When Alec was first diagnosed, I became obsessed with finding out everything I could about autism. I researched every autism theory, every therapy and spent every waking minute on the phone or online with other parents trying to create the best possible plan for Alec’s care.
If someone told me that they were providing their child with a therapy that Matt and I could not afford, I was desperate to provide it, too.
I have a confession: In those early years living with autism, I spent much more time in research than I did “being there” for my son. Nothing I did seemed to be enough.
I was convinced there was always one more thing that I should be doing for Alec.
That’s not God’s way! God’s way is often counterintuitive to what the world tells us to do. God tells us that all things must be built on a foundation of LOVE.
Here is the number one lesson that God taught me in learning to care for Alec: Love needs to be the very first therapy. All other therapies should be founded on—built on—on an authentic, loving relationship with our child.
Love and Special Needs:
You’ve probably heard 1 Corinthians 13 read at a wedding. This chapter is one of the most (if not THE most) popular Scriptural readings used because these verses define authentic love. I’m going to ask you to look at 1 Corinthians 13 not in the context of a marriage, but in the context of caring for a child with a special need.
Verses 4-7 perfectly describes love here:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Sounds great, right? But it also sounds a little superhuman. A superhuman kind of love. Who can get it right?
This kind of love can only come from allowing God’s love to rain down on us personally: as parents. As we soak in His Love, allowing it to heal the hurt of regrets, the pain of frustrations, the sorrow of what might have been… only then can we open ourselves to the full love of Christ.
And here is where the miracle occurs….
When we allow God to love us just as we are—the imperfect, weary parents who struggle every day to get it right—we are transformed to become a river of God’s love for our child! When our arms wrap our child in an warm embrace… God reaches down to hug them, too. God’s love literally flows through us right into the heart and soul of our child. It’s as if we are an open vessel for God’s love to flow through.
The Miraculous Power of Love
There is no therapy as powerful as love. Love transforms, renews, strengthens, teaches, restores, encourages, and heals our very soul. It accepts completely. Never does it runs out, but instead, it multiplies as it is poured out, returning to us repeatedly. A life enveloped in God’s love will see miraculous things on a daily basis. Love comes at a great cost to God, but is entirely free for us. I strongly believe the answers to life’s most difficult questions can be found in love…more love, authentic love…God’s love.
So give the very best that you can to provide therapies for your child. But if you are worried that what you have won’t be enough, remember this:
Never underestimate the power of Love. It’s amazing.
I’m so passionate about God’s gift of love that I want to tell you more about the amazing ways that God proved to me that love was enough … even when we had no resources for extra therapies for Alec. In my book Autism’s Hidden Blessings, I wrote “If love is all we had to give Alec, then God would see to it that Love was enough.”
What I did not know when I wrote that was that God was about to prove this to be true in our own journey with autism!
Thank you, and may you personally know God’s great love for you today!
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