I Found Myself Embracing Autism (Part 2)

Tears collected in a bottle

But God was aware of just how much was going on.  He was probably the only one fully aware of it. Not a moment went by that He did not see.  Not a tear passed my eyes that he did not collect.  Not a prayer was said, that He did not hear.

He encapsulates the broken-hearted, and that was certainly me. He never left my side. He whispered in my ears encouraging words.

Not only did I feel as if I was loosing my son, but I was trapped in a terribly distorted misunderstanding:  I thought God broke his promise.

He didn’t.

Looking back, I know He supplied for all my needs in caring for Dash during that time. He prepared me ahead of time too:

The year is 2006, the twins are one beautiful year old.

I see them standing in the living room, their eyes wide open, curious.

Their hair is red!  I’ve always wanted children with red hair!  Princess’s hair is a curly spiral of deep red and Dash’s is strawberry blonde–barely visible peach fuzz.  Oh how soft it is too!  Their faces are more adorable than I could ever have imagined: quirky smiles, chubby cheeks, rounded faces. Their tummies lead the way when they waddle around the house like penguins.

“Oh Father, you made them just perfect!” I pray.

“Yes I did. They are perfectly the way I intended them to be.”

His reply catches me off guard. I am grounded: the heaviness of His presence keeps me from moving.

A moment in time I will never forget.

And one of the reasons for that moment, was a line of string he was weaving in His tapestry of my life. He was preparing me even then, for the discovery of Dash’s autism.

God is Holy.  He doesn’t make mistakes. He knew then, that Dash has autism.  He knew he has autism and he declares him perfect. He says they are just the way he wants them to be.  He says:

“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

He says, “God saw all he had made, and it was very good.” vs. 31

Who am I to tell God he is wrong?  Rom 9:20b  “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?”

So I accept it.  I accept that God knows what he is doing and has a purpose in it.  I see the beauty that God crafted throughout my child with autism, because of the autism.  I love him exactly the way he is.

And I give him back to God; I give him to God to fulfill his purpose in Dash’s life.

______________________

But what about Sketch? I can’t let Sketch go, too. I can’t loose both my boys!  I can’t go through this again! I can’t!

Yet it happens.

It is Spring, 2007 at China Lake Retreat Center.  I am on a weekend retreat with the women from my church.

I hear the testimony of a lady who has been in Pakistan as a missionary.  All four of her children and her husband were there for the past year, living in terrible conditions with threats on their lives for most of the time.

She talks about how one day her husband leaves with the children to go teach at the school.  They were warned to stay in hiding; that their lives were in danger. He wants to go anyway, and she is at her home alone, arguing with God.  Afraid that her family will be torn away from her…her children, gone.  God asks of her, “Who’s children are they?”  And she knew He was asking her if she would trust Him with her children, no matter what the outcome.  Did she really give them back to God? Or does she cling to them and protect them from the God who saves?

And that was the question He was asking of me.  Her words, His words, speak deep into my soul, to places that until that moment, I don’t know exist.

And I realize I have not given my almost two-year old  Sketch over to God like I gave Dash. I wanted to keep him.  I wanted him to be mine.

But God was asking me to give Him back.  To trust Him with Sketch’s life, that He knows what is best.

“Savior, He can move the mountains, He is Mighty to Save, Jesus, Mighty to Save.”  We sing the song.

But He wasn’t moving the mountain of autism.  He was moving the mountain in my heart.

He is able, but chose not to save Sketch from autism, to not heal him.  But instead he healed me.

TO BE CONTINUED (again!)

[To read part one, click here]

Advertisements

School, School, School…

waiting for the bus

Sketch started the Second grade today.

First grade did not end well. We got an IEP progress report in Sketch’s book-bag, on the very last day of school that mentioned several things the teacher should have made us aware of ahead of time. We had a lot of questions that we could not ask because the school year was over.

Questions like: How many time-outs was he having, and why? If he was spending 70% of his day scripting and fidgeting, then when exactly was he doing school work? Why does the report say he is not able to do what he could do when he went into Kindergarten?  Why does he say, “Stop, Sketch! That’s weird. Go to time out!” all the time?

It took a few weeks to calm down enough to organize my thoughts and actually write a letter to the Special Ed director, but I did it. I sent it off in the mail the Friday before Independence Day.

At the end of July, we went to the Autism Society of Maine’s Family Retreat. One of the speakers there was from the Disability Rights Council, and she spoke on, of all things: Time-Outs, Seclusion and Restraints!

