Autism and Faith: How My Faith Has Changed

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autism, faith, trust, god, christianity

In the past, I have shared with you how my faith has grown through raising D. I was raised in a Christian home, I believed in Christ and thought I had a relationship with Him…and then, my world was turned upside down and I realized that yes, I was a believer.

As life with D became more difficult. As his autism began to present more challenges, I guess I naturally began to cling to God. I naturally began to call on Him to help me. I spent time on my knees in the middle of the floor, tears falling on the kitchen counter, tears pouring into the meals I cooked, tears pouring into bath water run for the girls, pillows filled with tears…prayers through all of those tears.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
Psalm 118:8 

I was scared of people. I was scared to tell people what we were really dealing with. I knew that people would judge us and let us down, so I knew that the only place I could turn was God. As God and I talked more, my relationship with Him grew. As I started to notice Him answering the smaller prayers I had like, Dear God, please just let me get dinner cooked without an explosion tonight, I noticed that my faith grew. I was able to believe and trust that God truly loved and cared for my son and my family.

11 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 

As things became more difficult and we had to make the choice to place D in residential treatment for his safety, as well as the safety of the rest of our family, my trust in God became weaker. I began to wonder if this was really God’s will, would God really do this to me? Would he really have me take my son and put him in an institution? I continued to pray, I continued to believe that God was in charge. I continued to trust that God would use this to 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

I bargained with God. I told him, Fine, God…If you want me to do this, you have to let me help others who are going through it. Lord, you have to let me use this to help share your love. Lord, you cannot take my son and not let me see some good come from this. He stood by me. He has given me those opportunities to talk with other parents. He has given me the opportunity to share Him with so many people that I may never have.He did use this for good, but it was still hard. It was still the most difficult and scary thing I have ever lived through. This makes looking at the knife and gun seem silly.

10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks,
and send some to those who have nothing prepared.
This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve,
for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10

 While D was gone, while he was 8 hours away and we were living in an extended stay hotel and the Ronald McDonald House, I had some of my lowest times. During those times, I would cling to this, the joy of the Lord is your strength. I spent so much time reminding myself, Lena, the Lord is your strength. There is no reason why you need to grieve, D is getting what he needs, your family is being blessed every day by him receiving treatment. Lean on God, Lena….Lean on God.

6 Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

The more I leaned on God, the closer God drew me to Him, and the stronger I became. During this time, I watched my children being drawn closer to God, also. I watched their faith grow stronger. God never left me, God never left my family.

As we have continued to move through life since D came home, I have learned that when I lose my focus on God, I lose control of our life. When my focus is not on God’s word, it moved to D’s anxiety and autism, my anxiety increases, and our home becomes much more chaotic. When I stay focused on God, when I keep my eyes on Him, life is never perfect, but it is so much better.

I don’t always succeed, but I try to start my mornings with prayer. Praying before my feet hit the floor focuses my day on God. Starting with a focus on Him certainly helps keep it there as well.

16 But I call to God, and the Lord saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice. 18He ransoms me unharmed
from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.
19 God, who is enthroned forever, will hear them and afflict them— Selah
men who never change their ways and have no fear of God.
Psalm 55:16-19 

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