So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

Growing up, I felt nothing if not broken. Pieces of me littered my landscape, fragmented by fear, fragility, and frequent fury at my mother’s hands. But, I quickly learned to conceal. I aged, married, mothered, was divorced from, and remarried with a lot of those shards in a semblance of order without, yet profusely bleeding me from within. Depression, some said. PTSD. Spiritual depletion. Each correct, but none the complete picture.

Jesus loved me, this I knew, yet, no matter the strategy, I never felt enough for long.

Already raising my children, including two autistics, I lived a conundrum. Encouraging my sweet babes on one hand, grappling with my own confusion in the other. I barely even considered dipping a toe in to the water concerning my own autism. Other family, sure. But, not me.

And, then, in the quiet of a morning a while ago, I felt His prompt to explore the depths of what I had dared not name. Not because I was ashamed, by any means. Just not sure I could call my tiptoe of a thought legitimate in the face of what others experienced.

So, I took test upon test. A bit stubborn at first, but, slowly softening to the Lord, keystroke upon keystroke. And what had stared me in the face much of my life became abundantly clear:  Not only was I a mother to autistics, loving and raising them to love themselves, I was autistic, too, and sorely in need of loving myself in a way I had never been able to bring myself to.

And, what’s more, I was suddenly becoming quite unafraid.

Pieces long jabbing at my soul started coming together in a new, unusually beautiful way. I felt a deeper kinship to my beloved children than ever, and a finally-makes-sense sensation fell over me.

Not that it’s boom. You’re an autist. Here’s your badge, your key to the washroom, and lifetime membership package. Yippee.

There are battles faced. Understanding to be gained both in myself and in others.

Some don’t acknowledge the experience of the mind and heart that does not have a pound of clinical paperwork as backup. Others accuse flippancy for finding joy, just as they did in my finding joy in my children, diagnosis and all. Or bandwagoning. Perhaps I am or will be dismissed quirky, or reminded I suffered abuse, and, therefore, that badge fills my label quota and should explain all.

I hope I can answer each respectfully when I simply state:  I know what I know.

After living this long alongside autism, I just…know. And should’ve known much sooner, if I hadn’t been under a pile of other ready reasons for my struggle.

I further hope there are those who can say:

“Well, all right, then. This is who you are.” And embrace me wholeheartedly, as I seek to embrace who I am in a new light.

For, honestly, it isn’t suddenly that I need a new brand of help, pity, or a cure. I need what I always needed, what my dear children have always needed – recognition and love.

Recognition it is okay to be the way God made us, fine and dandy to be happy with it, and even pretty darn useful to be unconventional. And loved truly and mightily and completely as the next. Without reservation.

Nothing different, truly, than anybody, is it?

And, back to hopes. I hope most of all my kiddos look on and see me a new example of strength, as all these jaggedy pieces of this old gal come together in a fresh way. In an unbroken way-perhaps for the first time since girlhood.

In the end, autistic or not, it’s what we all need.

Marisa Ulrich

Marisa Ulrich is a mom of four, two autistic, two “typicals," living in one of those great old fixer-uppers in rural Kansas. She is in a blessed second marriage with the handyman of her dreams. Her writing has appeared in Autism Parenting and Zoom Autism. Her first book, Broken Cookies Taste Just as Sweet: The Amazing Grace of Motherhood, Marriage, and Miracles on the Spectrum is set to debut July 19th via eLectio publishing. Join her ongoing thoughts on Facebook, and online at

When Life Feels Hard, Sit in the Light

In: Faith
book plate and mug sitting in light on a table

Because of the way our house sits, there isn’t a lot of natural light that flows into our home. As a girl who loves the sun and works at home, this has been a problem, especially in the winter months. I often find myself identifying deeply with my dog, who walks around the house in search of patches of sunlight to lay in. In fact, there is a section of my kitchen where I often sit and do my devotions because the sun shines down on me—a physical reminder of God’s love and presence. The first time I did this...

Keep Reading

Jesus of the Rock Bottom Rescue

In: Faith, Living
Sad woman sitting on floor

Have you ever hit rock bottom? I have and it was the scariest place I’ve ever been but that’s where I found Jesus. Where I truly encounter the Holy Spirit and the healing power and life He can give. I was raised in a Christian home by good parents that would have given their lives for me. I was raised in the church and loved by my church family. I enjoyed going to church as a child and I loved Jesus my whole life. At the age of 8 years old I asked Jesus into my heart and was baptized....

