Category: Faith

How Do You Feel?

2881E7B6-04D2-452F-B53F-A48FBD2B60B8This morning, a Facebook writing group moderator posted the question, “How do you feel?” With a picture of Spock in front of the computer. The computer was asking the question of Spock and, being half Vulcan, he didn’t understand the question. His mother explained that the computer knows he’s half human, and is simply asking him how he feels in that context. Spock, in true Vulcan form, replies, “The question is irrelevant.” But is it? Even Spock has feelings, whether he chooses to acknowledge them or not.

As I sat there for a few minutes, pondering the question, I was slightly overwhelmed by what I really was feeling. Here’s what I came up with.

Depressed because I used to see my oldest four sons at least once a week, and I miss their big bear hugs, and refrigerator raids with, “What’s good to eat?” queries. I haven’t see them in person in two months.

Thankful for FaceTime so we can at least have cyber visits.

Annoyed because I used to enjoy going shopping and wandering aimlessly through malls, and visiting Barnes & Nobel, but now the options are extremely limited, and B&N is out of the question.

I miss going to the library only one block from my house, and where some of my friends work.

I miss meeting up to go out to eat every Thursday morning, when my husband is coming off night shift, and my youngest son and I are just getting our day started.

I miss seeing people’s faces, knowing they’re smiling without having to look for the eye crinkles behind the mask, and chatting with total strangers about random commonalities while out running errands.

I miss turning on the TV and radio without having to hear the latest death toll, and what to do to stay safe and healthy.

I miss not ever having heard the phrases, “Social Distancing” & “Shelter In Place.”

I miss opening Facebook and NOT seeing the term COVID-19 every other post.

I feel disappointed by all the people who have shown their true colors by hoarding food and toilet paper, behaving atrociously in public places, stealing their neighbors deliveries, and harassing their fellow humans.

I miss writing without the influence of being under lockdown and the depression it causes.

I feel sad for the high school students who will miss out on the prom, and both high school & college students who will not be walking in a hard-earned graduation ceremony this year.

I feel horrible for all the younger generation for having their own version of The Plague during what should be a time of discovery, growth, and celebration of life before having to settle into a life of adult responsibilities.

I feel afraid of what could be yet to come, but hopeful that things will get better.

I have faith in God, and pray for humanity every day, but still go over all the other things in my mind almost constantly.

Mostly, I feel tired.

So no, Mr. Spock, I don’t agree that the question is irrelevant, but I do know that even you eventually discovered that, and in the end, you sent a message to your mother. A message I hope we will all echo soon.

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Wait!!

9B5E527D-5FFA-47D3-8DA3-9BCC16D3AD9B“Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees.” That’s an old saying my grandparent’s generation used when we needed to focus on the here and now and stop trying to see what’s in the future, because we can’t actually see the future. We can’t know everything, and we cannot control everything, only God can.

That can be hard on some of us humans. We can see what we want, but not how to get it. We can see what we need, but not always what needs to be done to achieve it. That’s where faith comes in. God always knows what’s in store for us, and what needs to happen to get to where we need to be. All we need to do is trust in Him.

I have all these dreams and goals in mind, and I know I want to do things in my lifetime that will last well after I leave this earth. I have five sons who are my legacy, and I am proud of them, and want the best for them. However, there are other things I would like to do, be, and achieve. When I was young, I wanted to be a teacher and an author. As an adult, I worked in the public school system for twelve years—first as a program coordinator, then as a behavior specialist. I loved working with kids, and I was good at it, but my career ended abruptly when I was injured and forced to walk with a cane for about three years.

Fun Fact: Public schools—at least in Northern California—will not allow adults who must use a cane to be employed with them because they consider it a liability, yet they do cater to disabled students. I have worked with many disabled students and they are some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met in my life. I just don’t think it’s the nicest thing that school districts discriminate against disabled adults.

Let’s talk about my dream of being an author for a moment… I love to write. I wrote a book, (I write hard-boiled detective/crime fiction) and published it on January 22, 2020. I want to be a successful author. I would love to see my books sell in the millions and be able to reach readers the world over. I want to buy a house. For the first time in my life, I would love to own a home. I’d like to leave it to my kids and leave them an inheritance that will sustain them for years to come.

I would like to help people in need. I’ve always been one of those people who give the few dollars I have left in my wallet, to someone on a street corner. Or donate to a good cause for a sick pet, friend, or family member. I’ve given away several of my typewriters to those who express an interest in writing, or have some terrible, difficult story they want to tell even if only to themselves. My heart goes out to people who are in bad situations. If I have something to give of myself, I do it. I enjoy it.

