By MomWise Olatunde Onabajo

*Cinderella is an amazing thirteen-year-old girl full of energy, always smiling, intelligent, beautiful, and special needs.

After Cinderella was diagnosed with autism at age four—though the signs had been obvious years prior—her mother said it was difficult to accept there was anything ‘abnormal’ about the child she’d prayed to God for and about. After six years of marriage and experiencing multiple miscarriages, she was losing hope of ever being called a mom but God was faithful with Cinderella’s pregnancy.

Cinderella is no less a daughter of the Most High God; she’s as precious, in God’s sight, as another child without a diagnosis of anything. In fact, she reminds me of the story of Emily Colson, a single mother, and her twenty-six-year-old son, Max.

Emily details their journey in the book Dance with Max: A Mother and Son Who Broke Free, where she writes about the struggles and joys of raising a child with autism into an adult with autism. Max was deemed unable to contribute to the society but Emily saw greatness in her son, she saw him as God’s gift to her family and the community at large.

It is human and christianly—and perfectly okay—to pray for the best, healthiest, and well-behaved child in the room but that’s not always the case.

Because Christ did not promise a trials-free life, Christian parents can face challenges such as a child diagnosed with autism, Type-1 diabetes, congenital heart diseases, even cancer.

Through it all, God remains ever faithful, positioning us among believers so that we never to go through the challenges alone and thank God for medical advancements.

Whatever the situation may be, it is always a relief to know that someone has most likely experienced something similar and triumphed and if they did, I like the Bible verse that says “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). If God can see Emily Colson through raising her son year after year, God can see me through whatever my struggle is even if the outcome is different from my expectations.

Emily reached out to God for support through her family, her church and medical professionals as each performed important roles in her life and that of her son, Max.

So also Cinderella’s family and today, she’s a vibrant teenager, making a difference to the Glory of God.

There are tons of help out there but unless we reach out and ask for it, we may miss out on the blessings hidden, even in our struggles.

No matter how scary the unknown is, yet in the darkest valley, God’s presence becomes light, shining brightly to make the unknown, known. (Psalms 139: 7-10).

*Name changed for anonymity