I shut out the day that is to come – with it’s changing of the sheets, daily sanitizing, picture schedules, and behavior charts – and allow God’s presence to envelop me in peace.
I can’t tackle the day on my own; in my own power. This journey of our son living with severe Autism can at times be all consuming. From sun up to sun down, our life is a whirlwind of love, pain, laughter, frustration, and perseverance. Therefore, I must daily equip myself for whatever lies ahead.
In Ephesians 6:10-11 it says “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (NIV).
This is what I must do. In the stillness of the morning, while sitting with my checkered blanket, I must “armor up.” Satan would love nothing more than to paralyze me with worry for all that this autism journey entails. The enemy would love nothing more than to make me feel defeated, ill-equipped, depressed, or full of dread for what is to come.
Friend, I don’t know what kind of journey you are on but let me encourage you to “armor up” each day.
The Helmet of Salvation: Protect your mind dear friends. There are so many times that I leave my mind unprotected and allow my thoughts to run wild. I begin to worry about my child’s future, his aggression, and fearing for the unknown. Instead, I must remember to surrender every thought to the Lord and to remember that He is sovereign. Do not forget that Christ died for you and for your child!
Breastplate of Righteousness: Protect your heart. Satan likes to remind us of all the times we have failed as parents. Goodness, have I messed up. There is no manual for this special needs parenting gig and sometimes I fall short. When Satan begins to attack our heart, emotions, or self-worth, we often times freeze with shame. Protect your heart, friend. Remember that you are forgiven and dearly loved by God. God has entrusted your precious child to you for a reason and He gives us grace to do better each day.
Sword of the Spirit: Trust in the truth of God’s word. The enemy will tempt us to feel as though there is no hope on this journey called life. Find your meeting place with the Lord each morning. Wrap yourself in the truth of His word so that you are ready for the day ahead. When we stand firm on the truth of God’s word and we daily glean from its pages, we are able to wield it against all lies from the enemy.
Shield of Faith: Cling to hope in Christ. When the enemy attacks with insults and setbacks, it is easy to fall into the temptation of defeat. As a special needs parent, I must be sure to keep my shield up so as to protect myself from being hit with lies such as “He will never overcome,” “Your child will always be alone,” “No one understands what you are going through.” Put up your shield friend and keep faith. Do not doubt the promises of God.
Belt of Truth: Know God intimately so that you know His truth personally. Satan fights with lies. He is an accuser. He sends messages that contradict the very heart of God. When the world says that my son is an outcast or gives little hope for the future of my child, I can stand firm knowing that God’s plan for my son is to give him a “hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11)
Shoes of the Gospel of Peace: Be available and ready to share the good news of Jesus Christ! The enemy wants to cloud our vision so that we are so overwhelmed in this special needs parenting life, that we forgot the very purpose for which we (and are children) have been created. We are each created to bring glory to God and to lead others to a saving knowledge of Christ.
Armor up friends! There is no “special accommodation” or excuse for not living a life sold out to Jesus Christ, special needs parenting and all. What if this special child you have been gifted with is the very way that God intends for you to share Christ with others.
Find your meeting place with the Lord each morning. Remember that there is purpose in this life God has gifted you with. Fill up on the pages of His word. Stand on His promises and protect yourself against an active enemy. It’s time to armor up!
Nichole Huggins is a wife and mother of two. As the parent of a special needs child, Nichole willingly discloses the trials, triumphs, and life lessons of having a child with autism. She writes at LoveinaDifferentLanguage.com where she offers insight and hope as she shares about parenting, autism, and the faith that holds it together.