Most of you know that my son Jacob has an autism spectrum disorder. Next year Jacob will be making the transition to middle school, which is a scary time for any parent, but made even more so with Jacob’s special needs and the uncertainty of what resources he will need and have available in this next step of his educational journey. In order to get a sense of what he will need, my wife and I took him to the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) in Chapel Hill a couple of weeks ago for a consultation. CIDD is a fantastic place and we had first visited there several years ago not long after Jacob was first diagnosed.
Now, before we go much further, I need to share a personal shortcoming with you. For those things that are difficult to deal with in my life, my defense mechanism is to live in a bit of denial. As long as I don’t think about them too much, I can pretend they aren’t really a big deal and I can be very passive and put off making any plans or taking any steps to deal with the issue. My wife and I call this “going in the bubble,” which we might have gotten from a feature of a Super Mario Brothers video game (pictured above.) In the game, when you are playing with other people, if you are about to die, you can press a button and “bubble up” which makes you invulnerable and keeps you alive, but doesn’t allow you to do anything else until one of your teammates comes by and breaks the bubble. Well – I like to stay in my bubble sometimes when it comes to Jacob’s challenges.
Because of this, it was difficult for me to spend the better part of a day discussing those challenges and how best to meet them with the professionals at CIDD. I was forced to come out of the bubble and start making some decisions and thinking about the uncertain future. So I was a little depressed when we got back home.
The next day, though, a friend shared a devotion on Facebook centered around 2 Corinthians 12:9. Paul tells us that he has prayed over and over for God to take away a circumstance that is painful in his life and God answers him by saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul’s reply to this truth? “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” It was just what I needed to hear in that situation.
Jacob’s challenges are also challenges for his mom and me. If we had the choice, we would rather God would take his autism away. But there is no doubt that dealing with these challenges have made me a better parent and a better person. God has used this circumstance to teach me to trust Him more, to teach me patience, to teach me that my value and my children’s value is based on things other than what we can achieve academically or socially, and to teach me a countless number of other important truths.
So – I boast of Jacob’s autism. Not because it shows what a great parent I am (because I am not great at all), but because it shows what a great God I have. His power is displayed and made perfect in my weakness and my son’s challenges. Beauty from ashes, using all things for the good of those who love Him. What are the challenges in your life that God’s power is made perfect in? Leave a comment and share.
Before I wrap this up, let me share a song that has helped me through some of the challenges that I’ve faced: “Strong Enough,” by Matthew West. Have a great week.