The problem is—I can’t always see the future. I don’t always know what will happen next, or when it will happen, and that makes me very impatient sometimes. I try not to be. I try to remember to be faithful, and put my trust in The Lord, but sometimes I do have a hard time with that. What do I do in those times? I pray. I just have a simple conversation with God and ask Him what he needs from me. I ask Him to show me what He wants me to do and then I try my best to listen.

It’s funny, but when I sat down to write this post, I was feeling a little down because I had just looked at my book sales for this week and was disappointed with the fact that only four copies sold all week. I was frustrated and wanted to think about anything but that, so I sat down with the intention of working on the second book in the series in order to focus my frustrations in a productive direction.

Before I work on my books, I always do little finger exercises and just type random thoughts as they come to me in order to loosen up my fingers and get the blood flowing through my brain. That way, the words can flow easier. Then this happened. What began as a simple writing exercise born of frustration, ended up being a way for The Lord to remind me to be patient and let Him work. Sometimes the reason we can’t see the forest for the trees, is because the path hasn’t yet been cleared, and we need to wait. Just wait. It’ll happen. Have faith.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” —Proverbs 3:5–6

 

By the way—Just in case you’d like to read my book, the links to all the sources can be found Here    🙂

Recognition

Recognition

Post Script: Sometimes we need to step back, get out of our own way, and realize that we have a problem. That doesn’t mean we have a drug problem, it could be anything. The point is, it’s something that’s keeping us from our true destiny, and God’s blessings, and we don’t always realize how much better things could be, if we just trust Him to help us. Put your trust and faith in the Lord today. He loves you so much, he gave his only son so that you should have eternal life and have it abundantly. No matter how bad things have been for you, or what’s got you down, God will always recognize you, and never question your identity.

Psalm 139: 13 – 16

King David was praying to the Lord who chose him above all others to lead the kingdom and people of Israel, and said, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Trust me… even if I don’t recognize you… God does. All you have to do is recognize Him 🙂

 

When Trials Abound

The last sentence of the following passage in Matthew is so, so important, especially when we’re struggling with a situation that causes us pain; “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

And then in James, when the Lord shows us there’s a reason for our trials, and that it will all be okay if we only trust Him and are obedient to Him.

Matthew 28:16-20 – After Jesus rose from the grave….

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Happy Sunday! May you be blessed as in Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

C.A. Bennett – Writer  (by God’s grace)

Regrets – I’ve Had A Few…

My husband and I were talking this morning about our rapidly advancing ages – I’m 49, he’s 57 – how we’ve traveled this road called “life”, and where it’s taken us. Both of us are also taking college classes to further our careers or take them in a new direction as the case may be, and I asked him, “Don’t you wish you’d have signed up a couple years ago when I tried to talk you into it?” His reply was a resounding, “Oh yes! I’d be a lot farther along right now. Almost done, actually!”

That conversation brought me to this train of thought, and I’ll share it with you if you’ll let me; Nowadays we often see people saying, “No Regrets!” & “You Only Live Once!” which – to me – translates to “Whateva! I do what I want!” and gives no room for lessons to be learned, and only attempts to justify bad decisions and mistakes to be repeated. This is dangerous ground to tread upon. Why?

Let me give you an example of what happened to a very real friend of mine. For the purpose of this example, we will call him Tom.

Tom goes through life, throwing caution to the wind, drinking copious quantities of alcohol, smoking, using drugs, and generally behaving in ways that are a detriment to himself and others around him. When bad things happen to him, and they frequently do – he goes around shouting about how unfair his life is, and how he doesn’t need anyone to tell him what he should and shouldn’t do. He makes one bad decision after another that usually result in lost jobs, broken relationships, loss of privileges and property, and even being arrested multiple times. This man has lived by the idioms we have previously referenced; “No Regrets!”, “You Only Live Once!”, “Whateva! I do what I want!” Finally, our friend Tom reaches his lowest point by placing his family in jeopardy, and goes to jail for a bit longer, and this time, it’s serious.

Now the thing you need to know, is that deep down under all that bad behavior, Tom is a great guy who loves his family, believes in God, and wants to do well. However, he is a misguided soul who had a lot of really bad things happen to him early in life, and those things have had their effect on him.

But Tom made another mistake and this time, it’s a big one. Tom loses everything. His freedom, his family, his job, his dignity, and even his faith for a time. Tom found out that if you live like there are no rules, someone, somehow, sometime – will show you you’re wrong, and it’s gonna hurt.