It turns out that in the beginning of June a new law was passed. A law that requires that restraint and seclusion be used only when the “student presents imminent risk of injury or harm to the student or others and where less intensive interventions have been unsuccessful.” (May 2012 issue of DRC News)

A windy morning!

It also requires that parents be notified when there is seclusion, and that if there are 3 seclusion events in the same calendar year, an IEP meeting must be held. (If you are interested, you can download and read the law here.)  This new law is very exciting because for the first time, Maine schools will be held accountable for the who, what, when, where, how, and why of restraining students and putting them in seclusion. For the first time, there will be data on how often this is happening.  My bet is, the number will be much lower now that there are consequences to using it.

However, there is a problem. Sketch likes time-outs. It’s his escape. He is very gifted in finding ways of getting one too. He will request one and if it isn’t given, he will act out so that he does get it. Time-outs on request of the student don’t count as seclusion under the law. That is, unless the teacher or other adult restricts him for exiting the time out, in which case, it does count as seclusion and the law applies.

So, we have a battle to fight, and an initial IEP meeting to be held and to have specifically written in it that we will be notified of all time-outs as well as seclusions. There are many other issues as well. His academics are well above his ability to cope in a typical classroom, so they have placed him in the “life skills” class for most of his day.  Here, my 7 year old Second Grader can play with preschool toys and watch Thomas the Train or Elmo’s World, and do the same. thing. year. after. year. after year.  And, he doesn’t bother anyone in a typical classroom. He doesn’t have to learn how to handle himself in a classroom. He doesn’t have to learn from his peers.  He can “stim” all day, and script all day, and be in his own little world all day long, and not learn a single useful thing.  The life skills class is the class where they place the students who they don’t expect to ever learn. So why try?

Needless to say, not much learning happened last year. As a matter of fact, his current progress report noted he was behind the first grade level in reading and math, but his IEP going in to Kindergarten noted he was at the second grade level at the time of entrance! The good thing about this is that we can document regression, and that should get some attention.

He really needs to be in a much smaller regular ed classroom, but our school does not have any classes like that, and it would cost a lot of money to create one.

It seems as if, in order to get anywhere with the school, we will have to hire a lawyer or we’ll have to give up on them again (we pulled the twins out for Kindergarten and first grade due to problems with the school), and homeschool him.  I would love to be able to homeschool him but I don’t see how that is a viable option at the moment.

So excited and chilly!

The whole mess reminds me of when Sketch’s big brother Dash was first diagnosed with autism, and we had to go through such a horrible fight with the State to get him any services at all.    We had been counting the days until CDS (Child Development Services, the early intervention branch of the Department of Education) would be out of our hair, so when Sketch showed signs of autism too, we didn’t want to have him diagnosed because it meant dealing with THEM again.

While in the midst of all the “fighting” for services that we went through for Dash, we spent a lot of time wondering: who is at the top of CDS, who is really in charge, who can make changes, who will listen to us, etc.  At the time, I was reading Esther:  A woman of strength and dignity, by Chuck Swindoll.  He was talking about a verse and applying it to King Xerxes but when I read it, I related it to the king of CDS and hit me between the eyes and held me through that time.

In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.” Proverbs 21:1

And I remembered: the king only has authority because God gave it to him (or her).  They may think they are in control, but ultimately it is God, and he is who guides the heart, no matter how stone-like it may be.

And then one day, it happened. The Director of CDS called and told us they would give Dash 30 hours a week of preschool (he had been approved for only 15 hours a week). This meant his preschool also had been approved to offer full days to other children who needed it.

It was such wonderful news. The preschool we chose (and love dearly, to this day) was not the favored ABA type preschool but was one that took a developmental approach and relied a lot on DIR/Floortime. The director of CDS had a heavy bias against this preschool, but because of how well Dash (and other children there at the time) responded to it, they approved the school to offer full time programming.

And I knew that I knew, that I knew the God who was really the one at the top. He was the one I needed to talk to; He was the one who could make changes. He was the one who could soften a rock-hard heart. No matter how much they (or us, for that matter) think they are in control, the truth is that only One is in control. And He has a soft spot in his heart for the disabled, for the children, for those who can’t speak for themselves.

So again, I am reminded that ultimately, God has this all under control and is able to move in the hearts and minds of everyone involved to care for his child.  He’s done it before and he can do it again.  And He is; He is changing laws that will protect him, as I sit here trying to figure out what I need to do to help him.  He is already on the move.

