When our youngest son Josiah was two and a half years old, he was diagnosed with Autism, ADHD and PDD with speech delay. My heart and spirit were broken. As the doctor was trying to explain his condition, my head couldn’t comprehend what he was saying; it just seemed that my son had a disability that had all the D’s in the alphabet.
Like any other mother, I was in so much pain. I found myself asking the Lord, “Why?” “Why would a loving God allow such a hopeless illness fall on my baby?”
I didn’t get God’s answer that day. The future was unknown but I found comfort in the Bible where it says that all things work for our good. (Romans 8:28) I couldn’t see how this could be true, but I chose to trust God and put my hope in Him.
Unless you have an autistic child, you will not be able to fully grasp and understand how difficult and painful the journey actually is. When my son was almost four years old, he still could not express himself. I felt as if my heart broke into thousand pieces as I grieved for conversations I would never have with him. The fear of not being able to hear him say “I love you, Mommy,”or tell me how he felt when he was in pain or sick was unbearable. There was overwhelming sadness because of the many things Josiah would never experience; things that other parents simply take for granted like going to children’s parties, playing with other kids at the park, singing and dancing during school plays, and much more.
Amidst the hopelessness and endless therapy sessions God remained faithful. His amazing grace turned our sorrows into joys. Our experience provided us the opportunity to help others going on the same journey. Here is what I have learned:
Autism may be a part of who my son is, but it is definitely not all of him. Many “experts” say that autistic children are unable to show emotion. But Josiah brightened my day after a long day at work when he showered me with hugs and kisses. He held hands with me when I drove him to school, as his way of showing the appreciation that he couldn’t express in words.
Autism brought us closer to God as a family. Josiah has no mean bone in his body. He simply accepts and loves us with all his heart asking nothing in return. Patience, understanding, and love are now the words we live by. First honed in our relationship with Josiah, we now apply these qualities to our interactions with each other.
Autism has taught us not to quickly judge people around us. I used to judge parents when I saw children misbehaving in restaurants thinking that they were raising spoiled children who lacked discipline. Now, I have learned to be more sensitive. I know that tantrums and meltdowns are languages some children with special needs use as a cry for help. God used our son to teach us to understand before insisting to be understood. We are now more discerning of how others feel, and more cognizant that there may be underlying reasons for bad behavior.
After my 40th birthday, I began to feel a deep longing to have a closer relationship with God. I started to pray and spend more time with Jesus. On June 15, 2016, I was baptized in the Spirit. For the first time in forty years, I was filled by the powerful presence and awesome love of God.
A week later, on June 22, 2016, as I was praying, I heard Jesus clearly say, “Daisy, Josiah is healed.”Tears rolled down my eyes, I said, “Thank you Jesus! I receive that and claim it in faith.”
Two days after that, Josiah’s therapist said, “I don’t know what happened but the Josiah who sat with me today is not the same child I have been seeing for two years. He showed no trace of autism at all.”
God is bigger than autism.
Today, Josiah has proven to be more advanced in many ways than kids of the same age. He recently graduated from pre-school in a regular Christian school with a medal. He is now doing many things “medical experts” said he would never do.