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Not What I Expected
by Joanne Sher 
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This absolutely poured out of my heart, through my pen, and onto paper this afternoon. I originally thought I was writing fiction, but God showed me otherwise. I pray that it blesses and touches someone else. I know it has me. (September 27, 2008)

“Hi, Mommmeeeeeeee!”

My son’s voice, almost a scream, decreases in volume as he speeds away on his too-small bicycle. I look up from my clipboard and smile at the streak zooming away in the distance. “Hi, Andrew."

Probably too late to buy him a bike that fits for this year. October is only a few days away, and the rain--and eventually the snow--will prevent him from riding much if at all before the spring thaw, and who knows how much bigger he’ll be by then? He’s not complaining, anyway

Fall has been so slow in coming this year. Here it is, September 27, and I’m in shorts and a t-shirt. It’s probably in the upper 70’s, if not 80. I’m usually drinking hot apple cider by now, but currently a glass of ice cold lemonade sounds much more appealing.

Yet, the autumn signs are upon us. The kids are back in school. They have been for nearly a month. The local grocery store has had Halloween costumes and bags of miniature candy bars at the front of the store for weeks. And the oak tree in front of our house is beginning to put on its fall colors and drop its “clothing” onto the grass below

As I survey the school playground from my vantage point under a small shade tree, I notice that my oak isn’t the only foliage beginning to display its seasonal beauty. The branches above my head, last month covered with a lovely green, are beginning to include tinges of yellow. The grass I sit upon has been sprinkled with those same yellow leaves, along with some brown crinkled ones. No matter the temperature, fall is here, meaning winter is closer than I’d like to think.

I look up to find Andrew has left his bike by me (where his helmet is nobody knows) and is now playing in the sand with his younger sister Annika and two other kids who, from here, appear to be about Annika’s age.

It makes me think of my own childhood. When I was in elementary school, I would always feel more comfortable with younger children. Sure, I had a few friends the same age as I was, but if given the choice, I would opt to play with kids a couple of years younger. I liked their games better—the simplicity of them, I suppose. My step-mother would discourage it, but it certainly didn’t change my preferences. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-teens that the majority of my friends were of my own age group.

I wonder what kinds of struggles Andrew will have as he grows up in a world where he doesn’t quite fit. What do his “second grade friends” think when they see him acting immaturely? Do they whisper about the fact that he’d rather watch “Dora the Explorer” than “Spiderman?” Do they shy away when he’s too demonstrative? Does he understand--will he ever understand--that his awkward movements, his inability at times to control his energy and emotions, are likely to make him a “less than ideal” social companion to some? Does he realize that some people are laughing at--not with--him?

Will he ever be able to think abstractly--beyond the rote memorization where he so excels? Can he truly understand the salvation message? Will his sister, nearly three years younger, soon advance emotionally, intellectually, and socially beyond him? Will that bother him? Her? Me?

As I sit beneath an autumnal tree on this summerish afternoon, I am reminded that life doesn’t always happen the way you suspect it will. Sometimes there are snowflakes in May. Sometimes it’s 80 degrees in autumn. And sometimes your child isn’t exactly what you were dreaming of when the doctor first told you that you were pregnant.

But just because life isn’t predictable doesn’t mean there is no reason to rejoice and thank the One who put the world, and every “off kilter” part of it, in motion. It is all from Him: the summer snow, the autumn heat, and my mildly autistic son. And though life may be hard and, yes, unpredictable, I know Andrew and I will both be richer for it, and that my son will (and has!) bless me and others in ways that he never could if he were “normal.” And because Andrew is undoubtedly my gift from God, I know that he is right where he is supposed to be.

I love you, Andrew, just the way you are.

Heavenly Father, thank You for meeting me under the tree in the Kettle Lake playground this afternoon, through my own pen. I praise You for working in me to think and pray through this issue I didn’t even know I had. Help me, Lord, to trust You, and to turn my wonderful, special son--and my concerns about him--over to you as many times as I must until I really mean it. Thank You, Lord for knowing all and for being in control. And I thank you especially today, dear Lord, for my precious son. In Your Son’s name I pray. Amen.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jennifer Molloy 29 Dec 2011
It is easy for you to feel alone when you examine your life and it is not what you expected and your not in the place you thought you should be thanks for reminding me that God is in control and all of this is for his glory not mine. It's good to know that all of us feel this way from time to time but our savior is always there and he never counts us out but loves us for who we are and where we are god bless jen
Vashti Hing 01 Sep 2011
God bless you.
Anita Howell  27 May 2011
Beatifully written!! Thank you so much for sharing. As a special needs parent it was really touching and ministered to me. God bless! Anita
Olawale Ogunsola 26 Apr 2011
Joanne,we're all involved.We have our 'wishes' and 'wills' but God knows the best for us.So long His banner over us is Love,we can rejoice forever.Thanks for this article.
Justus Ondieki 23 Apr 2011
Thank you Joanne, this was so much thrilling and yes we have got all the reasons to thank God. Children are gifts from God. Thank you for sharing, keep up the spirit. Justus
Janice S Ramkissoon 19 Apr 2011
Not what you expected but exactly what God knew you needed. He has and will continue to prove Himself to you in different ways. You were specially chosen to pour out your love on Andrew and God has been training you up for this purpose even in your early childhood. I give God thanks for you and your family today. When the dark days come remember that God's grace is sufficient for you. God bless! Jan
jared broach 23 Feb 2011
Thank you for sharing this article. Love is so powerful. So amazing. I can feel it as I was reading each word. I have found through my experiences in life, That God bestoes gifts on hose He can trust. Those who have been chosen and called to do great things for the Glory of God in this life. I will daily give you and your family my prayers because I get the feeling You are blessed and HIGHLY favored. God Bless you always.
Claire Vorster 16 Feb 2011
Beautiful article Joanne. It is good to remember how tough it must have been for those guys. Just what they were facing. Thank you for your encouragement to pray for our brothers and sisters who are RIGHT NOW facing the same decisions. God bless you x
Thomas Kittrell 23 Oct 2010
Joanne, this is, I think, the first time I have read any of your work, and I do not intend for it to be the last. The comments were good, also, and I choose to echo what Bessie Flint wrote in the way of comment.

