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Love and the Child You Did Not Know You Could Love
Have you ever found yourself ...
...just wondering about Elohim's (G-d's) love?
Exactly how unconditional is Elohim's love?
How wide and long and high and deep is this unconditional love that Elohim has for us that would cause Him to send His Son for us (Ephi'siyim (Ephesians) 3:18)?
Can I exhibit this same unconditional love for my own children, of which I have eight? The short answer is "Yes."; but, the long(er) answer is, "Yes, but it takes a lot of work sometimes, more times than I sometimes care to admit."
I want to take a few moments to describe how this unconditional love that I have for my children takes work, especially for my ten-[almost-eleven-in-about-a-month]-year-old daughter, Alana. Alana is not like most children- What child is like most children, though? Alana is Autistic. Her Autism is comorbid with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and multiple ADHD co-disorders (Asperger's Syndrome, Asthma, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), Episodic Mood Disorder, Enuresis (this is quickly becoming non-existent; major victory), Chronic Bronchitis, chronic abdominal pain, non-Celiac Gluten sensitivity, textile aversion, sound aversion, touch aversion, and being non-verbal). Needless to say, Alana takes a lot of attention, and while paying attention to Alana and her myriad needs, I also have to pay attention to words like "normal", "abnormal", and "unconditional love". These three words- normal, abnormal, unconditional love -are hard words to understand; yet, too many times, these three words are thrown around in too nonchalant a way when they pertain to children with Autism on a daily basis.
What does Autism look like?
On paper, Autism looks pretty messy ... all those evaluation and assessment results calculated with words you need a dictionary to pronounce and understand. In real life, Autism looks even messier.
When Alana has what we call meltdowns and/or shutdowns, it resembles Chernobyl meets Three Mile Island meets Godzilla! She becomes non-verbal, which makes all communication come to a screeching halt, or she becomes so violent that she pinches, punches, and pulls hair.
Autism is messy; but, Alana is a beautiful blessing.
And, so, I often stop to wonder ... paralleled to Autism, life is messy; but, O, how much Elohim loves us so unconditionally that life is a beautiful blessing!
Life is a Beautiful Blessing
My husband, Mark, and I try to teach all we can to Alana to help Alana journey in this life; but, she does not always learn well what we try to teach her. Mark and I communicate all that we can to the best of our abilities with Alana, even incorporating American Sign Language (ASL) into our daily lives, to help Alana journey in this life; but, she does not always understand what we need her to understand.
Likewise, Elohim sent His prophets, using many communication methods, to speak to us, His people; but, we did not always learn what we needed to learn or understand what we needed to understand. We have ears; but, do not, or can not, hear. Still, Elohim will do all that is needed is to get our attention; Mattityahu (Matthew) 23:37--"Yerushalayim, Yerushalayim, killing the prophets and stone those who are sent to her! How often I wished to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you would not!"
Oh, how He loves you and me!
Elohim loves to hold us; but, we, like our children, those with and those without special needs, seem to push Him away more so than pull Him toward us. He comes to us; but, we run from Him. Alana does this, too, with me and Mark; we want to love on her and show her affection as we help her learn and understand, but, because she has so many aversions to touch and texture, she pushes us away. In these moments when Alana pushes us away, we, I seem to too easily forget unconditional love because I, we, get frustrated and overwhelmed. It makes me want to pull Alana toward me even more. Elohim is much the same way; He wants to pull us to Him even more, and thus He sent His Son. It is the most beautiful love story that has ever, is now, or will ever be told ... a story of unconditional love in the midst of the chaos and turmoil of human emotions.
Alana has a mix of chaotic and tumultuous emotions, too, that she deals with on a daily basis ... from second to second, from minute to minute, and from day to day. Yet, she is a young girl who loves without condition. I know, some of you are saying right now, "You have to say that, you are her mother.", and, yes, I do have a fair amount of bias; but, anyone who knows Alana would say the same. For example, when Alana awoke on her ninth birthday- 2016 -she had no thought of what she wanted for herself, she only wanted to make sure she was able to give $10.00 to our [then] pastors so they could have ice cream as a treat from her; she wanted her pastors to have some of her birthday fun because they could not come to her birthday party. This is just one example of many that show how unconditionally Alana loves.
Unconditional love ... in the midst of chaos and turmoil of Autistic emotions ... in the midst of a messy life ... given to us by the Creator of the universe.
How He Loves in ASL & CC by Rock Church Deaf Ministry
Yochanan (John) 3:16
Loving people is what Alana does best, even beyond the aversions and the frustrations and the meltdowns and the overwhelmingness of her [dis]abilities. Because Alana's Autism does not define Alana. Not even her love for people defines Alana. Elohim's love for Alana and Elohim's call on Alana's life is what defines her.
Elohim's unconditional love can define you as well. Open your ears and eyes to Yochanan (John) 3:16; "For Elohim so loved the world that He gave His only brought-forth Son, so that everyone who believes in Him should not perish but possess everlasting life." (TS2009)
Alana is one little girl, who happens to be Autistic, and who happens to know how to love without end or condition. This is love. Elohim is a great YAH (G-d) Who, because of His unconditional love for us, gave His only Son that we might be saved. Elohim loves without end or condition, to a much greater extent than my daughter even. How can anyone not want to be a part of that kind of love!?