Recently I was reading a blog post and it was talking about how God did not have any part of Autism, it was pretty negative. However what made me even more sad was the comments of how others viewed Autism and their kids on the spectrum, I wanted to comment but I also did not want to argue Gods word.
Technically this blogger DOES have the right to their opinion. I decided it was best to make my own blog post on my thoughts and Gods word on the subject, it also applies to not just Autism but any trial that we face.
I have two children on the Autism Spectrum,. My oldest, Bookworm, has Aspergers Syndrome and ADHD. My middle child, Turtle, has PDD-NOS and ADD. I remember, back when my oldest was being evaluated for aspergers, a Dr had me in their office and asked me “What exactly is it about your child that you want to change?”
That question had really taken me back because every time we went to the Dr’s I told them, “I just want to learn how to parent this child.” How do I change ME to parent him? I had no thoughts ever of changing my child. YES there were behaviors that I would like to change and there were reactions I would like to change, but I truly believe that God does not make mistakes.
Let me repeat that again. I believe that God does NOT make mistakes. WAIT you might say….”What about Autism, or Diabetes or this disorder or that disease? How could it be from God? How does anyone know that God does not make mistakes?”
The way to know this is to dive into His word. God’s word does not change because of our circumstances, it doesn’t change with the times, it does not change because our children have Autism, or whatever else the case may be.
We cannot look at scripture and say “well true that is what it says, except you do not live in my house. So how can THOSE behaviors be from God?” Well, how can they not be?
God’s word says
“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable” Psalm 145:3 It is pretty obvious that this scripture cannot be made if God COULD make a mistake.
“Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite. Psalm 147:5 Anyone capable of making mistakes would be finite and not infinite as God is. God is not like man who makes mistakes.
God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” 1 John 1:5b
I can tell you from personal experience that there are days that living with Autism is just plain hard!!! There have been days that I have locked the bathroom door for 5 minutes and cried and prayed to God, “Lord I do not know how to parent this child” or these children depending on if it was one or 2 on the spectrum that was causing the issues at the time.
I have begged God to please show me what to do and how to reach them. There have been more times than I would like to admit that I truly had no idea what to do or how to go forward or what would help. SO I just had to pray through each step of the way and pray that at bedtime, perhaps that night, I would get some rest.
When my oldest was going through his worst time with the Aspergers, my husband was deployed. I was taking care of him, his younger brother who was 2 at the time and already had major sensory issues, and also nursing and taking care of our youngest who was a baby. There were days I was jealous of my husband being deployed :).
Then we had that Dr’s appointment where I was asked what I wanted to change about my son. I couldn’t believe it. My God does not make mistakes. For every bad behavior my child had, God had made him that way.
For every struggle he had, God had made him that way. I came across a few verses that really smacked me in the face during this time and affirmed that my God does not make mistakes…even with Autism.
“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127:3-5
That verse does not say that children are a heritage UNLESS they have Autism. ALL children – even children who have Autism – are blessings from the Lord!
“Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
See it wasn’t that my child needed to change, I needed to figure out how to train him, how to reach him and how to equip him to reach his FULL potential. The issues my children have are gifts from God and, if they are used properly, they can be used to win people to the Kingdom of Heaven.
YES!!! Even children can be missionaries for Gods Kingdom…YES!!! Even children with Aspergers, PDD-NOS, and Autism. My oldest has a HUGE gift – he can memorize scripture like you would not believe. There have been times we have been out and I have been like “BOOKWORM. What was that scripture?”, and he will rattle it off!!!
God will use his memory and can use his memory for his Kingdom!!! Turtle, my child with PDD-NOS, is not as fast about memorizing but when he learns something he does not forget and he has such a compassionate heart and a heart to serve. GOD WILL use those gifts for His glory!!! I just had to figure out how to teach, train and equip!
The Bible says “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” – Mark 10:14. The scriptures do not make exceptions for children who have Autism, or Diabetes, or Cancer or anything else. Let the little children come to me and DO NOT HINDER them. WOW!!! That was so powerful to me…. so VERY powerful!!!
So I know you may be saying “BUT YOU DO NOT LIVE IN MY HOUSE. How can I teach my child, train my child, and equip my child when he is having tantrums, when he seems unreachable, when I just feel like I cannot go on.”
In the book of James it speaks about trials. Being a Christian does not exempt us from life’s trials. Some people face financial trials, some face untimely deaths in their families of members who seem too young to leave this earth, some face cancer in young children or mothers or fathers, some face Autism.
Unfortunately, we do not get to always pick the trials we face but we can pick how we react to these trials. I know it is easier said then done, TRUST ME…there are days I wanted to curl into that ball and lay there with the covers over my head and hope when I got up that this trial, the trial of Autism, would be gone and life would go on perfectly! Then James got me.
There are many who face problems each day and some are far worse than the very worst day in my home. The trials I face are used to draw me closer to the Lord. Let me say that again…the trials I face are used to draw me closer to the Lord. WHAT!!! How can that be? Here are a few verses from James….