Keep Reading

While I Wait for Another Door to Open, I’ll Hold One For Someone Else

In: Faith, Living
Woman teaching another woman by computer

I’m waiting for another door. All my life, I’ve been told that when God closes one door, He opens another. And here I am, staring at the imminent end of the business I’ve built from nothing. Closing down what I started up from sheer willpower, too much caffeine, and the bold determination to work for myself. Scratching out what I made from scratch . . . and it feels horrible. God didn’t just close this door. He slammed it shut, boarded the whole thing up, and hammered the nails in where I cannot pry them open. Believe me. I’ve tried....

Keep Reading

Separating Work From Home is a Must For Me

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mom with baby smiling

If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the 11-year-old boy with his pale feet sticking out from under the blanket, on his way to the morgue after a gun accident.   If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the still, blue form of the 3-month-old who passed away in his sleep. We gave CPR and all the medicines “just in case,” but that baby was gone long before his caregiver brought him in through the door. If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the 3-year-old...

Keep Reading

When Teens Are Hard to Love, You Love Them Harder

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy sitting with hood up

I lay face down on the floor, praying. Praying in the loosest sense of the word. Praying in the Romans 8:26 way—you know, when the Spirit “intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Because I could not utter any actual coherent thoughts at that point. I was weary and beaten down. Day after day I had been in combat, battling an opponent I didn’t anticipate: one of my children. My own child, one of the people I had lovingly grown inside my body and loved sacrificially for all these years, had staunchly and repeatedly put himself in opposition...

Keep Reading

In This Stage of Marriage, it Feels Like We’re Roommates Who Share the Same Kids

In: Faith, Marriage
Distant couple on phones in bed

How do you get it back? How do you get back the love you once had? Everyone told me marriage was hard and having kids was hard, but I had no idea it would be this hard. I thought everyone was lying because our relationship was solid before marriage. We were best friends. Some days I feel like we’re roommates who share the same kids. It disgusts me even to say that, but it’s the truth. Marriage is hard and has ugly sides to it that everyone seems afraid to talk about. RELATED: Keep Showing Up Even When Marriage is...

Keep Reading

You Are the God of Details, but God These Details Don’t Make Sense

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Window open with shutters

That was not the plan. What just happened in there? We walked out a bit defeated. More than a bit. I felt deflated. Things were supposed to be different by now. This wasn’t what I asked for or expected. This wasn’t even what they told me would happen. We cross the street in silence. Headed to the car and as soon as I shut the car door, I could no longer hold it in. I let the tears flow. All this unknown. I don’t understand. This is life. This is foster care. This is what we chose. That doesn’t make...

Keep Reading

I Am a Good Enough Mom

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother kissing toddler

I came to motherhood knowing nothing about the job. My mother’s example wasn’t an example at all, more of something to forget, and maybe even get therapy for. My own son was the first newborn I’d ever held. When I became a mom, I was 23 and clueless.  Because of my personality, I wanted to do everything right and parenthood was no exception. I read all the books on parenting I could. I talked to older moms and soaked up all the advice they gave me. Having no idea what I was doing made me look to outside sources to inform...

Keep Reading

God’s Plan For Me Wasn’t What I Expected

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman walking with children silhouette

I grew up in a family where we knew who God was. We went to church, and we were involved in church. However, when we weren’t at church, time spent in the Word fell to the wayside. Don’t get me wrong, my parents were wonderful people, but we didn’t make that a priority in my house.  Going into adulthood, I realized I had deceived myself into believing I had a relationship with God. I knew God loved me, but I questioned whether I loved Him. I wasn’t living life in a way that was glorifying to Him. I’m not only...

Keep Reading

But God is Still Good

In: Faith, Living
Woman looking out window

“I can’t afford a new one,” I thought to myself as I shampooed another stain. This can’t keep happening. Maybe I made a mistake. I have to make this last. And the couch. And the clothes. And all the things. We are done having babies. The price of food has doubled. It’s astronomical to fill the cars with gas. Things are closing in on me. How can I best serve my family? Survival mode engaged. When I read the news, when I follow the headlines, when I listen to the conversations around me . . .  I hear fear. Loss....

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.