Eight years ago when we first got the diagnosis of our son Connor having Autism I remember my wife and I being in state of disbelief. There were so many questions running through our minds like, “What is Autism? What does this mean for the future? Is there a cure? How can we help our son? There were many questions at the time but so few definitive answers.
The one thing we knew was there was no quick fix. This was a journey. We needed help. We knew God would be there we just didn’t know how and whom he would send to help us. One thing we made up our minds early on to not be was a victim. So many face living with a victim mentality when they are faced with overwhelming circumstances. I’ve watched others with both compassion and frustration, accept their situation as their lot in life. I understand how we all could get there. There is nothing easy about having a child with special needs.
Yet, it was amazing to watch God bring people into our lives just when we needed it the most. Even when we didn’t see a way, God used friends, family, and the most special heroes of the faith to come speak into our lives right on time.
I remember shortly after the diagnosis saying to my wife no matter what it takes we will get Connor the best help we could not knowing at the time what that meant. We found out that most private schools for autism could run between $1500 to $5000 a month. The one we really loved was going to cost $4200.00 a month. I don’t know about you but even though I make a good salary $4200.00 a month is a huge dent in our budget. I recall saying to my wife, “honey, if we have to sell the house and move into an apartment, go down to one car, we will do what it takes to help our son.
I honestly didn’t know how we were going to do it. I still had two other kids besides Connor with needs to help. What was this going to do to them when I couldn’t get my daughter dance lessons or I couldn’t sign my son up for baseball because we wouldn’t have the money?
Many of you parents with special needs kids have carried or you are carrying this same burden. You want to give your child the best care but you just don’t know how you are going to carry the load. I also see so many parents with out God trying to carry the world on their shoulders without the promise of anything. But God said He will never leave us or forsake us. To cast your cares on him for He cares for you.
We had baby monitors in my son’s room and our bedroom and every night even though she didn’t know I was listening I would hear my wife praying by my son after he went to sleep, “Oh please God help our son. Don’t make us sell our house. Please God help us find a way to shoulder the load.” I’m listening to this in the our bedroom. I’m weeping. I feel like less than a provider for my family because we have to sell our home and squeeze into an apartment. Please don’t misunderstand…we were not too proud. We were more than willing to do whatever it took. It was just those feelings of inadequacy that every parent may feel when you have to do what it takes to help your family.
The day I was going to call the realtor to put our house up on the market I was feeling low. I wasn’t feeling a lot of faith that day but I wasn’t feeling like a victim either. It is at these times that God will send Giants of the Faith like in Hebrews 11. These Giants come into our lives to remind us how faithful God is. Hebrews 11:1-2(NCV) says, “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing something is real even if we don’t see it. Faith is the reason we remember great people who lived in the past.” I’ll never forget one of those Giants of the Faith for us.
As I started to dial the realtor to ask him to put our house on the market the phone began to ring. It was our business administrator at our church asking about Connor. I told him Connor was dong pretty good. He then said, “Craig, I just talked to pastor Joel and he said we never want you to have to worry about his schooling. We are going to pay those bills and take care of Connor because we want him to be everything God wants him to be.” I have to tell you…outside of my salvation, and my family that was the greatest gift I have ever received in my life. We didn’t have to move out of our home. It was a miracle.
When we couldn’t stand on our own God sent us people like our pastors so we could stand on their shoulders. At other times when we could only see the problems in front of us God sent special men and women of the faith who would say, “You can make it, were standing with you. You don’t have to walk through this alone.” They became Giants of faith in our lives.
We are where we are today because someone encouraged us to reach higher than where we were standing. When I look back over this eight year journey I remember all of the giants of the faith God gave my family to stand on. I thank God for being the ultimate Giant in our life. When our shoulders aren’t big enough I remember His shoulders carry the world.
Now those of us who have been on this journey a while can help those who may be just beginning, carrying kids on our shoulders who need our help, cheering on moms and dads who need our encouragement. Maybe God will use us to help someone financially or to develop programs to help those with special needs find their purpose in life. When they have no faith, we can believe with them. When they can’t see beyond their problems we can allow God to put them on our shoulders so they can see farther than before.
Isaac Newton wrote, “If I have seen further it was by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”