Autism’s Hidden Blessings

It happened one taxing day filled with nasty battles with Alec. He was fighting my every request, kicking, screaming at me, and I was tired. Nothing was going right that day. My blood pressure was rising and my face heating. Alec lay prostrate on the floor shrieking. My ears ached, my back was sore from wrestling his clothes on, and my internal pitcher of love was empty. I was about to lose control.

This was a moment when I should have walked away. I should have taken a few deep breaths, counted to twenty, or anything other than what I did. It’s a moment in my life that I would give anything to live over, a terrifying moment of brutal honesty when God pulled away everything that kept me from seeing the truth.

A year of utter desperation exploded from my soul. I grabbed my son and plunged him onto the sofa. I then stood before him and screamed, emptying my heart of its despair in the face of my boy. My face was twisted with resentment, my eyes clenched shut, and my heart devoid of understanding. “Why can’t you behave?” I shouted at him. “Why can’t you be good?” I railed at my little son. And then I looked at him.

He was still sitting cross-legged on the sofa, but as I watched he seemed to collapse into himself. His little hands were clenched and his arms crossed over his chest as if in a fetal position. His little face was pinched in pain and tears, his mouth opened wide in silent sobs. In incredible agony I watched as he slouched forward, sinking even more into himself. Then my beautiful son turned away from me, like a little flower that felt unworthy of the sun’s love. My heart shattered in that very moment. In an instant, God removed the veil from my eyes, and I saw Alec’s desperate desire to please me. I saw the torture of not being understood, of not knowing how to communicate, or how to love and be loved. I saw the grief, the pain, and worst of all, the absence of hope. And I understood. Alec was doing all that he could! He was trying to reach out to me, but didn’t know how. He was a captive, trapped in a world that neither of us understood: A world of autism.

The experts were wrong! Alec didn’t need discipline, he needed more love. He needed me to go into his shadowy world and rescue him, to carry him out of that isolated place back to where he belonged. Just like Jesus did for me.

I had failed my son miserably. I sank to the floor, weeping. God, oh, God! I need you so much! Help me be the mother that this child needs! Then God showed me what to do. I got up and scooped my weeping boy into my arms and carried him into the bathroom. I took a washcloth and dried his tears. Tenderly, I knelt before him and grasped his wet chin in my palm, lifting his face to mine. “I’m coming to get you, Alec.” I whispered, taking him into my arms and holding onto him with every ounce of my being for what seemed like an eternity. “God will help me. I’m coming to get you, Alec.”

From that moment on, we were on a different road, God walking with us, His love illuminating the darkness. God led our family back from the abyss to a new level of joy I had never known. Yes, joy returned, bringing along all of its companions: laughter, victories, promises, and most of all, hope.

Taken from Autism’s Hidden Blessings, Discovering God’s Promises for Autistic Children and Their Families © 2009 by Kelly Langston.

Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.


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