Jesus has a history of using those who most would consider “unusable” or “less likely to succeed”. I love that about my Jesus. He creates everyone with purpose and all of us have the opportunity to be used by Him to do great and wonderful things- even a child who has Autism.
I would spend a very long time if I were to list all the many ways that the Lord has used Ezra (my little boy who has Autism) in my life and in the life of our family. The Lord uses Ezra to constantly teach me things about love, life, and priorities. Because of Ezra, and the Lord allowing him to have Autism, my faith has grown stronger and I have learned in a very real way what it means to lean on the Lord completely as my source of strength. The Lord is always teaching me things through the life of my special needs child.
Last Saturday was no exception. Our family was scrambling to get out the door. Jake was going to help and friend with some yard work, Grace was going to a birthday party, Ezra was going to his “Lolly’s” house to play, and I was the chauffeur for the day. As we all hurried to get ready for our busy Saturday morning, I noticed that Ezra was struggling with something. I had made him juice that morning inside the blue Sippy cup with faded pictures on the side of it. (Something you should know about my little man is that he is VERY particular about the kind of cup he drinks out of. He can be so extremely thirsty, but if the drink is inside of a cup that is different, has a different kind of lid than what he is used to, or has a design that he is unfamiliar with, he will have a strong aversion for it to the point of not being able to drink, despite his extreme thirst. Yes, this is just all part of Autism) I gave Ezra this reject, faded Sippy because, well, that’s the only one that was clean (Maybe he won’t notice, right?).
So, on the coffee table this cup of juice sat, as I watched my little boy pace back and forth, trying to decide if he could bring himself to drink from this faded cup. I watched as he ran to the kitchen and brought out a couple of water bottles. He tried to open them and gave up quickly. He ran back to the cup of juice and stared at it for a while. He could not bring himself to drink. He was becoming frustrated. Next, he saw his sister’s cup. He immediately ran over and took a big gulp of her drink, but it was milk and he doesn’t really like milk, so he threw the cup down and began to cry. Then, it was back to the water bottles, but after a short time, he had given up again. Now he was in tears even though he knew exactly where he could get the drink he so desired. He just could not do it.
I went to the kitchen and began to wash a more “Ezra approved” cup so that my upset and thirsty little boy could have a drink. As I was washing this cup, I had a little check in my spirit. I do this too! So many times I am thirsty. I am thirsty for love, thirsty for acceptance, thirsty for peace, and thirsty for fulfillment. I busily rush around trying to “drink” from different people, places, and things that might fill me up and satisfy the desires of my heart. All the while, Jesus is there offering me that love, acceptance, peace, and fulfillment that I so desire to have. Just like Ezra’s juice cup, I know the Lord is there and I know what He has to offer. Why in the world is it then that I seem to run to Him as a last resort; when I am parched and exhausted from trying to “drink” from the world and what it has to offer?
I handed Ezra the “approved” juice cup. He drank and drank and drank. He was a thirsty little guy! Maybe someday we will help Ezra to be able to drink from various cups. For now, that’s just not on our radar. We have more important things to worry about like talking, playing appropriately, self-feeding, walking appropriately, etc.
As for me, I am so thankful that the Lord uses my sweet boy to teach me and to remind me of my need for time spent with my Heavenly Father. He fills my cup! I need to spend a lot less time running from one source to the other, looking for fulfillment. The Lord is my all in all. He is my source of strength. He fills me up!
Thank you Lord, for the great many ways that you use my sweet boy to draw me nearer to You. Thank you that You alone offer lasting and unconditional love, acceptance, peace, and fulfillment. May I drink deeply!
“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” - John 7:38