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How Autism Affected My Faith

How Autism Affected My Faith

It’s easy to love and serve God when everything is going your way. But what do you do when it seems like your world has turned upside down? Do you still give God praise and trust Him? Or do you just walk away?

Dear Hubby and I were very active in ministry during our early years of marriage. We loved God and served Him with our whole hearts. Before we started trying to conceive, we prayed asking God to bless us with a healthy child. We prayed against sickness and disease. We also prayed against autism and any other disorders.

Our hearts were so full of joy when God blessed us with Big Brother! But when the signs of autism started to manifest in our son, it became a battlefield of the mind for me.

I couldn’t believe that this was happening, especially when we prayed against autism! Here I was, trying my best to live a life that was pleasing to God and my son was diagnosed with a developmental disorder. However, others were living their life any kind of way and their children were fine!

And if my internal battle wasn’t enough, I had “well-meaning” Christians who were telling us all sort of things. I had one group telling me don’t claim autism because there’s power in the tongue. Then another group was praying for healing. Another group was praying for us to accept what God allowed. There even was a person that had the nerve to suggest that God was trying to humble us because we were arrogant!

In the midst of my storm, I started crying out to God. It had been a rough day and I had all I could take. I was completely broken. Through my tears, I asked God to heal my son. And then God asked me a question…

“If I don’t heal him, will you still praise me?”

His question shocked me! I certainly didn’t expect that response. I cried some more and did some pleading, but there was complete silence. After I absorbed the magnitude of what was said, I finally surrendered. I told God that I would still praise Him.

It took me a while to get over my son having autism. And to be honest, I still have my moments sometimes. It’s a process of healing that I’m walking through. Some days are hard, but I know that God is with me, carrying me through this journey. I would often pray and cry out to God because it all seemed to be too much of a heavy burden to carry.

And you know what?

God would lift the heavy burden by sending someone my way with an encouraging word or someone that could help with Big Brother until I could get myself together. Sometimes, He does something as simple as reminding me how far Big Brother has come.

Walk with me down memory lane…

When Big Brother was younger, he wouldn’t call me mommy. Apparently, I didn’t have a name because he wouldn’t refer to me by one. I remember secretly side-eyeing everyone that complained about their child calling their name all day. When Big Brother first called me Mommy at 5 years old, I was soooo happy! Now, he’s mommying me all day long. But I love it. I cherish it. I remember when I didn’t have a name. I’m thankful that God is helping Big Brother to find his voice!

I used to be sad because Big Brother didn’t show affection towards me like most little boys do with their mommies. But God has given me different ideas about how to connect and bond with him. One of our ways of connecting is through music. Big Brother loves music and he loves to sing, just like his mommy. We often sit on the couch and sing songs together. Big Brother has such a sweet singing voice!

God has used Big Brother in helping me to learn valuable life lessons, such as how to enjoy each milestone, how not to prejudge people, and how to consider the needs of others above my own. Because of my experiences with Big Brother, I  began to advocate for churches to be more proactive in ministering to families with special needs children.

About this time last year, Dear Hubby was deployed and I was just completely stressed out and overwhelmed. I was trying to get Big Brother in bed at a decent time because he had school the next day, but Baby Brother was screaming his little head off. Baby Brother was about 5 months old at the time and still not sleeping that great. Clearly frustrated, I plopped on the bed with Big Brother to read him his good night story. While I was reading, Big Brother looked at me and said, “God cares.” I looked at him and kept reading, almost ignoring him because I doubted that I actually heard him say that. Then he said it again, “God cares!” I caught what he said, but I was so focused on finishing the book, getting him in bed, and calming Baby Brother that I didn’t catch the magnitude of what he was saying. So Big Brother got in my face and said it again, “God cares!!” And that’s when it hit me. I realized that God did care! I calmed down and God gave me the strength to make it through the rest of that night. I later found out that Big Brother learned that God cares in Children’s Church the week before. I’m so thankful that God saw fit to bring that lesson back to his remembrance! Big Brother knew I was stressed and he wanted to comfort me. Children with special needs CAN learn about God.

Big Brother has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 3 years. I remember when I couldn’t get him in a church sanctuary without him being on the verge of a meltdown. But just last Christmas, my son had a speaking part in a play on stage in front of hundreds. Three years ago, I wondered if my son would ever be completely potty trained. Now he’s going to the bathroom independently. Just 3 years ago, I wondered how I ever would get him off the list of only 10 things that he would eat. Now, that list has doubled! Three years ago, Big Brother had trouble trying to verbally express what happened the day before. Now, he can find his words to express previous events with only a little prompting.

God has worked miracles in my son, right before my eyes. And I know more miracles are yet to come!

I never expected to have a child with special needs. I don’t think anyone does. But God is still God, regardless of what happens in our lives. No, I don’t have the answer as to why my son has autism, but I do know that God is there to help me along the way!

I believe that God can heal Big Brother. I believe that God can help Big Brother catch up with his neuro-typical peers, maybe even surpass them in some areas. But even if God doesn’t do what I desire for him to do for my son, I still believe in Him.

And yes Lord, I’ll still praise you!

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  • Suzi February 2, 2015, 9:12 AM

    I’m loving these articles! This one in particular spoke to me. I once heard someone say “God always answers prayers. He answers with “Yes!,” “not yet,” or “I have something better in mind.” When my son was first diagnosed, I also asked for healing. When God didn’t answer “Yes!” I hoped he was saying “not yet.” Now that some time has passed I’m understanding the beauty in having an autistic son, just like you. Thank you for your blog!

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