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
Remember me talking about my bathroom prayers? In verse 5 it says “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
How do we get wisdom from him? We are to ask . But wait a minute—it’s got to be more complicated than that! That’s so simple that it goes against the grain of our humanity. It’s got to depend more on us and it’s got to be about using our own strength and ingenuity to figure things out. We want to be able to do it on our own.
But the truth of it is , the first step toward wisdom, God’s perspective, is the admission that we need his wisdom. Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom….” This doesn’t mean that we never experience confusion.
But God says, “If you lack wisdom, ask, and I’ll give it to you, freely and without reproach.” He won’t say, “You idiot, what took you so long?” or, “Who are you to ask?” We underestimate the grace of God in our lives.
The means of getting wisdom is to ask for it, and the key to asking for it is faith.
“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”
To believe in this context means trusting that God’s perspective is the right one. The word doubt suggests the idea of hesitating and second-guessing. For example, let’s say I approach something difficult in life and begin to think it through God’s way, but then when I come right down to it I think, “God’s way can’t be right in this instance. It doesn’t make sense to me! Surely it would be better if things went this other way.”
I call into question whether following God is really worth it. There comes a point when we have to ask, “Do I trust God, or my own ingenuity?” That moment of equivocation before we decide whether or not we are going to sell out to God’s perspective, is the crux of this whole matter. We must be able to say, “God, I will trust you even when it seems foolish in the eyes of the world, and in my own eyes right now.
I will trust that your ways are right.” Even on those days when the behavior is the worst, when we feel like giving up, and when we just cannot seem to find a way to reach, teach and equip.
James says the one who doubts becomes double-minded , a person of divided loyalties who wants to follow God, but wants to hang on to his own agenda as well.
Double-minded people are always bouncing back and forth. God is saying to us, “If you will trust me, I will give you the wisdom to help you walk through this. If you don’t, you will become someone who is unstable in all your ways.”
Paul talks of another kind of trial he faced as a missionary. He describes it as “a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” (2 Corinthians 12:7 NIV) This is no tiny problem—this was a big time hassle. He even attributes it to Satan.
So what does Paul do? This mighty man of God prays—“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8 NIV) Paul’s first, second, and third response to this problem was to cry out to God—“take it away!”
His first three responses were not to thank God for the problem. He did not rebuke the devil. He didn’t claim his deliverance. Sometimes claiming deliverance is really a form of denying reality. Paul pleads with God for deliverance. God answers Paul—“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV) No miraculous deliverance came from God—the problem stayed in Paul’s life. Paul discovered the same truth James talks about, “You’ve got to face this problem, and God’s faith—His power—is available to you.”
The revelation from God to Paul contains an awesome promise—“My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV) God’s great power is available to help us deal “perfectly” with whatever test comes our way—especially when we are weak. So how does Paul respond to God’s answer of “No,” when pleading for God to take away this problem? Does he get angry at God? Paul says, “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.” (2 Corinthians 12:9b-10 NIV)
Paul’s response shows that he chose to be happy even when the trial remained in his life. He now chose to delight in his weaknesses—why? Because that’s when God’s power can become perfect in him.
Paul’s joy is not based on problems—his focus is to delight on how God’s power can work in his life. The joy comes not in seeing the problem go away, the joy comes in seeing God’s power at work in his life.
This problem stayed in Paul’s life—perhaps for years! Which brings us to the next part of James’ explanation of the path to joy—“the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:3b NIV) We don’t need perseverance for the quick solution. We need perseverance for the long haul—for the problems that just don’t go away.
This is what we face with Autism. It isn’t just going to go away. We are not going to wake up one morning and it all be better or our child no longer have Autism. However, Both Paul and James have the answer for you. God’s faith—God’s power—is available to see you through. That’s what perseverance is all about! Many Christians don’t want to hear this, but God’s word clearly states it—some problems are here to stay for a long time.
God’s awesome power is available to help us face the long-term problem situations, not just for instant miracles. God’s power is available to help us develop perseverance as we face trials every day.
So how do you find the joy and blessings in Autism? How do you find the gift of Autism? For me, what I started with was everyday I found ways to offer more praise to my kids. EVEN if it was the worst day every I made a chart to MAKE myself find things to praise them about and held myself accountable.
It may be something small like “oh you flushed when you went to the potty” but my kids needed to not just know I loved them and for me to tell them I believed in them, they needed me to SHOW them. Before long I didn’t need the chart anymore. The more I praised my kids, the more joy I felt inside, the more blessings I found each day, the more Autism taught me.
It’s easy to tell someone else, “You should consider it pure joy when you face trials. God will help you!” But to move into this place of pure joy yourself—when you are living with a problem—this can be very tough! So how can you possess this “pure joy” when you are living with a major problem?
You may have to do some tough self-talk. Paul talked about his struggle—“I take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) You may have to do serious battle with your thoughts and emotions.
