22 – Lamar Hardwick

“One of the things I learned, is the moment that, what God says about me isn’t enough is when I start erecting false images. ”

Raised in a military family, Lamar Hardwick has been privileged to travel the world at a young age with his siblings and parents. After graduating high school in El Paso, Texas, Lamar enrolled and attended Concordia University Wisconsin where he would meet his wife and eventually graduate with a BA in criminal justice. After graduation, Lamar relocated to Atlanta where he and his wife Isabella married in 2001. Lamar would go on to graduate with a Master of Divinity degree from Emory University as well as a Doctor of Ministry degree from Liberty University. Over the years Lamar has served as a youth pastor, hospice chaplain, football coach, and pastor but his most important role is serving his wife of 16 years and their three beautiful children ages 11, 8, and 3.

In 2014, after years of silently struggling with social anxiety and sensory processing disorder, and a host of other significant issues, Dr. Hardwick was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He was 36 years old when diagnosed. Dr. Hardwick has had articles published by various autism and disability websites such as The Mighty,The Huffington Post, Key Ministry, and The Autistic Self Advocacy Network to name a few. Dr. Hardwick is the author of the best-selling book I am Strong: The Life and Journey of an Autistic Pastor.

He provides workshops, seminars, and consults with local churches and faith-based organizations on creating environments for people with autism. He also provides mentoring services for teens and young adults on the autism spectrum. Today, he continues to use the story of his life journey and his faith to speak words of hope, value, and human dignity to those who are hopeless, encouraging them to believe in all the possibilities that life has to offer.

 

Pastor Casey Cariker was able to have a conversation with Dr. Hardwick about growing up with autism, his writings, and how God is using life to impact others.

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