Luke 14: 12-14 “Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Muller Moments

When we don’t behave as Sketch expects, he gets mad.  For example, when we are driving somewhere, Sketch (and Dash too, for that matter!) have strong opinions on what roads we should take to get there.  This caused such problems, since they never agreed on the correct road, that we instituted a rule:  All the time, the driver picks!  It took a few weeks of disappointments when we went our way, but it did pay off and we could have somewhat peaceful drives again.  Sketch continued to request the route he wanted, and we’d faithfully chime, “All the time the driver picks!”  He’d come to love to hear that response, because that’s what happens when he gives a direction.  He could count on it.

Well, one day we found out how much he counted on it.  Usually, we turn right onto his favorite road, but it was a day with heavy rain, and part of the road was not paved, so we opted to go a different route.  This time, as we approached the road we usually take, Sketch requested, “Go straight!”  Typically, we would have said, “All the time the driver picks” and turn right anyway, but on this day we did to go straight because of the rain.  Sketch reached near panic level when we went straight, even though that was the way he said he wanted to go.  A full fledge tantrum the rest of the way home, followed.  All because we didn’t do what he expected. We didn’t behave.

Recently, it seemed to me that God wasn’t behaving either, and I felt like having my own tantrum!  I thought there was some “rule” in the Bible about how many “big problems” God would allow a person to go though at one time?  I was still in the middle of finding out I was struck with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Still had yet to see the Rheumatologist.  Still very crippled from the raging pain in my joints.  And then God allowed another “big problem”.  Mr. Incredible may loose his job!

God didn’t behave as I expected, but he did behave according to His promises.  He upheld every one, and our family as well.  He let me experience a taste of what George Muller experienced as he believed God for providing his every need, and every need of the orphanages he created.  I call these experiences, “Muller Moments”.

Here is what happened:

My “Mueller Moments” happened a couple months ago when my husband got word that there was trouble brewing with the parent company where he works.  That was Wednesday, September 28th.  By Friday morning, in an unfair and un-real set of events, he and all his coworkers were fired and the office was shut down.  This was the last day of the month, meaning we were also suddenly without health insurance.  To complicate matters, Cobra wasn’t even an option since the entire office was shut down, there was no insurance group to “Cobra” to.

There are no words to express the panic and stress that followed the news on Wednesday.  We were unable to sleep, literally sick to our stomachs….  I was still in the beginning of understanding my illness. How could He allow this to happen now?  How could He let this happen with a new baby to care & provide for?  God was not behaving the way I thought he should!

Thursday, Mr. Incredible went to work and cleared out his office, in expectation of the worst occurring.  I tried to recapture some of the sleep that I had missed the night before, so I took Polkadot to the changing table to give her a clean diaper before tucking her in.  As I looked at those diapers, seeing how many were left I worried about how we will buy diapers if we suddenly have no income.

I took Polkadot up to bed and attempt to sleep…my head was buzzing from the adrenalin that had been surging in my mind.  After about 40 minutes, I finally felt myself start to nod off to sleep.

RING! RING!    RING! RING!

Of course, the phone rings!  Frustrated to be woken, I answer the phone. It’s someone from our church. She wanted to know if we could use any size one diapers, since her son just outgrew them.

“Yes, we’d love to take them! Thank you so much!” I said.

Wasn’t I just worried about how we’d get diapers?  Did this really just happen?  I mean, I know God says not to worry, but it is really hard to apply that when fearing the very floor of your house is about to be ripped out from under your feet.

When Mr. Incredible was done packing up his personal things from his office, he came home…  Because of how badly the RA was raging through my joints, I needed his help to make dinner.  I didn’t really feel like eating, but was very grateful to have as much food in the house as we did.

I add the final touch to the dish I’d made, sprinkling cheese on top.  I secure the lid and let the heat melt the cheese.  The table has been cleared off, and I go to the cupboard to get the first plate to load a serving onto.

KNOCK–KNOCK–KNOCK

Who on earth could that be?

“Hello?” I answer the door with the blue plate resting in my arm.

“Hi, I’m Theresa, from ladies Bible study. I brought you a meal.” She had a still-hot, ready-to-eat meal in her hands!  I’d forgotten it is Thursday, and the people from my Bible study were bringing us meals since it was so painful and hard for me to cook.