Fortunately for Tom, he finally woke up to the things he’d been doing wrong and learned his lessons. His freedom was eventually restored, though there are some restrictions on him. His family was restored, and though his job was not restored, he went into business for himself and took a better, more productive path to life in general. His faith in God was restored, and he has since lived a clean, calm, and happier life, in which he has become a much better husband, father & friend. He does all he can to show the Lord his appreciation and faith by going to church, reading the bible, praising God, and spreading the word. Tom is finally the great guy everyone always knew he could be. Tom hasn’t stopped there. He is constantly trying to learn new things and better himself in every way. Tom’s a nice guy.

Does Tom still regret his previous behavior? Of course! In fact, he tends to live by the idiom: “Those who forget their past are condemned to repeat it.” does that mean he dwells on his mistakes and constantly laments them? No. Why? Because the bible tells us several things about our sins and how God handles them. Take a look:

1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Philippians 3:13  “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

1 Peter 5:8  “Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Psalm 34:4-5  “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

So we don’t need to live in a constant state of condemnation in order to be forgiven, but we DO have to do a few things:

  1. STOP doing things that God says are sin
  2. ASK for forgiveness
  3. LEARN from our mistakes
  4. DON’T repeat our bad decisions
  5. TRY our best everyday, to do good for God, Ourselves, and Others
  6. REMEMBER that no matter what – God loves you. So much so, that he that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish, but have eternal life – John 3:16.

God is a god of peace. He wants all of us to have peace, but we need to put in a little effort for that to happen. So in closing, I want to leave you with this – Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So yes – You Only Live Once – Live smart.
C.A. Bennett – Writer

Processing… Processing…

brain-signals1Y’all have probably seen the movies where some computer wiz sits in front of a keyboard and monitor, as he or she begins typing codes, passwords and such, into the system, right? The camera zooms in on the empty black DOS screen, the wiz starts typing in random letters or numbers which usually show up as ***** onscreen, and in no time, there will inevitably come a message which says, “Processing… processing…” and the next thing you know, everything explodes into a whirlwind of computing awesomeness, and the world is once again, safe. Well I was thinking about that this morning as I was standing in the kitchen, whipping up a batch of pumpkin bread batter.

At this point, you may well ask yourself what this has to do with the price of tea in China, and my answer to you would be – absolutely nothing. However – it has everything to do with the way my brain processes things. See – whenever I have to write an essay for a class I’m taking or when I have a nasty case of writer’s block, my automatic response is to head to the kitchen and bake something. Usually a few loaves of good yeast bread, because its a very physical thing, with all the kneading and stirring and so on, and that helps me kind of connect the little dots of information and ideas swimming around in my head into an intelligent and usually insightful matrix that I can then put on paper, or a computer screen, whichever the case may be, and I’m good to go. So much so, that it’s not even a conscious decision anymore, it’s just what I do. I think today is the first time I’ve actually really analyzed the process of processing.

Anyway – My youngest son, who I’ve written about previously in My Son Who Has Autism, never did get the hang of riding a bike when he was little because of motor skill issues, but has since overcome many hurdles, and in the past few days, expressed the desire to get a bike and learn to ride it. I think that’s really cool, and we will be taking steps to make that happen. In much the same way as my baking/writing relationship, my son has things he does in order to get things straight in his head. One of those things, is to research his interests on YouTube. So much so, in fact, that when he decides he wants to learn something, he literally learns everything about that thing, and then some things he will probably never need to know.

I told you all that to tell you this; when you’re going about your daily activities, and find yourself stuck or frustrated because something isn’t working out, it’s always a good idea to stop – take a step back – research – make something – or call someone just to talk. More often than not, when you go back to it, you’ll be a lot more focused, informed, and maybe you’ll even have thought of something you couldn’t even grasp before. Why? because our brains are essentially squishy little computers that occasionally need some alternate input to process what we want it to. It’s good exercise to get your little synapses fired up and running better, and you’ll be glad you did.

It’s a lot like that with faith too. You don’t really make your faith stronger if you don’t take it out and exercise it regularly. In other words, are you just kinda hanging out, letting life get the best of you and taking your beatings, or are you stopping, taking a step back and exercising your faith by praying and spending time in the word?

You know, this morning, we were getting ready for church like every Sunday – by the way, we very much look forward to church – and got all showered, dressed, fed, and – bibles in hands, we headed for the car. Except this time, something happened that we didn’t expect. The gas tank was on flat empty, the little blinky fuel light was on, and we were sitting there looking from one to another, trying to figure out how we’d missed making sure there was enough gas in the car. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t anything we could do about it, because I’m flat broke till till Tuesday, when I get paid. We were all very disappointed, but decided God would understand, and went back to the house, somewhat long in the face.

