I am on a group on yahoo that touts 380 central Pennsylvanian families dealing with some form of Autism. Be it, Autism, Aspergers or PDD/NOS. The above question was asked by an individual on that group. The question was:
“How do you find God through a disability? I didn’t find God in autism or my son’s diagnosis. I had a close, personal relationship with God well before my son was even born.”
There were a good bit of conversation on this question. So I am posing the question here: How do YOU find God in a Disability? Here is my response:
When JR was first diagnosed I went thru a time (about 5 years actually) that I truly hated God. I didn’t understand why an all merciful God would allow this to happen. Not just to my son but an entire generation of kids. When I discovered the vaccine connection (and yes IMHO there is a BIG connection) I couldn’t understand why God would allow the greed of man to destroy so many lives all for money. This attitude I had went on for a very long time. Every time something negative would happen (a dirty look in public because of a meltdown, aggressive behaviors, whatever the “negative” was) I would hate and blame God.
Then from October of 2004 until March of 2005 Rodney lost three beloved members of his family. His brother in October, his Grandmother in January 2005 and his Stepfather in March 2005. That was it, that broke the camels back we had enough. We couldn’t stand anymore. And the healing process began from there. We found via a co-worker of Rodney’s a bible study group and we began to attend in May of 2005. We started to attend because of the deaths initially, but as time went on and we came to terms with those loses we were faced (or I should say I was faced) with dealing with all the rage, hatred, anger that this thing called autism caused in me. It was directed in so many directions, God, the drug cartels, our government for its roll in all this, I mean I was bitter in every way. I was finally able to get a handle on it, look at it objectively and begin to realize that the rage would kill me if I didn’t get it under control. That small bible-study group helped me do all this. We were attending the bible study group for about 8 months before we stepped inside the church the group was attached to. I was very hesitant about going to this or any church. Past experiences with JR caused great hesitation on my part. We now attend the church because they love my son and accept him for who he is. God provided the path and we chose to walk down it.
Then I read Erma Bombecks story about how God chooses mothers of special needs kids. It’s called Patron Saint. As corny as this sounds that story got me through some of the darkest moments of this journey. So much so that I have it hanging framed on my living room wall. And I still look back on it when times get tough.
I have come to several conclusions over the years about why God allowed all this to happen to our family:
- He saw what was coming with these dreadful vaccines and he needed warriors to fight the war.
- I have a big mouth
- I have very concrete opinions
- I am not afraid to voice them
- I am not afraid to take on the big boys
- I love a good battle
Another thing about God (IMHO) is that he may give you trying times, tests if you prefer, but he never leaves you hanging out to dry to fight the fight alone. Because of autism I have met so many people along the journey that have helped our family. (edited by author) D.LeF. immediately comes to mind as does S. B. I did a lot of crying in the beginning on S’s. shoulder and in her ear and she was always there for me and my family. And all the other people I have met online and in real time who have given me bits of information on how to help JR. I first heard of bio-medicals via online chat forums from other parents.
Also, another benefit of autism is how it has brought my family together to fight the good fight. It has saved my marriage and made Samantha (my 14 year old) a much more empathic person, more aware of what life is like in a good sense and helped her to understand what it means to fight the good fight. We have been blessed in other ways as well. JR as most know here, goes to Vista and has been for six years now. Our school district has been so supportive of his placement and progress, they even purchased his Dynavox for his use. And Vista, all I can say is WOW!!! The progress he has made because of the dedicated staff there is just amazing. We never thought we would see this kind of progress in such a short period of time.
All of these gifts came I have no doubt, from GOD. Yeah we had to go thru a lot of hell to get to this level but looking back on it all and seeing how far we’ve all come has made it worth the journey. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world. JR has been my greatest teacher and I thank God every single day for him, warts and all.
I guess in short what I am saying is God + Autism = Faith.
So, with so many parents raising a child with some uniqueness I put the question to you again:
HOW DO YOU FIND GOD IN A DISABILITY?