Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas with Autism

Christmas with Autism
For a while now Jacob’s sensitivities to certain sounds have been increasing.  So much so, that we have to leave restaurants and stores when he has an episode.  He covers his ears, lowers his head to his lap, shakes and cries.  Over the holiday I even had to leave in the middle of a nice dinner with my mom and sister and go have dinner in the car with Jacob.  I am so extremely happy and excited because this past week Jacob has finally allowed us to put his headphones on (connected to my itunes) and keep them on, so that he will stay in those places while we are there.  We have been working towards this for a long time and it is a MAJOR accomplishment that he is now able to wear them.  I am so thankful to God for this milestone, as some places are unavoidable and we needed a way to help him when he is having these episodes. Doesn’t he look so cute in those Spiderman headphones?  I sure think so!
So Christmas wasn’t the easiest this year.  The twinkling lights on the Christmas tree have always made me feel very nostalgic, I love winter and Christmas, but Christmas time is very different with autism.  Now, those glimmering lights remind me to be careful about where I place them because Jacob will want to grab at them and play with the plug to turn them on.  The once game filled, super fun Christmas Eve party at my family’s house is now my husband and I deciding who will take turns chasing Jacob around the house as he tries to open the front door, jump in the fish tank, and climb on top of furniture.  Staying until game time is definitely out of the question. Christmas Eve service at church is not an option with Jacob, so he must go into the nursery with the little kids and with one of us.  Christmas time is even more of a reminder of Jacob’s limitations.  As I am sure it is for the many parents who have children with autism at home, away from school for the holidays.  What was once a carefree, or mostly carefree holiday, is now a time of careful consideration of each moment...where we go and what we will do and how we will get Jacob through it.  It isn't all bad,  there are wonderful moments, but it can certainly be very difficult at times.
So how do you get through it?  How can you remain positive with so many challenges and changes?  My Pastor was describing the door knocker parable from the Bible in Luke 11:5-13 in which a person went next door in the middle of the night to knock on the neighbors’ door for food because they had an unexpected guest that was hungry.  The neighbor only answered after he continued to knock without ceasing.  My Pastor explained that we must pray in this way.  We must pray without ceasing, not for ourselves or desires, but to pursue God and to know Him.  He said that wisdom is not a commodity. Wisdom is a person (GOD).  When we pray to know Him more, we will get what we need: peace, wisdom, hope, patience, understanding, and help.
The wisdom of God can give us peace and calm amidst trials and struggles.  God doesn’t promise that we will not endure pain, but that with GOD, we can have REAL TRUE peace and joy.  I was reminded again throughout his sermon that the answer for how I can get through this time is right there in the Bible, the answers are always right there.  Seek and pursue God without ceasing.  Know HIM, love HIM, seek to honor and glorify HIM and he will give you rest and peace.
Christmas isn’t the tree or lights or parties, but a celebration of the one true king, our savior, Jesus, who was sent to us by God to reconcile us to God. 
God is perfect.  The Bible calls God holy.  Because He is holy sin cannot exist in His presence. 
We (man) are not perfect. We all sin. I have lied you have lied, I have lusted you have lusted, etc.  God says in the Bible that the punishment for sin is death or separation from God for all of eternity.  So there lies the dilemma between God and man. He is perfect and we are sinful so therefore we are cutoff from God for this life and all of eternity.  But God didn’t leave us there.  God loves us so much that He sent Jesus, his only son, to us to live a perfect (sinless) life so that all of our sins could be placed on him at the cross.  Jesus took the punishment for us that he did not deserve, and through his death on the cross, burial and resurrection, He conquered sin and death forever and paid the penalty for our sins in full in order to reconcile us to the Father if we believe and trust in Jesus.
We are in desperate need of savior to reconcile us to God. The Bible says that if we repent and surrender our lives and heart to Jesus and make Him the Lord of our lives, that we will be completely forgiven of all our sins by God, not because of anything we have done, but because of what Christ did for us on the cross.  Have you made this decision?  I urge you to surrender to the one true king.  Open your Bible and read through John.  See why we celebrate Christmas and Easter and why Jesus is so amazing. Pursue God and you will have peace and joy.
 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Romans 3:23
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 10:9
...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.