Me and Jacob

Me and Jacob

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My Faith, Mirrored by Autism

     All throughout my life I've heard sermons and speeches about our relationship with Christ being like a marriage. They relate to Christ as the husband and his children being the bride. It is a beautiful love story that is meaningful to us because we understand the devotion a marriage has and has to have. It's a very biblical portrayal that we can relate to and make tangible. However, I've found myself lately relating my relationship with Christ more to a parent/child relationship than a marriage. Even more so, relating my relationship with Jacob to the one that I have in Christ.

     I think one thing that I desire most about my relationship with Jacob is to be able to communicate with him. It's the one thing I believe all parents that have kids on the spectrum would agree on. Jacob is verbal, and I'm very thankful for that. Many kids on the spectrum are non-verbal and I can't imagine what that is like. Even though Jacob is verbal, our communication is still very broken. It hurts me not to know what he's thinking and feeling when he's hurt, scared, sad or confused. I long so badly for him to speak to me, understand me and for me to understand him. It makes me ponder my relationship with Christ. Even though I am a believer, my communication with him is so often broken. I think about how He longs to hear from me. How He loves me so much that it hurts him when that communication is broken. I think about how he wants us to share our emotion with him when we are hurting and broken. He wants to carry our burdens just like I want to carry Jacobs but when there is a breakdown in communication, it's impossible. It hurts.

"Cast all your anxiety upon him
because He cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7

     Lately, Jacob has been stuck on asking me if I love him. My life reads like that annoying Family Guy episode..."mom, mommy, mom, mama, mommy, mom, mama, mom, mommy, mom...WHAT?... do you love me?" This is a conversation I have, oh, about, 800 times a day! It gets very old, very fast. I tell him "only a little bit," and he says "you love me a lot!!" I try not to lose my patience with him. I'm not really sure if he just likes the repetitiveness and it's comforting to him or if he feels insecure. The conversation always comes when I'm trying to do something else or I'm just extremely tired of answering the same question over and over and over. I think about how often I've begged God to show me, somehow, that he still loves me, even though he proves it to me daily. Jacob doesn't understand all the things that I do for him out of love, he just needs to hear me say that I love him. Just like we don't understand all the things that Christ does for us out of love, we just need to hear that He loves us over and over again.

 "For I am sure that neither death nor life,
nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, 
nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, 
nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, 
will be able to separate us from the love of God 
in Christ Jesus our Lord." 
Romans 8:38 & 39

     The other conversation he gets stuck on, is asking me if I can see him. I like to tell him that I can't and that he is invisible. It makes him smile, but he still continues to ask. I can remember many times throughout the months leading up to and the months after Jacob being diagnosed and for a few years after, asking God if he could hear me. I felt so alone for a long time. As if God had given me this beautiful child with autism and then walked away from me. I was angry, alone and hurt. I wouldn't be able to tell you how many times I asked God, do you see me and can you hear me? Why have you forsaken me?

"Be strong and courageous, do not be
afraid or terrified because of them
for the Lord your God goes with you
he will never leave you, or forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

     When I think about these things I am reminded of how much I love Jacob. But even more, I am reminded that God loves me more than I can ever imagine loving Jacob. He does love me, He does hear, He does see me and He wants a relationship with me. This is what I hold on to. This is what I long for!