You are an encouragement, and I pray for your husband. God bless all of you.

Justus Ondieki 12 May 2010
Thank you Joane for this beautiful story, yes we have all the reasons to thank the Lord. Thank you once again for your comment on my article, "His Love". Keep writing for God. Blessings, Justus
Colin Moffett 05 Jan 2010
Hi Joanne....thank you so much for your comment on my poem ALL. It is so nice to meet you.Your writing here about your son touched my heart. I have visited your Blog also and I really must read more of what you have written. Growing up without a TV and stuff I used to devour books and read everthing I got my hands on! Hope to get to know you better. God bless. You write beautifully!
Bayor Martins 04 Nov 2009
For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son...for God so loved your son, He gave him to you and you to him. Thanks for taking this picture; not with clicks and shutters of a cam but the strokes and ink of your pen that day. This is a memoir well worth the effort. Bless you ma'am. - 'Bayor
Mary Alice Bowles 25 Sep 2009
You have blessed so greatly in the writing of this story. You have brought tears to my eys and my heart is alive with the Joy of Jesus. Thank you so very much.
Bill Grimes 29 Aug 2009
A beautiful snapshot of a day in the life in a loving family.....blessed by God and growing stronger every day......Thank you for allowing me to walk in your shoes for a moment my friend. Peace, Bill :-)
Tammy Hopkins 01 Jun 2009
Joanne, your story touched me..thanks for sharing. As I got to the end of the story, I felt the tears well up inside. Keep writing, Tammy
Kingdom Citizen 12 Apr 2009
Happy Easter. God bless you.
Linda Settles 14 Mar 2009
Joanne, this article is infused with joy. Your grateful heart and gentle spirit are a wonderful gift that you can give--and are giving--to your son and to those of us who are privideged to read your work. God bless you and your family, Linda
Rod Smith 15 Feb 2009
Very well written, and much food for thought here on life generally. Thank you for your comment.
Jacob Gibson 15 Jan 2009
Hey Joanne. Thanks for the kind critique. I really enjoyed this thoughtful piece and the your examples of things that aren't what we expect. (I also liked your word choices and sentence structures) There are two things about this that I find interesting. First, I have a brother named Andrew and second, I am a little autistic myself and I've noticed that I have an unusual enjoyment of spending time with people younger than me (But I am trying to like being with all kinds of people) Great stuff! God bless.
Kingdom Citizen 14 Jan 2009
A great piece of writing sealed with the Holy Spirit. Amen. God bless.
Sunny Loomis  16 Dec 2008
God trusted you enough to give Andrew to you as a gift.
Julia May 16 Dec 2008
This was a blessing to read and it touched my heart. Yes, Andrew is a very special little boy and he has a very special Mommy. God bless you. In Christ's Love, Julia
Angela M. Baker-Bridge 15 Dec 2008
I have two special cousins with serious limitations in my life. They both love the Lord and have been a tremendous witness to their aides, teachers, bus drivers, neighbors, and unsaved family. One is now 52, the other is 40. Their childlike faith is really what we're supposed to have anyway. Wonderful essay.
Bessie Flint 15 Dec 2008
God makes no mistakes. When he gives us an unexpected gift, he also chooses just the right person to receive that gift … someone who can and will appreciate that gift. I have found that sometimes unexpected things are planted in our path to strengthen us. Very enlightening story, one which I personally can relate to, as I have a 5 year old niece who is autistic. God likes variety, if not … he would have simply duplicated everything.... we would all be a carbon copy of each other! God bless. Bessie
Karlene Jacobsen 14 Dec 2008
This is incredible. I have those same thoughts of my 6 year old son. Then I remind myself, he is like a thumb print, not intended to be exactly like any other, and his uniqueness is what makes him special to me. It will also be part of who he is in the kingdom of God one day.


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