The other night I had the privilege of sitting in on a Zoom call with parents from all over, and while there were only 16 of us, those 16 parents were all there for one reason – to learn more about how they can help their child who has autism. We’re in that same boat, caring for my grand-nephew, who will be four in November. Jaxon was diagnosed with severe autism several months ago. It’s been a whirlwind of trial and error, sleepless nights, endless hours trying to learn everything we can, and lots of money. But God.
As I write this, I am re-doing a study by Henry Blackaby called Experiencing God. Reflecting on my life, I see the Lord in many places. He was working in and around me, and I didn’t realize his presence. Within the first few paragraphs, I ran across these words, “Right now, God is working all around you, as well as in your life. One of the greatest tragedies among God’s people is that, although they deeply long to experience God, they are encountering him day after day but do not recognize him.”
Amen, Mr. Blackaby. I can attest to that. I struggled for years, searching for God in places I thought he would be when all along I failed to see him right here, right now, providing everything I need daily. The Lord was working in and around my life, and I missed it.
Case in point, my journey with Jaxon. I have been told multiple times that the fast pace at which we have received everything we need to help Jaxon is unheard of in the autism community. From court documents to doctor visits, autism diagnosis, treatment, and therapies, all inside a six-month window. According to our therapists, this is incredible and unheard of and not a common experience among the thousands of families still waiting for their first diagnosis. But God!
I believe the Lord led us down this path quickly for a reason. God knows I have a big mouth and that I can’t keep what he chooses to do in my life a secret from others. When something happens around here, I share it hoping that what I have learned helps someone else. Everything that has happened with Jaxon, I believe, is not only to help us but to help others. Jaxon’s life can help others.
On the Zoom call the other night, I got the opportunity to speak, and although I was the last one, what I had to share is what has been burdened on my heart for months. If our stool testing experience helps one family get the help their child needs and they too see a difference, spending time on the zoom call when I had a thousand other things to do, was worth the time. If another child gets the help they need, everything I have tried to do will be worth the effort, and the glory will go to the Lord. I know the Lord has brought us this far and provided everything we need. It’s not of my own doing or making things happen in my own strength.
Are we trying to do the heavy lifting ourselves?
I think too many folks are trying to do it with their own strength and don’t see the results they hoped. That can be discouraging, for sure. May I suggest you give this to God and let him lead you? Be fully surrendered to him and watch how he provides.
Will it be an overnight success? The Lord can do everything, so I will not place the Lord in a box. But if he gave you an overnight miracle, would you stick around after? Many would not. Read about the Israelites. They saw some pretty big miracles, and they still tried to do everything without the Lord.
Through this autism journey, I have been learning too – about myself. Through Jaxon’s life, I have learned things about myself that need to change. I think the Lord knew that as well. I am convinced God knows what he is doing.
God knows about the growing rate of autism in children around the world. Autism is not new to him and has not gone unnoticed. Some may be tempted to blame God for autism and shake their fists at God for not healing the children. But we must remember that God is sovereign.
We are told our ways are not his ways, and our thoughts are not his thoughts. Rather than shake my fists at God and blame him for the path I am on, I thank God because he is teaching me many things about myself, autism, and this child he placed in my home. There is a purpose in the plan.
Parenting a child with autism is not easy – at all. But imagine for a moment how God feels about parenting all of us. Are we easy?
Don’t miss the Lord as you struggle each day to get your child from sunrise to sunset. Ask the Lord to provide in ways you haven’t thought of, open doors you need open, teach you things about yourself through these trials, and fully surrender to him.
Parenting is hard work. Change won’t happen overnight, but change will come in you and your child, and while it might not be what you want or hope for, remember there is always a purpose in the plan. The child you are raising is beautiful in God’s eyes.
Henry Blackaby writes in his study, “People ask what God’s will is for their life. That is the wrong question to ask. They should be asking, What is God’s will.”