Monday, April 20, 2009

Oh the Places You'll GO!

This family has gone over the hills and far away, to love their son and come to a place of accepting who he is even if it means embracing autism. Many phrases come to mind, "Whatever it takes," "what we'll do for love," and the one I hear recurrently from well-meaning friends, "I don't know how you do it." There were days, many moons ago, that honestly, I didn't quite know how I was doing it either. But what the Bible says is true, God's grace is sufficient, and we do.

So go with me here, if the strength to do what God calls each of us to do--be it autism or any other life circumstance--is not our own but His, then it doesn't matter who we are, but whose we are. If we are drawing from the same source, then any one of us could do it if we had to. Which is now my standard reply to that comment, "You'd be surprised what you can if God calls you to it." God's immeasurable grace and riches are of infinite supply. Many of us parenting autism, find new reserves of energy, creativity, stamina, and patience because God has allowed autism in our lives. What's so bad about that?

I do not wish to perpetuate the myth that these far flung adventures have any credence or magic power in and of themselves. Whether swimming with dolphins, racing with horses, or listening ad infinitum with headphones, I think the true value is in the journey not the destination. The journey for the parents is one of learning to relate differently and to accept (not change) their child. The parallel journey for the child is to discover who they are and where they fit in the world and how to trust. Having to go to greater lengths to do this with children on the spectrum, many parents demonstrate over and over again that love is the greatest motivator.

Is there a more powerful example than the cross? For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him would have eternal life. The Easter message is one of sacrificial love. Jesus, who is love, was motivated to go where no man has gone--literally to hell and back--to save you and me from a fate worse than autism.

When we do anything resembling that, whether by affording some outrageous therapy, homeshooling 'til we don't recognize ourself in the mirror, or driving illogical distances to a qualified therapist, we are following Christ, sharing in his suffering, and becoming more like Him. Go ahead and spill yourself out for someone you love; you're in good company even if the world doesn't understand.

The book, The Horse Boy was released April 14th. The British family is described here in an article in the Telegraph and the trailer of the subsequent movie as well as the movie website here. Their journey makes a fascinating story. Admirably, the family has taken the proceeds of the book and started The Horse Boy Foundation and ranch outside of Austin. If you go there, know that you take your own therapists, your own child, and do your own thing with their horses and premises. They don't have a magic bullet or even much staff; you must come to your own terms with God's own will for your own life and family. No one can do that for you.

Don't all run off to Siberia or Austin, but do lend an ear to your child's unique pulse today and tune in to how God is calling you to love.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:6-8

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:17-19

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Ephesians 4:1-3

The one who calls
you is faithful and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-25


  1. And you got me with the question, 'Is there a more powerful example than the cross?' Andrea, I get that now better than I ever could before -- that God will go to any length - even death on a cross - to love and save us. Wow! Thank you! This Easter message resonates with me tonight and I am just in awe of the love of Christ.

  2. Acceptance is so freeing. Just like God's love.

  3. I love the idea of swimming with dolphins with my son. Maybe one day.

  4. great post. the video brought me back a decade to see how far we've come.