On the Palm of My Hand

Written by Kimberly Green
Messy Marriage Team Writer

Accepting the news that your child has a disability is preceded by many, many grief steps and emotional adjustments.

You deny, then you try to fix, then you put on the battle armor of defensiveness that covers everything but the chip on your shoulder.

We want to protect and nurture our children, and, as Christ Followers, teach them about the Living God.

As the mom of a Neurotypical little girl, I took her to church and children’s ministry events; I sang worship songs and made sure she had Bible memory songs on CD; She went to a private Christian School where in second grade she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior.

I was so thankful and so proud. No matter what obstacles stood in the way throughout her life, she had Jesus. Whatever doubts she may face, or hurts she may endure, her foundation is secure.

As the mom of an autistic son, I took him to church and children’s ministry events (DISASTER!), I sang worship songs and made sure he had Bible memory songs on CD (He covered his ears and screamed).

I realized that any private faith-based education options would not be open to him, nor would homeschooling meet his needs.  

How would my son ever learn to accept Jesus as his personal Savior? 

In his world full of concrete routines and endless therapies, how can the abstract concept of FAITH penetrate a mind that would only accept absolutes?

I cried and I prayed and I found myself secretly hoping that God had a disclaimer or exception for people like my son. That since he really couldn’t understand the Gospel of Jesus, God would claim Him as His own anyway.

Through the years, he has had so many accomplishments, and my perspective on Autism has changed so much.  

His diagnosis was not this cross I had to bear to develop character, but a gift designed and crafted perfectly for him by a generous God who wants and made my child for His own.

Despite protests, we continued to pray as a family at meals, where he would often cover his ears and run away from the table. We would try to talk to him about who Jesus was in a way we hoped he would understand, though he would yell that there was no such thing as God.

We told him that God loved him anyway.

One particularly emotionally stressful evening, after fielding calls from family in different parts of the country where my husband and I each had a parent in the hospital, I found both of my children in the living room. I was making a pathetic attempt to maintain my “just fine” mask and immediately began babbling away about helping one of them with a computer game, when my beautiful Neurotypical, “Sister in Christ,” daughter said …

“Mom, Stop!” … and told me how her brother wanted to believe in Jesus.

I was stunned and sat next to him while he told me how he felt like God had written him a letter on the palm of his hand (weird….but okay…) and how he knew that Jesus loved him.

Since that day, prayer-time and talking about Jesus is initiated by a kid who wanted nothing to do with Him. I don’t know what happened or how. But I do know that on that summer evening my developmentally disabled child had an encounter with a Living God that changed him. He shares with other kids at school the Good News of the Christ he passionately denied existed.

I know that God is more than faithful when he has promised to “draw ALL men to Himself”… exactly as we are.

God has taught me that “nurturing” my child isn’t repairing him to fit into some fantasy version of “normal”

But honestly looking at who they are created to be, finding beauty in them, equipping them, and seeing God in them, so THEY can see God in themselves and share Him with the rest of the world

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Linking up with NOBH, Imperfect Prose, New Life Steward and To Love Honor and Vacuum

  • Fantasy version of normal…there is a lot of truth in these words. Isn’t it wonderful that HE loves us…just as we are. So hard for the human brain to comprehend, I think that may be why we try to “fix” things and make them “normal.” Beautifully written and you touched my heart with your writing. Thank you.

  • Kimberly Green

    I love the phrase “NORMAL is just a dryer setting”. I agree, we simply CAN NOT comprehend that degree of Love, yet it still penetrates and communes with each of us in an individual, personal way. Thanks Mary

  • I LOVED this post, Kimberly! It is so amazing how God speaks to our children, even when we think they are not listening. There’s much that God is doing in the “unseen”–that’s what I’m trusting and believing this new year!

  • Kimberly Green

    “UNSEEN” is a GREAT WORD! There is NO GREATER JOY for a mother than when our children walk through that door of Faith in Christ. I know I am very fortunate because my child can verbalize. I hope to encourage others whose kids are unable to speak or communicate that GOD IS working and revealing Himself to their child. When we are instructed to “train up” our children, we are NOT instructed to wait around and see the results…but are promised that “when they are old they will not depart from it”. THIS IS ONE OF GOD’s MAGNIFICENT PROMISES that is truly evidence of things UNSEEN, and requires us to trust God with our children.

  • Gary

    You’re making me cry Kimberly. And I’m out in public, sitting at a table waiting for my lunch to be served! I don’t mind at all though. I love to hear the stories just like yours – about how God invades our lives – and the lives odd those we love – in such surprising ways. Thank you for sharing your story, for letting God continue to shape you into His image – in His way, and thank you for being an inspiring friend.

  • Wow Kimberly. I really don’t have words (so won’t try to come up with some..lol) God is a great God.

  • beautiful story.
    what hope for the hopeless (that’s all of us, right?).
    bless you.

  • Kimberly Green

    Yep…EVERY SINGLE ONE of us! Thanks Kelli!

  • Kimberly Green

    He TOTALLY and COMPLETELY is! Thanks so much Ngina!

  • Kimberly Green

    GARY? Say it ain’t so! Thanks for all of your encouragement! I LOVE the term INVADES…He can just come in and do what God does…nothing short of amazing.

  • Marty Walden

    Beth, you took the time to leave a comment on my Valentine’s post and I came here to connect and you wrote such a beautiful, amazing post that filled me with such hope and joy. My two youngest are adopted with attachment disorders, healing but with many special heart needs. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding me that my children were chosen by God, for us, to teach not only them, but us. Great writing!
    Marty@Marty’s Musings

  • Thanks so much for coming by, Marty, but I can’t take credit for this incredible post. My Messy Marriage Team member, Kimberly Green wrote this one. She really did share an amazing story and I’m so glad you found some insight and comfort from it.

  • Wow, thank you so much for this post. My son just got diagnosed with Autism only 5 short months ago. We are in the process of getting him into the special needs program at one of the local schools, but I am sad because my dream was for him to go to a Christian school. Thank you so much for posting this and giving me hope. -www.singingthroughtherain.net

  • Hang in there Kathryn.

    Sincerely,
    Kimberly’s Husband 😉

  • Thank you so much!