Saturday, June 7, 2008

Alive in Christ

OK, here goes. I have waited a week to post about Reid's baptism for several reasons. One is pure exhaustion from being overwhelmed by it all. I also hesitate in fear that I will be unable to retell the magnificence of the day. I don't want to trap the spiritual splendor in words on a page or in my feeble recollection. I have been silent for a week even from writing thank you's to those who made it so sacred in an effort to sustain the reverence and (if I am honest) out of speechlessness. Have you ever had an experience that was so sublime you wanted to keep it to yourself lest the reactions of others deny its reality?

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:13-15

However, I wouldn't be a very good blogger or a very good witness if I don't "go tell it on the mountain!" Even if I don't "joyfully praise God for the miracles I've seen...then the stones will cry out!" Luke 19:39-40 It was truly glorious! Just know, whatever I say pales in comparison and you really did have to be there to experience the palpable glory of the Lord. I feel like Mary when she "treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:18-20

First of all, nobody stripped naked (did you read the "before" post?). What impressed me most was Reid's total engagement and appropriateness. These are lifelong goals for us which seemed for one sitting to be suspended in accomplishment. Granted, Reid loves a program and was prepared for how this would go. But somehow it was more than just a "good day" as measured by compliance, engagement, and behavioral goals.

There were guests from Reid's sphere who had no idea of his functioning. Whether they hadn't seen him lately or they've only seen him glued to the television set in the church library, Saturday was eye-opening. Some were in tears. Some were flabbergasted at his ability. Others who've been in the trenches with us and spent hours of time interacting with him and seen the glimmers of skill and development over time were not amazed at any one skill but at how they all coalesced like jello hardening into one grand presentation.

One of the 30 some eyewitness guests said to me, "Wow, Reid really 'gets' this." As his statement of faith Reid wrote a song with his music teacher, Angela Neve. The song served as testimony and sermon all in one. There was no mistaking his comprehension. What struck me was how obviously Reid's ability was displayed throughout the day. He demonstrated ability to sing, ability to lead a group, ability to grasp fundamental truths, ability to greet each guest and express gratitude for their presence, ability to share his faith, ability to take a break in the Eurovan with new gifts, ability to change into dry clothes we'd left in the van, and shocking ability to return to the party for more photo ops, ability to transition back into the Saturday routine with Dad once the party was over, ability to delay gratification and go to library after clean up, ability to help us set up and unload the van, huge ability to submit himself physically to be dunked backwards into waves, ability to regulate all the sensory and tactile input, ability to ask a guest if her husband was with her, ability to be a blessing to others, ability to have a ministry, ability to chose his own destiny for eternity.

Depending on how long you have known Reid or what other firsthand experience you have with autism, that may seem like a simple list. To put it into drastic context, this is the same kid who was basically evicted from special ed class as a danger to other students just 4 years ago. This is the same kid who streaked naked toward the intersection of Executive Drive and Genessee Ave. from a pool locker room just 8 years ago. This is the same kid who is obsessed with doing things himself and only let me hold his hand once as a toddler. Are you getting why I'm speechless?

Let me be clear; this isn't a sensationalized story promoting any of the myriad interventions that you could run to pay big bucks and afford for another child on the spectrum. It is not an infomercial for secretin, AIT, The Listening Program, music therapy, hyperbaric oxygen chamber, megavitamins, homeopathy, osteopathy, chelation, GFCF diet, DAN! protocol, Brain Highways, Floortime, PRT, ABA, or swimming with dolphins--although we have done most of those. Rather, our success story is first and foremost a testimony of what God has done in our midst. Ours is a story of staying the course, marinading in prayer, and the cumulative gain of multiple people pouring their gifts and love into a boy who is truly "growing in wisdom and favor and stature with God and man."Luke 2:52

Fourteen years ago when we were hoping to adopt we put this verse at the bottom of our solicitation letter. Ephesians 3:19-21 says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or him be glory...forever and ever." That verse has followed us and becomes more prophetic as we go. It rang true when we adopted not one but two babies. It continues to resonate as we move through autism. Ironically, the song which came to me in writing this seems drawn from that verse too. Terry Clark recorded it and it sums up my take home truth from the Reid's baptism. He is Able.
We have ability because God is able. We are creative because He is the Creator. We are loving because He is love. We are truthful because He is the Truth. We are made in God's image however weakly we pale in comparison. Any among us gains functioning when we are in His presence, when we abide in Him, when move in His Spirit. I saw that happen dramatically for Reid on Saturday and I've seen it happen gradually over the course of 14 years.

If you have a child with special needs, I challenge you to make a list of your child's abilities. You'll amaze yourself....and it will increase your faith. "Oh ye of little faith" was all I could think when I first sat down to write about the baptism. That verse is repeated by Jesus four times in Matthew. Usually, it is after a miracle God performed--multiplying loaves, walking on water, and then calming the storm. It is the phrase to use when amazed anew at God's power over the earth, the elements, the circumstances of our lives and our hearts. How fitting. I cannot believe what God has done in Reid's life....and is continuing to do.

"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Matthew 6:29-31

He said to them, "Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. Matthew 8:25-27

Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, " You of little faith, why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:30-32

But Jesus, aware of this, said, " You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread? Matthew 16:7-9

photo credits: Doug Miller, Carla Wood

1 comment:

  1. Andrea, this post truly captures the awesomeness of the day...I too continue to revel in God's abundance as I reflect on Reid's strengths in general, and on the date of his baptism in particular! Reid is a gift to everyone who knows him, and one of the greatest evangelists I know. Thank you for sharing the greatness of the day!!