“Thank you, very much!” I said as I flash back to a story I’d read about George Muller, who started orphanages in England, and would only ask God for the things he needed to start and maintain it.  He never asked a person for anything.  God always provided.  One time though, things got really tight:

“I hate to bother you , Mr. Muller, ” began the matron, “but it’s happened.  The children are all ready for breakfast and there is not a thing in the house to eat. What shall I tell them?”  

George stood up.  “I’ll take care of it. Just give me a minute,” he said. 

Before going to the dining room at Number One Orphan House, George walked out into the garden.  “Abigail, Abigail, come here, ” he called.

Abigail ran up to him. “What is it?” she asked.  

George reached down and took her hand.  “Come and see what God will do,”he said as he escorted her to the dining room.  

Inside they found three hundred children standing in neat rows behind their chairs.  Set on the table in front of each child were a plate, a mug , and a knife, fork, and spooon.  But there was no food whatsoever to be seen.  George watched as Abigail’s eyes grew wide with astonishment.  “But, where’s the food?” Abigail asked in a whisper. 

“God will supply,” George told her quietly, before he turned to address the children.  “there’s not much time. I don’t want any of you to be late for school, so let us pray,” he announced.  

As the children bowed their heads, George simply prayed, “Dear God, we thank you for what you are going to give us to eat.  Amen.”

George looked up and smiled at the children.  “You may be seated,” he said.  He had no idea at all where the food he had just prayed for would come from or how it would get to the orphanage.  He just knew God would not fail the children.  

A thunderous din filled the room as three hundred chairs were scuffed across the wooden floor.  Soon all three hundred children sat obediently in front of their empty plates.  

No sooner had the noise in the dining room subsided than there was a knock at the door.  George walked over and opened the door.  In the doorway stood the baker, holding a huge tray of delicious smelling bread. 

“Mr. Muller,” began the baker, “I couldn’t sleep last night.  I kept thinking that somehow you would need bread this morning and that I was supposed to get up and bake it for you.  So I got up at two o’clock and made three batches for you. I hope you can use it.”

George smiled broadly.  “God has blessed us through you this morning,” he said as he took the tray of bread from the baker.  

“There’s two more trays out in the cart,” said the baker.  “I’ll fetch them.”

Within minutes, the children were all eating freshly baked bread.  As they were enjoying it, there was a second knock at the door.  This time it was the milkman, who took off his hat and addressed George.  “I’m needing a little help, if you could, sir.  The wheel on my cart has broken, right outside your establishment.  I’ll have to lighten my load before I can fix it.  There’s ten full cans of milk on it.  Could you use them?”  Then looking at the orphans, sitting in neat rows,  he added, “Free of charge, of course.  Just send someone out to get them.  I’ll never fix the cart with all that weight on it.”  

George dispatched twenty of the older children to help, and soon they had the ten cans of milk stowed in the kitchen, where it was dispensed with a ladle.  There was enough milk for every child to have a mug full and enough left over for them all to have some in their tea at lunch.

Half an hour after George and Abigail had entered the dining room, three hundred orphans with full stomaches filed out.” pp 166-168 from George Muller, The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans, by Janet & Geoff Benge

As the picture of this scene replayed in my mind, I stood in shock at the door with my empty plate.  I put the plate down and received the hot meal.  I turned to Mr. Incredible and said, “We just had a Muller Moment!”

Funny thing is, that we didn’t need a meal that night. We had one, literally ready to be dished out onto plates.  But God burned deep into my soul, that He is aware of what is happening, and He will provide. We can count on it. He even provided when we thought we’d be in need, but actually had plenty, so that we wouldn’t worry. So we would trust Him.  So I would know that He is my provider, not a job, not any person, but God alone.

Friday, it was official that everyone lost their jobs. I was sick, still, thinking about how badly things could turn out.  There was no way we could sell our house.  And just imagining having to move and find new in-home supports, new schools, new IEP’s, new teachers, new doctors, new specialists, all while Mr. Incredible (hopefully) starts a new job, was overwhelming!

Remembering George Muller, and how he would not worry, but believed God to provide for everything, thinking about how he prayed specificially for every detail of his needs, I decided that I was being called to do the same thing.

I went upstairs and prayed over every single bill we had, every upcoming expense, every need I was worrying about.  I was specific, to the point of praying for long sleeve onesies for Polkadot, and some jeans. The weather was getting colder and she only had summer clothes in 0-3 month size.  I asked God to provide for everything. I didn’t ask a person for anything, I didn’t mention what I had prayed for to anyone.

