Autism and Dragon Slaying

One of Sketch’s favorite things to do is to pick up his First Act guitar, and strum confidently on the out of tune strings and sing the song Brooke Frasier sings on Hillsong:  The Desert Song.  One of the lines in the chorus is, “No weapon forged against me shall remain”  a song crafted from the Scriptures,  Isaiah 54:17 “no weapon forged against you will prevail”.

As I was listening to him one day, singing his heart out and mimicking Brooke Fraser perfectly,  it struck me that so many people think of autism as a weapon forged against them.  It comes across in the way they talk about autism being a “dragon to be slayed” or that they want to “stomp out the autism” to save their child, or to get their child back.

It is very, very hard to watch your child loose skills they once had, to retreat into a world of silence and aloneness.  (I have one through this twice, so I don’t say what I’m about to say lightly!)

But, what I would like to propose is that trying to rid a child of the symptoms of autism by stomping it out, discrete trial-ing it out, or  going to all lengths to eliminate the symptoms so they “look” normal, is not the way to to go about “helping” a child with autism.

The “dragon”, the “thing” to stomp out, is not in the child:  it is in the mind.

Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes autism really does stink.  Sometimes I really can’t see the treasure in the circumstance surrounding a massive tantrum, and I really, at times, feeling like stomping myself!

But, the autism is NOT the enemy.

God created these kids this way for a purpose.  (for more on this, you can visit my previous post, Autism with a Purpose) He wasn’t unaware in the womb when they were forming. He was there, intimately involved in every step… forming organs, creating neurological pathways, opening eye lids in just the right place, etc.  And when we come down to the nitty gritty, we are all made the same.

Slight tangent coming:

We are all held together by Jesus: “He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together.”  Col 1: 17.

If any of you have heard Louie Giglio’s talk about Laminin in “How Great is Our God”, you know that Laminin is the cross shaped protein in our bodies that holds our cells together. Here is a link to the section of the presentation. Jesus holds us together, with his cross imprinted through out our entire body!

Isn’t that cool, I mean, when we feel like we are coming “unglued” or that our kids are coming unglued, there is Jesus, holding us together.  I’ve often been surprised that I (or my children) haven’t once actually fallen apart!

Anyway, back to the point:

The weapon we are dealing with is not autism, the weapon is our own thoughts about autism.

The enemy’s main battlefield is in our minds, not our children.

Not that autism is not a problem — don’t get me wrong.  Sometimes it just plain stinks…well, sometimes the stink isn’t “plain” at all but quite pungent.  Like last week with Sketch, for instance.  He ran away again, threw a fit upon being found,  threw a major nutty in the car on the way to church, etc…. it just plain stinks sometimes.

And I’m not one of those people who thinks there is nothing wrong with them, that they’re just different… (I wonder about those people because they continue to take their kids to therapies and want help for them, so somewhere they must realize that it just isn’t a “difference”)

There are negatives, we are all aware of that fact, but  that does not negate their value in Jesus eyes.

It doesn’t negate the “holiness of God” in relation to how he made them…

It doesn’t diminish the treasure he’s planted in them.

It doesn’t take away his purpose for them–it probably enhances it!

My kids with autism can talk freely about Jesus and sing songs about Christ in school–and no one tells them to stop!  Actually, most of the time the teachers say they appreciate it.

And really, those super stinky things that happen because of how their brains process things, is not really any worse sometimes than what NT kids do.  When an NT kids says mean things to their parents–like Nemo (from Finding Nemo) when he told his father he “hates” him.  Or when a teen gives into peer pressure and gets into drugs, or sex outside of marriage… That all stinks too…

I don’t think I’d switch my child who throws tantrums when he’s not in the car he thinks he should be in, for a child that is addicted to drugs.

Here the  problem is not the autism… it is sin.  And sin is a result of our nature and the plans of the enemy… “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph 6:12

Our stuggle is not against autism…but against the lies the Enemy tells us about it.

Those lies have no power when held up to the light of the truth in the Bible.   When listed next to what God says about his creation… they are cast down.  They cannot prosper… No weapon formed against you will prosper…  Autism will be here… But the false ways we think about it, well, that will not prosper.

Some headlines I’ve seen recently are:  “Overcome the symptoms of autism and be recovered” or being “released from the clutches of autism”  This ways of thinking make me cringe!!!  The clutch is not autism.  Overcoming the symptoms is just robotic training, not valuing the person as God made them.

How much more helpful and respectful would it be to focus on showing them the value of relationships instead? Instead of forcing them to make eye-contact in order to get a reward, what if we earned the eye contact by interacting in a way so that they want to look at us?  Now that would be an awesome mutual reward!  When they feel the value of relationships, then they are internally motivated to interact–it’s self-rewarding!  And then, their self esteem is lifted up, their confidence boosted… The person God created them, is honored.

So lets stop our dragon slaying, and start aligning our thoughts with the thoughts of God!

2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Unauthorized Paint

The other morning Dash was on one of his missions to destroy…in his quiet impulsive way so you don’t know what happened for a while after the deeds are done.

Quick like  a bunny hopping in the snow, he went went from thing to thing…first it was coloring in Princess Buttercups new Make Your Own Calendar, then he did that again… then he “smartly” moved on to fiddling with the buttons on my new teapot–took a while to figure out what those beeps were from!  And then…I noticed the paint.

Yes, the paint.  I sat down to look at my “art work” from the night before, and saw that he had gone in my drawer attached to my new easel and got a new tube of red paint… opened it and squeezed a big spiral right in the middle of my cobalt blue masterpiece!!!  Ok, it really was my first attempt at watercolors, and I was trying to practice different techniques I had read about, but boy did that infuriate me!!!  After all, I created that “imperfect work becoming art” piece!

While Dash was in time out, and I was trying to finish getting ready for church, I continued stewing over this.  It is so frustrating!  He had no right to ruin my creation like that.

And you know, I truly believe that God feels that way too… when someone “messes up” or mistreats one of His creations, His work of art…one of his children.  He hurts for us when we are mistreated–when someone markes up His masterpiece!

Often, at the time when we, or a loved one, are mistreated in some way, we don’t think of Him that way.  Maybe he seems distant or uncaring…after all, he DID allow it to happen, he could have stopped it, right?

Well, maybe, but one thing I do know and want to focus on is that He is not uncaring.  I mean, we just celebrated Christmas, the birth of Christ, The Savior entering into the world as flesh and  blood!  God sent his only son as a baby to save the world, because of His love for us. And because he sent him as a newly conceived baby, Jesus lived his entire life here.

He experienced everything we do, so that he could sympathise with us… or more to the point, so that we would KNOW he has been there, done that, had that happen to Him.  That WE would know that He has experienced everything we have been through, and can completely understand.  Not only understand, but Jesus went through all he did here in his life without ever sinning, not even a bad thought. He was perfect so that he could save us.  God cares THAT much.  His own perfect Son was brutally mistreated.  He understands.

Funny thing is, that he could have stopped it all whenever he wanted. He could have given up.  But he didn’t. It was because of the joy set before him: us, that he persevered.  And I am so eternally grateful, because if he gave up, stopped, or made things “easier” for him, then he would not be able to understand.  He would not have conquered all the struggles and temptations, he would not have given us hope that there is a way out.  And in a way, it would be hard to prove that He really cared that much.  But instead, God went to the ultimate extreme to demonstrated the depths of love he has for us…

The word “caring” is really an understatment.

Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”

Hebrews 2:17 “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Hebrews 12:2 “For the joy setbefore him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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