Updated: Apr 11, 2019
It was summer 2016; my family and I were coming back from being stationed in Camp Humphrey, South Korea and had orders to Fort Bliss El Paso, TX. It was here in El Paso I learned about a neurological development disorder that was disrupting my child's ability to speak.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurological development disorder that affects the brain; causing self-stimulating behavior in heightening sensory needs and hyper-focused on external environmental factors that often disrupts social and other cognitive abilities.
Atypical to some, but many don’t understand nor do many parents experience the mental challenges that come with a child of ASD. I can remember being flooded with so many overwhelmed emotions when I first heard about autism. Because of my ignorance, I didn’t want to process the thought and was in denial, being unable to accept what ASD was and how it was affecting and going to affect my child.
Then shortly after, guilt and blame began to trickle in. The enemy played that card very well, making me think somehow this was my fault. Questions myself: “ did I do this?” “is it me?” and many other negative thoughts. These negative thoughts towards self will try to keep you from seeing the effects of God. Many times if we are not careful, the enemy will use the weapon of guilt to keep us bound in thoughts of self-blame or blaming others.
The enemy wanted to keep me distracted, but I wanted to see the manifestations of God’s power more. Raising a child with any special needs is not easy and identifying new ways to respond and discern is revealed by the Spirit and learning. When the Spirit of the Lord showed me John 9, I was given revelation to my understanding of the way I was looking at ASD all wrong.
“Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”
Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.”
John 9:1-3 MSG
“...but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”
John 9:3 KJV
Why did Jesus confirm that blaming was not going to help fix the situation? Jesus wants right believing to direct right thinking. You see, inviting blame, inviting guilt is wrong thinking that only distracts and hinders our believing. It wasn't until I surrendered those defeated thoughts to God, that the Holy Spirit made me aware that (ASD) was not going to represent my child but the Will-Power of God will define him.
The word Manifest in John 9: 3 means phaneros (Baker, W., & Zodhiates, S. 2008 p.2268). Phaneros for this verse meant that His glory is to be visibly shown from His will power that works within our mind that illuminates through our will to accomplish.
Jayden, my second child, was diagnosed autistic when he was two years old. Jayden, continues to inspire me in his accomplishments of what many might think is small, but to him and me, are of tremendous victories. It is his uniqueness and his complexity that amaze me. Jayden is a special boy; learning to read at the early age of three and spelling words that no typical four years old would spell let alone try to pronounce; the way he focuses in on multiple jigsaw puzzles simultaneously is nothing but astonishing.
By the renewing of my mind on the promise of John 9:3 and the transformation of my thoughts towards ADS, it has never been more evident to the expectations of seeing God's glory work through Jayden. Breakthroughs have been seen from calling out what God says about my son, Jayden. A new perspective of how to operate by faith in my works of raising Jayden has been incredible. Speaking life in him through my words and my thinking is vital. And by His Spirit, my heart has been softening to brand-new depths of faith from seeing God move in Jayden’s life through his remarkable capabilities.
If you’re raising a child with special needs or know someone that is, I want to encourage you today, don’t stop speaking life over yourself and your loved ones. Hold fast to God's word, do not allow the negative comments of the world try to conform your mindset to man's views of what’s normal but renew your thinking towards God and His will. Keep your eyes centered on Christ; do not let the moments of emotional-disconnect cause self-blame to creep in your mind. Your faith alone will cause God to move where you will see breakthroughs and where you will see growth and progress. Yes, unique in their way, their uniqueness was intricately created for you.
Our experiences are all unique. Regardless, I do believe that it is important to find the beautiful. Recognize that there is bad, there is ugly, there is disrespect, there is ignorance and there are meltdowns. Those things are inevitable. But there is also good. - Erin McKinney
Baker, W., & Zodhiates, S. (2008). New Testament Dictionary. In The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
10 Inspiring quotes from people with autism. (2019). Retrieved from Autism Speaks: https://www.autismspeaks.org/life-spectrum/10-inspiring-quotes-pe
Text2Pic. (2017, October 10). Retrieved from http://text2picapp.com.