines it like this… Complete disorder. Utter confusion.

In her mind it is a simple change in routine. The temperature being a degree warmer. The tv playing as you talk to her. Your conversation on the phone as she is trying to read. Feeling Starvation and thirst even though she may have just eaten, and if she does not get food or water right this instant, she might just die.

Unimaginable fatigue because her body will just not sleep. She longs for her eyes to close when darkness falls. And for them to open once again when the peaks on the horizon. Frustration sets in as her body just will not cooperate.

Rules not followed by others, or their disobedience makes no since when she lives every moment trying to be obedient and follow the rules.

She bottles the frustration of all these little things that her brain is telling her are huge. But it becomes too much. There is no room left to contain it it. And it spills. She wants to take it back as soon as it happens. She feels you wanting to run from her. She knows you think she is yelling. When simply her tone is the reaction to her chaos. She has lost the fight. And it spills.

She carries all this. She bears through headaches and tummy aches. She does not understand that they come because she carries all this burden of trying to live up to expectation. Your expectation. This image of normal.

Normal. I have to laugh this word. Just what is normal? Are we saying that we all don’t have our little quirks, our own pet peeves? Are we saying we don’t have things that grate on us, that push our buttons, that build up and we snap? Do we not yell at the dog, or the kids, or our spouse? Are we not ugly to the person on the phone just trying to earn a dollar, and we just do not have time to listen? No we are all the same just in different ways. We have our issues, our meltdowns our bad days. And we call this acceptable. Normal.

She wants to be normal. Ironically, she already is normal. Her normal. Our normal. And it is beautiful. She is beautiful.

This is her voice.

Author: Shelly Richardson

A stay at home mom, married to my best friend, who loves like Jesus. Together we have four beautiful daughters. One biological, one adopted and two by way of marriage. Our 12 year old daughter was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome when she was 6 years old and our youngest was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old. I have dealt with chronic illness most of my life and at times has been debilitating. It is through this illness and the special needs of our children that drew us closer to God. Beyond Borders is the place where I write out my story of living beyond my borders. A place to share of God’s love and grace, His mercy and sovereignty, and what that looks like in my own little world of chronic illness and autism. A place where courage and faith intersect and He moves me to action. My hope in writing is that you find something that inspires you. Encourages you. Makes you smile.

3 thoughts on “Her Voice

  1. Pingback: Feel Those Feelings and Develop Emotional Intelligence. | Self Improvement, Faith, & Confidence.

  2. Thhank you for writing such beautiful
    Words. We adopted our youngest with down syndrome two years ago. She started having seizures two weeks ago and it’s turned our world upside down. It’s hard not knowing if the behavior is a result of the medicine or an ache or pain that she can’t describe, sleep patterns have been off and it’s been hard on everyone. I appreciate reading this because I keep focusing on how this inconveniences me and forgetting that quite possibly she feels inconvenienced by it all too.

    • Anna, how beautiful that you adopted a little one with Downs. I am sorry you are going through the seizures. It is so hard to know what is real and what is just misbehaving. There is such a huge learning curve that no one can really help with, because every child is different. I believe all parents feel inconvenienced at some point or another, whether they have a special needs child or not. So don’t feel too bad! I pray you get some rest!

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