Begin by standing on God’s truth, and keep His truth close to your heart. “I’m going to claim this promise of God for me today.” You may not feel joy as you face this Autism or whatever the problem is—so fight to take hold of that joy! You’ve got to fix your eyes on Jesus and stand in His truth.
One strategy that may help you is to write down the problem if it is Autism or the many problems we parents of children on the spectrum face, write them down as you are facing and them and write how you will respond to this problem today. For example, “As I go through this day, and face this problem, I will quote James 1:2-4.” Or find another verse that speaks directly to the problem in your life.You can make a list of the specific lessons God is teaching you through this problem. “I will look for God’s power to respond in His way to this problem.”
For example things I have been taught through Autism are compassion, acceptance, and patience. There are more but that is another post! You can set as your goal, “I will do God’s will today in spite of this problem in my life.” Don’t let this problem rob you of the joy of completing what God wants you to do today. Is it to find a therapist who can come into your home and equip you as a parent with how to teach, reach and equip your child? Is it to get that diagnosis? Is it just to get dressed that day and hopefully a load of laundry done.
At the end of the day, look for those “seconds of joy” you experienced today. Then look for the “minutes of joy” you experienced—then the hours of joy. Tomorrow the battle to experience pure joy may have to start again ( it did with me for a while and then I didn’t have to follow these steps anymore!!! ) with seizing “seconds of joy” before you find the “minutes” and “hours” of joy.
But if you pursue God’s way of responding to each situation that you face today, you can possess this “pure joy” and accomplish all that God has for you to do today.
The “pure joy” should not be our goal. This joy is the benefit of facing each problem with God’s help, and responding the way He wants us to.If guilt, anger, sadness, depression, hopelessness or other negative emotions and attitudes seem to overwhelm you, it’s time to stand up and fight. Not the other people causing the problem—but fight your attitudes and emotions.
“I refuse to allow these negative feelings to dominate me.” Instead, you can choose to fix your eyes on Jesus and seize hold of His peace and joy, and walk in obedience to Him. Every day you may need to do a major “housing cleaning” of your thoughts. The old negative thoughts may return every day—but you can choose to stand on God’s truth.
Or you can go with the old familiar paths—back to anger, fear, frustration, etc. Joshua in the Old Testament threw down a challenge to his people—“choose today whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Pure joy is the hidden reward that comes with each problem.
And with these problems comes the path to maturity. James offers more benefits as we face our problems—over the long haul. “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4 NIV)
We all want to be “mature and complete.” But God, just give me your blessing! Let this be my path to spiritual maturity!
But God’s word is clear—the path to maturity is learning how to face our problems with His power. God promises He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5)
Our own decisions have taken us down paths filled with all kinds of problems. God’s solution requires us to do more than face our problems. He also calls us to be His disciples—to follow Him. Some of our problems are the result of failing to follow Him. Paul discovered the secret of joy in his life—learning to let God’s power work through him in his times of weakness.
Pure joy is yours if you will simply reach out and take it—with the “strings” God attaches—face trials of many kinds, and use His power to deal with them.
Don’t try to short cut your problems, face them. Don’t try to blame God for Autism or say he has no part in it. God can and will use ALL things even Autism for his glory!!! And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose Romans 8:28.
Reflect on King David and what he writes in that most familiar Psalm 23—“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4 NIV) David sees the path taking him through the valley, not discovering a short-cut around it.
We can have the same confidence that David had as we walk through our dark valleys, so close to death’s door we see its shadow. This verse is a great help on those bad days and even on those good days!! God promises JOY to those who face their problems.
Jesus often faced criticism and problems from people who hated him. His solution was not to force others to change. His solution was to respond the way God wanted Him to respond no matter how others responded.
So today whatever your facing how will you handle it? Will you try to find a way around it? Will you blame God and become angry with him or will you praise him in the storm? Make no mistakes friend that God loves you, God loves your children and he wants only the best for them. Is Autism and being on the spectrum a struggle?
YES!!! It is hard not only for the parents but also on the kids, however I think most kids handle it much better then the parents do. I can tell you in our family that my kids have made leaps and bounds progress, you would probably not guess by meeting them they are even on the spectrum, until they have a bad day.
Therapy and Gods grace have helped us to get to this point. I praise God in this storm and I am thankful for Autism, YES I am thankful for Autism. It has taught me many things. It has taught me to cling to the Lord in the worst circumstances and to praise God in all the storms of life. It has taught me to cling to the scriptures in the book of James that this trial, this circumstance is being used to draw me and my children closer to the Lord.
I have 2 choices I can blame God and throw a fit and get angry or I can praise him, find the God and joy in ALL circumstances and thank him for this trial. I believe in my heart that God will use my children for HIS glory, I can already see the fruits in that as my oldest writes in his journal that his best friend is Jesus, I can see it in my middle child as he tells his younger brother his scriptures he has learned and I can see it in my younger child as he walks around saying GOD IS LOVE. YES beloved child he IS love.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Until next time find the JOY, find the BLESSINGS!!!