There are so many amazing people in our community, going through hard stuff, navigating life, and making a difference along the way. We want to introduce them to you so you can be encouraged, inspired and above all, know that you aren’t alone.
Meet Julie Hornok of United in Autism, today’s featured Wednesday Warrior. Read along to hear more of her families powerful story and how God has been “reframing” it along the way.
What life challenges have you/are you overcoming?
My daughter, Lizzie, was diagnosed with autism days after her second birthday. Overnight, I went from the typical suburban mom life of play dates with friends at the mall to implementing 30-hour-a-week therapy program for my daughter. I lived with the belief that, “If I work hard enough, I can accomplish anything.” Autism was the first experience I faced that I couldn’t fix with hard work and grit. I struggled to deal with the lack control I had over my own life.
What is something that most people don’t know about you, but you want them to know?
Although I have interviewed families all over the world, I still have yet to physically leave North America. Now that my kids are getting older, I can’t wait to travel!
How has God helped you “Reframe” your perspective along the way?
I wasn’t an empathetic person pre-autism. My “can do” attitude kept me from understanding the hurt others were experiencing. One of the things people love to say to you when you are going through something difficult is, “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle.” For me, nothing could be further from the truth. God gave me exactly what I couldn’t handle, so He could change me, mold me, and use me. He had to crush me, so I could begin to understand pain others were going through.
What is your super-power?
When I am in, I am all in, and I don’t look back.
What good has come out of your trial?
I can see God’s hand in my daughter’s diagnosis. I needed to experience firsthand the doubt, the pain, and eventually the joy to be able to love special needs moms well. I founded the non-profit United in Autism to bring emotional support events for special needs moms all over the country. We give them the opportunity to relax while meeting other moms who become their lifelines in this tough journey.
How has your faith changed along the way?
I have learned God is the strongest in my weakness. I don’t have to do or be anything for Him to use me. I must choose daily to let go of my agenda and mentally release the control to God, because it was never really mine anyway.
How has God used your story?
Because I experienced autism with my own daughter, I am able to easily connect with other parents of kids with autism and share their stories. I interviewed families from all parts of the spectrum from all corners of the world and shared thirty of their stories in my book, United in Autism: Finding Strength Inside the Spectrum (foreword by Dr. Temple Grandin). Each family shared different insights into how autism affected their family, yet one core value remained the same…. Their love for their children drove them to go great lengths to help them. Also, in my speaking engagements, I share how God has worked in our family to encourage others in their own journey.
What is a highlight of your story?
As special needs moms, we take care of everyone else, but often neglect to care of ourselves. It is imperative to care for our own well-being, so we can continue to fight for our kids. Everything I have lived through as a mother of a special needs child has enabled me to create and co-host an emotional support weekend retreat just for special needs moms on October 9-11, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. This national yearly retreat will help the moms to reconnect with themselves and connect with other moms who get it. Find out about the retreat here.
Find out more about Julie and United in Autism:
Facebook: United in Autism
Instagram: United in Autism