I sat on the return ferry as chilly evening breezes failed to dry away my hot tears. I'd just attended the 2008 Seattle Alumni event where I heard about the new MU teacher-preparation program. Through sobs, I surrendered in prayer. "LORD," I cried, "I have a sick feeling that You want me to complete that program, and that's the last thing I want to do! However, if this is Your will, I must go. But You have to show me it is Your idea and not mine, and give me the grace to do it, because I just don't have anything left in me to give."
Closed Door and Opened Window
Three years earlier, I had lost my position at school due to a huge enrollment drop. Within a month, my father's health began to slowly deteriorate and I became his primary care-giver. In June 2007, he fell to the floor in cardiac arrest. I was supposed to be dog-sitting in another town, but because they cancelled, I was at home and performed successful CPR. After six months of exhausting 24/7 care, my father was admitted to a nearby nursing home. After giving me seven months of mental and emotional rest, the LORD guided me to that Alumni event. He clearly confirmed His direction and I was accepted into the MAT program.
During the application process, God began to speak to me through verses like Psalm 71:18, to "show His strength to the next generation." Not knowing what that would look like, I entered the MAT program in January 2009. Two months later, as I read about Autism in our Special Education textbook, I discovered I have High-Functioning Asperger's Syndrome (HFAS). I finally had answers to a mountain of questions about my past. I later exclaimed, "I have Asperger's. YES!!! That means I am weak. And when I am weak, then I am strong because the power of Christ rests upon me. What better way to show His strength to the next generation!" I was thrilled in my spirit. Not only was God using Asperger's to glorify Him, but He had made it a gift to build my faith and the faith of others.
When my father passed away in April 2009, I began going to counseling. It was freeing, life-changing, and healing, as my therapists and I worked together to develop successful compensation tools for AS and to build God's truth in my heart about my identity in Christ.
Little did I know that God had planned to heal a lifetime of frustration and hurt when He called me to MU. What I would have missed had I not obeyed that call! A garden full of flowers is blooming in my heart where once was a dry, lonely desert. As if this weren't enough, a few days before Graduation in May 2010, God provided the entire sum of my student loan. I stand in awe on the sidelines of my life and watch God at work on a daily basis. I am speechless!
About the Author
My name is Carol I graduated from Multnomah School of the Bible (as it was called then) with a BA in Sacred Music in 1987. After assisting 18 years in the elementary private Christian school setting, I returned to Multnomah University (as it is now known) in January 2009 and completed the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program in May 2010, where I also received my teaching certificate for the state of Oregon. During the 2010-2011 MU school year, I completed the one-year Reading Specialist Endorsement program. I am returning to Port Orchard, Washington, where I will work on the hope-filled story of my journey through life with High-Functioning Asperger's Syndrome, and the tools I have learned to successfully compensate for it - while preparing for upcoming doctoral studies in Special Education.