For 20 years, my family has been on a journey that is different than most families. My husband and I were young and in love, and the natural consequence of young love is children. So at the age of 25, I gave birth to a precious baby boy. That boy was very precocious and he amazed everyone with his giftedness. No joke, he was reading before he was out of diapers, but he also had social and communication delays that concerned us. When he was three years old, we contacted our school system and had him evaluated. He was amazing and gifted, they told us, but they also told us that he had autism.
We tried everything we could. I spent hours on the computer searching for something, anything, that would undo our son’s autism. We tried nutritional supplements. We tried the newest and greatest therapies. We looked for underlying health problems that could trigger autism. And by the time he was five years old, I was exhausted, caught in a never-ending battle to find my little boy.
A friend from church dropped by the house and gave me a sheet a paper with a verse from Hebrews 4 on it. “There remains…a rest for the people of God.” Oh how I longed for this rest! I was caught up in a whirlwind of special diets, drawing blood, therapists, and doctors visits. Could I trade it all for rest? But what about my son?
God spoke to me clearly, an instruction that would guide the next fourteen years as we parented our child with a disability:
“TREAT THE SYMPTOMS. LOVE THE CHILD.”
Recently I went up to the Cape Fear Community College North Campus to purchase a gift for my daughter who was graduating. As I started to leave, it dawned on me that I would probably not return to that building. And then I cried. I cried tears of thankfulness because the two years that she spent at community college as a dual-enrolled homeschooler were such a blessing in her life. And perhaps mixed in were a few tears of joy that my twelve years as a homeschool teacher are over.