Not so devastating

Posted By on June 3, 2012

Several times in the past year or two I have read or heard someone talk about the “devastating” news that their child had autism. You know what? That kind of talk makes me mad. I mean, really mad.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not entirely unsympathetic toward parents who face a difficult road. Having special needs kids myself, I know how rough it can be. If I were in the hospital after giving birth and learned that my newborn that I’d eagerly awaited had a condition that would limit his or her life, I would feel a lot of conflicting feelings. And yes, maybe one of them would be devastated. But autism is different.

You see, babies aren’t diagnosed with autism. By the time your child is diagnosed, you already know him. You have already had a chance to grow to love him. And putting a word, a name, a diagnosis, to the way he is doesn’t change a darn thing about what you already observed in him. It doesn’t mean that the child you thought was going to be easy will suddenly be hard. It doesn’t mean that the child you communicated with will suddenly stop communicating. It simply means that the kid you already knew you had is the kid you have, and that the reasons for the way he is have a name.

Are you going to suddenly stop loving him because of a diagnosis?

If anything, a diagnosis should be a relief. He isn’t throwing fits because he’s undisciplined; it’s sensory issues, or frustration over not being able to communicate. He isn’t making noises to mock you, he is expressing a tic. And he isn’t difficult because he is hopeless; rather, because you now have a name for his condition, you now have hope for help. You can now begin learning what his special needs are, so that you can meet them.

In this society of designer genes, I think some people think there is something shameful in having a child who has some imperfection. But the reality is that God doesn’t give us what we can’t handle, and if you have a child with a special need, God is expressing his incredible trust in you by giving you this unique and blessed calling. Besides, there is no such thing as a perfect child. At least, not by the designer standard. If those who don’t “meet up” to such high expectations are a disappointment, a mistake, maybe you should ask yourself if you are, yourself, a mistake. Because you aren’t “perfect” either.

And that’s a good thing. We have a God who designed us the way we are, so that He could show His love for us. A God who died for us, even while knowing our flaws. If He can die for each of us, even while knowing that some will reject the gift, I think we can love our own children, surprises and all, without demanding or expecting superficial perfection.


3 Responses to “Not so devastating”

  1. Sharon says:

    When my 26 yr old son was diagnosed as autistic when he turned 4, I wasn’t devastated, but I surely grieved. And not because he had been given the label of “autism” but because I knew that he would not be treated as normal by others who thought they were. My handsome, intelligent, spiritually sensitive son brings his father and I great joy! But he has been called retarded, alien, stupid, etc. by people who don’t care to look beyond their judgements of him. I thank God that Josh is who he is!! He has made me a better mother and a much better human being.

  2. Laura says:

    Hello I am a mother with a 7yr old girl and she has Autism, ADHD and separation anxiety. I found out that she had all this when she was 3 yrs old. I look at this as God has given me a challenge in life. I remind my self when she has a melt down that God does not dish out more then we can handle and that he gave me a challenge in life. God wanted to test my patients. LOL I love my daughter so much and we have so much fun. Having a special needs child can be rough some times but just remember that God is always there for us and he will never leave us. I have a say on my wall as a reminder every day and it says: YOU ARE WITH ME I know there is no task I can’t handle, No problem I can’t solve, No obstacle I can’t overcome……. I know because Lord, you are with me. I fell in love with that saying cause it reminded me of my daughter and the daily challenges that I face everyday. Thank you Lord Jesus for giving me a challenge in life and the most beautiful girl in the world!!

  3. Jessica says:

    Your child is yours no matter what. It’s OK to feel sad when you know about this but that sadness should be for your kid who is going to suffer in the future.

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