The next Tuesday our Bible study met again.  A friend greeted me with a gift bag, a belated baby-shower gift since she was in another state when Polkadot had her shower.

I could not believe my eyes when I opened that bag and saw some long sleeve onesies and a pair of jeans!  And, in 0-3 month size!  Most people buy up for a new baby, but she bought the exact size she needed right now.

God provides.  He promises it and tells us not to worry about anything. He knows how hard that is for us, but he also knows how good it is for us to not be anxious about anything.  So he promises us that He is our provider, and He always keeps his promises!

Everything has turned out ok.  Mr. Incredible was offered a temporary but full time (with benefits) job the same Friday that he lost his job.  We thought we had no insurance for October, but in some unknown strange set of events, the insurance we had with his previous company was reinstated, retroactive to October 1st and his new insurance started November 1st!  God took care of all the details.

As Beth Moore said in the video sessions for Believing God:  Sometimes God doesn’t move the mountain, sometimes he splits the mountain in half so we can walk through it.

That’s exactly what happened.  When there was no way, God made a way.

I don’t know about you, but I’m Believing God!

Struck Down But Not Destroyed

‘Twas a dark and stormy night… well, it was the night that Hurricane Irene blew threw New England.  As lightening struck randomly outside, it seemed to have struck very specifically inside. Right through to my joints, introducing a whole new texture to the dust in our lives.

I woke up in the middle of the night to feed Polkadot, and when I tried to move, I realized I’d been struck by lightening.  At least, that’s how it felt.  My joints were on fire.  The next day I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with bursitis in my right shoulder, and the other achy joints were kind of dismissed as tendonitis due to repetitive motion from dealing with a new baby…basically, it was a coincidence that they were all hurting at once.

Over the next few days, the “achy” joints became excruciatingly painful as well.  I was unable to do anything without the electrocuting pain bringing me to tears. It seemed like I was crippled over night.  It was clear, that this was more than it initially seemed.  Over the next few weeks, after many calls to the doctor, and much labwork, I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  RA is a life-long autoimmune condition that has devastating potential as it damages the joints and possibly internal organs as well.

So here we are, a brand new baby (now 8 weeks old!) and 3 other kids, 2 with Autism/Adhd, posssibly Tourettes not to mention the food allergies of anaphylactic proportions!  If it didn’t hurt so much, it would almost be humorous.  At some point, enough is enough.  At some point, the options are to give up completely, or to rely on the God who holds all things together…especially my joints!

It’s funny what people think at times like this.  Said aloud or thought silently, they are there non-the-less… Questions.

“How could this happen?  You did not need this!  What are you going to do? How are you managing with your family? How could God let this happen?  You have enough on your plate already!”

The questions have run through my head as well, which is probably why that “look” is all I need to hear it in someone else.

It’s ok though. To ask the questions, that is.  They need to be asked, after all!  Better to wonder where God is in this than to NOT wonder where he is!

And the questions don’t scare me. As I said, I’ve thought them, and God has supplied the answers, the comfort. He’s sung the songs over me at night, whispering to me in the morning.

I remember one day specifically when the lyrics of 2 songs collided beautifully in my mind.

One was Tommy Walkers, “I Have a Hope” (lyrics are listed below).  We’d sung it in church right after the pain had started. The song is one of the most uplifting songs out there, reminding me that God has a plan for me that is good (despite my circumstances) and that He can turn this darkness into light.  He is giving me a new beginning, not a painful end!

The other song was “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns.  I woke up one morning to that song playing in my mind, loudly in my ears as if God were placing headphones on me!  The chorus says:

“But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth”

The lyrics to those two songs intermixed in my mind for the next few days. As I would be thinking of how scary this is, not knowing what was happening to me, and if it would ever end, “Do not be afraid!” would remind me that “I have a destiny that is yet awaiting me.  My life’s not over, a new beginning’s just begun”.  And then the chorus would come “I will yet praise Him, my great Redeemer. I will yet stand up and give Him glory with my Life. He takes my darkness and He turns it into light I will yet praise Him, my Lord my God.”  And that would remind me that “This is for my glory” and I WILL choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth!  “Though trials may come, I have this hope!”

How’s that for cool?  The God of the universe is entering my world through music, strengthening my faith, encouraging me to believe Him.  To believe that His promises are still true, regardless of my circumstances and as a matter of fact, because trials do come in this life, they are there to encourage me!  Why would God bother with promises if we never had need of them?

