Sophie’s Story: Diagnosis Day

Sometimes life is full of really bad things.

Sometimes your dad spirals into dementia, your neighbor “granny” dies, and your child is diagnosed with autism, all in the span of a year, or a month.

Sometimes any grass seems greener, because you really feel you HAVE NO GRASS. Just a lot of dirty dirt.

Sometimes life is cruel.

But God.

God is always good. And he is always kind.

I refuse to allow my circumstances to become the lens through which I see my God. Instead, I will be steadfast in choosing to see my circumstances through the lens of God’s kindness. I choose to believe that he is always being kind to me, even when life looks kind of rotten.

That second sentence up there is a glimpse of my past year. In March of 2017, my dad underwent minor surgery, and the anesthesia accelerated his dementia. A year later we are just now starting to get it settled down a little bit. And in March of this year, my dear neighbor was in a car accident, which ultimately resulted in her death on April 30th. There are no words to express the depth of this loss to our family. Our Granny was one of a kind.

And then there was today. Today I heard the answer that I never wanted to hear, but always knew in my heart I would hear some day: Autism. When no one else saw it in Sophie, I did. As heartbreaking as it was to ask, I knew I had to. And over the last six weeks, her team has worked feverishly to evaluate her through many different assessments for the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

So, today I sat in a room and listened to her team recount her many difficulties and deficits. It was oppressive to hear. It was heartbreaking. And at the end of the meeting, I sat and listened to our school psychologist explain to me that Sophie does meet the criteria and definitions of Autism. After six long — but so incredibly short — years, we have our diagnosis, the diagnosis I never wanted.

I really don’t even know how to process any of this. Mostly my busy life and my busy children don’t allow me a lot of time for quiet contemplation to process. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, fixing this meal, cleaning up that mess, drying those tears. It’s what we do as moms. And somehow we’ll find our way with our Sophie girl. I will keep believing, keep trusting, keep praying, and watching for God to move in her sweet life. His favor clearly rests on her, and I firmly believe he has a good plan for her life.

As friends surrounded me with encouragement today as I shared this news, one friend’s words broke down all the resistance I have been feeling to this day. “You were made for her,” she said. “You were made for her.” Truly God knew from the beginning of time that there would be me, and that there would be Sophie, and he crafted us for each other. To me, this makes no sense right now. But I know she is right.

Today there have been lots of tears. This last month there have been lots of tears. This past year there have been lots of tears. But tears are not a place to stay. I don’t want to always see my life through my tears. Even as I observe these losses, these griefs, even in the sadness and the tears, I’m trusting that God is infinitely kind to me and to those I love.

12 Comments

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12 Responses to Sophie’s Story: Diagnosis Day

  1. Liesl Wyka

    This us a diagnosis , yes- but it’s just that. A name, a word, some sort of label for the ” stuff” that Sophie does or doesn’t do- for wiring that’s just Sophie’s. Remember, it’s also a way forward. It’s a flood of help. It’s focus. It’s support in a new way- perhaps not in the way you expected or from whom you expected.
    It’s also okay to cry and to sigh long, deep sighs over something that sounds so final or heavy… we still occasionally cry too over our sweet son’s life that has to be so hard sometimes.
    I know that you know that “the word” doesn’t change who she is. Know you are thought of, loved and prayed for, dear ones! It’s definitely going to be okay.

  2. Bonnie

    So sorry for all the anguish you have had to endure, especially this past month. Sophie girl and you WERE made for each other! She is so fortunate to have YOU for her mommy! Please, please excuse this next ignorant question, but I just really want to better understand….so does this autism diagnosis explain all of her difficulties of these past several years but she just was never diagnosed until now?

    • admin

      Yes — this does explain all of the symptoms, from the sensory and anxiety issues, the speech delay, even the low muscle tone. Not an ignorant question at all! 🙂

  3. Heather Shifley

    Catherine, I affirm and agree… we are chosen for our children and they are chosen for us. God has a story to tell through our lives and theirs. Indeed, His story is told through our lives as we walk humbly with Him. And nothing will separate us from His love. Take comfort! He’s with you and He’s with Sophie! “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. This who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” (Ps. 34:4-5)

  4. I knew from 15 months Aleigha had Autism. Diagnosis at 27 months still did not come easy. I follow Sophie’s story because I have seen you with her and you both truely are blessings to folks you probably don’t even know. Her teachers, friends, physicians, family etc. I will pray for ease and understanding as you jump into this new diagnosis. I pray you find peace in God the way I know you will. Please understand that others are rooting for you too! I keep a blog on Aleigha via Facebook called If you’re silly and you know it. It helps keep me sane. Reach out if you want! Always up for new friends! Prayers, Melanie Ebert

  5. Connie Bartholomew

    Dearest Catherine, I wholeheartedly agree…”You were made for this”. Yes, it is sad and very hard. We all want our children to be ‘normal ‘. That’s why people abort babies that show signs of not being ‘normal’. But how shallow our Christian walk would be if we didn’t have a cross to bear. Because of a situation in my own family, I know you were chosen for this difficult path. God picked you and your family. That is an honor. And, I know He will always walk this road with you. Take the burden to Him EVERY day. He is ALWAYS faithful. Sophie will be a blessing to all who know her.

  6. April

    Beautiful words. The Rumschlags will be praying for all of you!

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