For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted my petition made to him. I Samuel 1:27
I remember the first time I laid eyes on my husband.
It was at King College in Bristol, Tennessee. We were in the same math class my Sophomore year. He was joking with everyone. He was asking about me with his friends. We had our first date driving to his house about 45 minutes away, having an awesome meal made by his mother. We drove around all day through the mountains and had a great time. At the end of the evening, he kissed me and I was gleaming with joy!
We dated up until he asked me to marry him on the beach in Fort Lauderdale in July of 1989. When we were dating we could sit in the car and talk for hours. There was never a moment of silence. We had similar convictions and similar ways we wanted to raise our children.
We married in June 1990 and we were off to a great life. I had a life partner and wanted Christ to be the center of our union from the start.
Fast forward to June 2004 when we got the diagnosis of autism with our son Charlie. The first several months it was all a blur. We knew he had some of the struggles but to hear those words from two different doctors was hard to handle. We studied all that we could.
Earlier in that first year I worried. I had two questions:
- Will Charlie understand who Jesus is ever?
- Will Charlie understand love and be married someday?
Those two questions were in my head constantly. I wanted my son to be loved by a woman he would choose someday, but after those visits with these doctors it seemed too far to reach.
Charlie turned 17 in July. Every year Charlie has made progress in so many areas.
- He verbally speaks.
- He goes to the bathroom on his own.
- He can cook slightly.
- He was able to achieve getting his driver's permit.
- He can shower on his own.
- He can ride a bike.
- He can put his clothes on by himself and usually they are not inside out.
I am grateful for each of these things BUT he also still struggles.
- He hits himself still.
- He shuts down and won't talk at all.
- He doesn't have a friend he can call and talk to each day.
- He is afraid to go in a store by himself or purchase something.
- He will get overwhelmed in social situations and he will scream and run to a quiet room.
- He doesn't have friends sleep over or go to the movies with.
- He is afraid all the time someone in public will talk to him.
I have always tackled everything with, "One day at a time" or even "One minute at a time." So even though relationships are one of the hardest things for him. We will work on it over and over again.
I want him to have male friends that he can talk with about what he likes and what they like. I want him to be able to vent like we all do when things are tough instead of bottling it up. I want him to have female friends that help him to understand us females and our all over the place emotions... well maybe not. I mean I want him to meet some girls that he can talk to and feel comfortable to be Charlie.
Don't we all want our kids to experience love and be loved?
I will always love Charlie as you will always love your child, but we want them to grow through others as well. I pray for my Charlie that God will place male friends in his life and also some female friends. Praying for our children daily is crucial and so important. Don't let one day go by without praying for them. God has big plans for Charlie and God has big plans for your child. Don't get in God's way.
We need to make sure we have ways for them to practice these social skills and give them feedback without pushing this on them.
Who will love him?
His dad will.
His sister will.
God always will.
What can you do to help your child?
- Pray for your child daily.
- Help them socially daily.
- Expect great things.
- Love your child without putting pressure on them to find a mate.
May God encourage you today as we continue to trust in Him.
Patty Myers, www.building-pathways.com