And finally, the big question looming out there that no one wants to ask is:  Why did He give us a surprise baby to care for  and then allow this?

That one is easy.  Polkadot is such a Joy to have here with me, and amidst the worst pain, when she smiles at me, that smile strikes straight through that pain, into my heart and reminds me that God has been so good to me!

So it has been not of my own strength, but because of His presence, His words, His body, even… that I have not been destroyed in this.

The body, our local church, has been wonderful in all this. Encouraging me, praying fervently, helping with things that I can no longer do. And the part of the body closest to me, My wonderful Mr. Incredible, has used his super-strength now for 3 weeks, being my arms to reach and lift things, my hands to open packages and containers. He’s been my fingers, tying my shoes, and basically he has been my whole body, doing most everything for the kids.

I may have been struck down, but they are here to help me up.  I may have been struck down, but I have not been destroyed. As a matter of fact, in my weakness, God is making my faith strong…

2 Corinthians 12:9-10: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I HAVE A HOPE by Tommy Walker

I have a hope, I have a future
I have a destiny that is yet awaiting me
My life’s not over, a new beginning’s just begun
I have a hope, I have this hope

God has a plan, it’s not to harm me
But it’s to prosper me and to hear me when I call
He intercedes for me, working all things for my good
Though trials may come I have this hope

Chorus
I will yet praise Him, my great Redeemer
I will yet stand up and give Him glory with my life
He takes my darkness and He turns it into light
I will yet praise Him, my Lord my God

My God is for me, He’s not against me
So tell me whom then, tell me whom then shall I fear
He has prepared for me
Great works He’ll help me to complete
I have a hope, I have this hope

Goodness and mercy, they’re gonna follow me
And I’ll forever dwell in the house of my great King
No eye has ever seen all He’s preparing there for me
Though trials may come, I have this hope

Bridge
There’s still hope for me today
‘Cause the God heaven loves me

Letting God off the Hook

Treasure Chest of Gods' Promises

The first few weeks after realizing Chris had autism, I cried day and night. I felt like I lost my son.  I thought I would never hear him talk, say “Mommy”.  I thought  I’d never see him play with friends, maybe never even be happy.

I call my good friend, still in tears.  She tells me, “God is holy, he doesn’t make mistakes”.  That phrase, that truth, has stuck with me and has been paradigm shifting for me.  God knew Chris had autism all along, it wasn’t news to Him. Chris is the same Chris he’d always been, I had just come to realize more about him.  More about how God made him.

I didn’t loose him, I lost what I thought I had in him, but never did.  Instead, I had the Chris that God planned for me to have, for a reason.

Over time, I came to totally accept Chris’ autism, and to be excited to be chosen to raise him.  I was certain that God was going to heal Chris.  I thought He’d promised me that.  I certainly knew that He could heal him.

Chris gained a lot of skills quickly, once we started speech, OT, and preschool.  He was gaining speech quickly and just growing by leaps and bounds!  God was healing him!  It was so incredible to watch.  I was in awe daily at what God was doing in my little boy.

And then it stopped.  It seemed like he was actually going backwards, becoming more withdrawn, not making progress…

How could this be happening!!!

I was reading a book by Stormie Omartian called “The Prayer That Changes Everything”.  She mentioned how sometimes we love God for what he can do for us, instead of for who he is.

Wham!

Somewhere along the way, I had begun to love God for his healing of Chris.  Things were great and I couldn’t have been more “on fire” for God while Chris was “being healed”.   When that stopped, it was like the floor dropped out from under me and I wasn’t so happy with Him!  The expectation of healing was what I was standing on.

I realized that night that I needed to love God regardless of whether he healed Chris. I needed to love Him because of all of who He is, not because of all he can do.   I needed to package up the promises I thought I had, and lay it at the feet of Jesus.  Give it back to him.  Let God off the hook.  Love God for who he is regardless of what he does or does not do.

It certainly wasn’t easy, but it was good.  Seek Him first.  That was my calling.

So I did.  Chris started coming out of his withdrawn state a bit over the next month or two.  I had let God off the hook and I was free to love Chris for who God made him to be. To accept every part of him – autism and all – as perfectly the way God wants him to be.

How about you?  Have you held on to something that God can give you more than you have held on to who He is?

Do you need to let God off the hook… and let Him be God?

%d bloggers like this: