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May 5, 2016
Sacha Sewhdat

In 1970, Michelle Sim gave birth to her second child, a boy named Paul.  Paul would eventually be diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder at 35 but Michelle and her family would live lifetimes before being able to put a name to the behaviours they learned to live with and, eventually, love.

We tend not to think of moms like Michelle on Mother’s Day but, her experience and insights about trusting God through the adversity of raising a difficult child are equal parts challenging and empowering.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

For more from Michelle, click on the audio link below.

Total runtime: 12 minutes and 42 seconds.


Sacha@CONTEXT: You never say it directly in your book but I get the sense that at one point you thought that this may have been your fault, that it was a punishment in some way.  Do I have that right?

Michelle Sim: Yes. That is definitely the way I felt. I’m going to be really honest here, I was pregnant before I got married.  I grew up in the church but left at 17 because of the hypocrisy that I saw.

My first child is brilliant.  He was very easy.  So, when my second child came along, I felt that this was some sort of a punishment.  It would have been pretty easy to pick up that idea back in the sixties and seventies.

Now that I know the love and the character of God, I no longer feel that way. In fact, I feel the exact opposite; that God has entrusted me with a very difficult situation and that, with Him, I can certainly do very well.

Sacha@CONTEXT: That’s a very empowering perspective to believe that God has entrusted you with his child, in a way. How did you arrive at that?

Michelle Sim: Oh, over time. How I arrived at it was over time understanding and knowing what The Word says about the character of God.  

The Satanic realm is out to kill, steal, and destroy and then there’s our Father who’s saying, “it’s okay, I’ve got it, you’ve got it.  You’ve got Jesus in you.  You can do this.”  So, it took time because when these things happen, your first inclination is 'poor me. Why did this happen to me? I can’t do this.’

I had a husband that worked terrible hours.  I had no family help and no friend help because Paul was so difficult to be around.  So, you feel very, very much alone and you come to this place where you realize that the only one who is never going to leave you is God.  If God is good and God is love then this is all going to turn out and as it happens, I’ve been able to help thousands of women with these challenges.

If you have a child—and some people have two or three children like this—then God trusts you so much. To shift, and look at it from this completely different perspective is incredibly empowering.

Sacha@CONTEXT: You say in the book, ‘the most important thing I accomplished was being the mother Paul needed me to be to help him reach his full potential’.  That’s a very different statement than ‘the most important thing I did in my life was be a mom,’ which we sometimes hear from the ‘supermom’ generation.

Michelle Sim: It is the greatest honour to think that we can house humans.  To think that we can feed humans.  To think that we can protect, as a mother bear, humans. It is such a privilege and it’s not always looked upon like that in this world.

I think of our saviour, Jesus Christ. He, too, needed to be embedded in the womb of a woman. I’m sure God could have caused Jesus to show up because has the power to do that. But he chose the womb of a woman for even Jesus Christ to come forth out of and so, it’s the understanding of how important this mother role is. How important this nurturing role is.

Sacha@CONTEXT: What would you say to someone who might be thinking, ‘Michelle, I’m not as strong as you.’

Michelle Sim: I wasn’t strong, either.  I used to be not a strong person because everything came easy to me. My school work came easy, my sports came easy, I was popular—all that stuff.  Even my first son was so easy and, then came my Paul.

The existence of him in my life made my life a living hell. I did not know what I was going to because I was not equipped in anyway to deal with this challenge. That’s what caused me to fall on my knees and say God, “God, if you exist, come and help me.”

I don’t care what the challenge is. Challenge gives us the opportunity to grow our faith. Challenge gives us the opportunity to give our lives over to God and that’s what I chose to do 34 years ago.


Catch our special Mother’s Day episode this Sunday, May 8 at 9:30AM EST on Global.



Comments

Mi Michelle has such strength and I know omit comes from Christ Jesus. And we can all have the same strength if we focus on Him. Love you sister in Christ.
May 13, 2016 | Judy Travis


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