Photo Credit: Michelle Chapman
Loving My Strength
Since the beginning of our journey with autism, I have been running a marathon that has been marked by the pace of a short distance runner. I never intended to enter the race in the first place. However, I found myself plopped down on the side of a mountain and it has been uphill ever since.
Sprinters were not made to pace themselves. They are trained to reach point B traveling from point A in record speed. Likewise, I was destined to fizzle out at the rate I was going. I was not prepared.
God placed me on this path. Once I realized all the work involved, I rolled up my sleeves and told God that “I’ve got this”. I left His truth in the dust and began my climb for answers. With every single step toward my solutions for my son, I was taking long strides away from His yoke of ease.
The deeper I found myself in the wilderness the further away I felt from God.
“You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross.” -MercyMe
Lost In The Wilderness
At one point along the seemingly endless trail of confusion, I had to stop. I realized I was depleted. I hadn’t taken time to pause to pray along the way. It’s not the best of feelings to realize that you left your most trusted source of energy at the start of the race, sitting there on the side of the dusty trail.
I had come so far, yet I felt like I had nothing to show for all of the work I had done.
As a Christian, I felt like a complete failure.
The wild and crazy journey of autism had without a doubt changed me. But, I knew I had squandered the chance of allowing God to help shape my heart along the way. I took my new role of being a special needs parent into my own hands. I placed autism in my backpack along with my ideas of what to do and therefore I was faced the the consequences of my decisions.
The guilt of figuring it out on my own had rested upon my shoulders and I could no longer continue with this weight baring down.
Photo Credit: Michelle Chapman
Dedicating My Son To God
When My son was just an infant, my husband and I dedicated him to the Lord during a special church service. In that celebration, we were telling God and the congregation that we were fully trusting our child to God and we were giving Him authority over our parenting. We said, “Not our will, but Yours”.
We hadn’t planned on autism being a part of this plan.
We can make our plans,
but the Lord determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
Once we were faced with all of the questions and mystery of autism, we assumed we were supposed to figure it out on our own. Because the spectrum of autism glared at me every day, I didn’t think that God understood. I felt like I was doing God a favor by taking it upon myself to find out the therapies, resources, and sensory activities that worked best for him. Never mind that God hand-knit my son in my womb and knew his inmost being (Psalm 139:13)-including autism. I honestly and sincerely thought I was doing Him a favor.
All of that running from God caught up with me… right in the middle of the waiting area of the dentist’s office.
My oldest son was getting his teeth cleaned and it was just my four year old and myself surrounded by empty chairs.
The only sound was that of the passing cars and the faint music coming from my son’s tablet. He was focused on a game he was playing.
Suddenly, there was a loud noise that simultaneously shook him out of his focus and rattled the windows that faced the road. He quickly glanced outside to see what the commotion was.
“Oh, look! A garbage truck!”
In an instant, God had replaced my fear with faith.
His peace flooded my presence and I couldn’t say a word.
He ministred to my weary heart and reminded me that even though I may have taken my son by the hand and left Him by the wayside, He still loved me.
I asked Him to forgive me.
Then, it was as if a light shone around my son. God was reminding me that He loves my son even more than I do. I felt all of that guilt release and I smiled.
God is my Redeemer.
He took my best efforts of protection, guidance, love, and care upon Himself.
God made a way on the cross for every special needs parent. Even if we think we have the answers (because of the endless research we do on a daily basis), God will always know best. We can still do the work. We can still seek out the best help. But, we can leave the consequences to God. It’s not our job to worry. It’s our job to trust, to love, and to rest in Jesus Christ.
Then Jesus said “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)