I told our son it was okay, we could do some bible study here at home, and we’d just go next weekend as usual. My husband, on the other hand, was worried. He has classes tomorrow and needs that car. So what did he do? He took a step back, assessed the situation and decided there wasn’t enough in our gas-monster Ford F250 to make it the 50 miles round trip it would take to get him there and back, but if he could get the gas from there to my econo-box Buick – TA DA!!!! Light bulbs, and synapses were firing left and right, and BINGO! We have a winner!

So what happened? We exercised our faith by praying, and letting God handle our problem, and we exercised our brains by stepping back long enough to see what other options would work. Of course by the time it took to do all this, we would be way too late for church, but that’s alright, God is cool like that. He let us know that He is present in our lives right here at home, and always helps us when we need Him, which of course, is always.

Well – time to go check the Pumpkin Bread! Happy Processing!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

 

To Receive, Or Not to Receive – That Is The Question!

john-15-7

WOW! It has been a busy couple of weeks around the Bennett household! I have been wanting to post, and have had so many things on my mind that really needed to get out, but honestly, y’all don’t even know how jam-packed my brain has been, to the point where sleep is an issue, as is the idea of organized blog posts. What’s happening? In addition to one son and myself doing the whole college thing, my husband made the big decision to go back to school this semester, in an effort to get his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Technology! So exciting! I’m doing my best to help him out with all the enrollment paperwork, schedules, books, etc, and he’s really digging in and working hard already. That’s something I wish I’d had when I started college – Someone to give me a helping hand and point me in the right direction. Alas, I had to wing it and deal with the grumpy, overworked counselors at the college. Not so fun, and incredibly confusing. I personally think the enrollment process in college is designed to thin the herd. Only the strong survive the first two weeks – the rest are left to perish. There’s something wrong with that if you ask me!

But I digress! I wanted to talk to you today about getting what we want. My whole life, I’ve heard the bible verse Matthew 7:7, which states, “Ask and you shall receive” but most of my life, I’ve wondered why it is that I’ve asked, and yet haven’t always gotten what I’ve asked for. Why? Many people have asked the same questions; “What am I doing wrong? Why is God breaking His promises?” I’ve asked those questions, and I’ll bet you have too. So let me tell you what the Lord showed me. This is SO important, so PAY ATTENTION okay? John 15:7 says, “IF you abide in me, and (IF) my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you.”

So what happened here? “IF” happened, and trust me – IF is HUGE! Why? Because it means there are conditions to getting what we ask for. It’s a trust thing, and we have to hold up our end of the deal. Just like when we were kids – if we wanted our earthly parents to buy us something, we usually had to meet some criteria, such as chores, or homework, or good behavior, etc. In the same way, we need to keep our Heavenly Father’s word in our hearts, and live like we are actually in His family, and not just house guests who get spoiled and served without responsibility. Don’t get me wrong, house guests are great, but you wouldn’t give them a list of chores, now would you? No. You would show them hospitality and spoil them while they stay with you, because it’s a short time, and we are (usually) grateful for the short amount of time we are able to spend with them, yes? Okay. Now if they end up moving in, you would expect them to contribute in some way, and probably on a regular basis, would you not? After all – having people laying about your house, eating all your food and waiting on them hand and foot isn’t exactly a desirable long-term situation for the person doing all the work. Hence the term “house guest” – because they leave! Can I get an “Amen”?!

Back to the rules; as my pastor put it – rules exist for our protection and for our well-being. When you were a kid growing up, you would have eaten all the sugary food you could stand until you became ill, and would never get the proper nutrition your body needed to thrive. However, you probably had parents who made rules about the times you could have treats, what kind and how much. I have no doubt that it usually came after you had some type of nourishing meal. If that was not the case, then you may have bad eating habits now, and are certainly paying the price with your health. Personally, I was raised eating very unhealthy foods to excess, and as a result, I have a great deal of trouble losing weight and keeping it off. Why? Lack of rules. My mother also has a weight problem, as does my brother. Had I known as a young mom what I know now, I would have never allowed sugar in my home, much less in my children’s mouths. Fortunately, they are smarter than I was, and healthier as well.

Anyway – the point is – keep Gods word. Abide in his word, which as we mentioned in a previous post – means to live in His word, and keep it in your heart at all times. Be obedient. The Lord isn’t unreasonable, He just wants you to be safe happy, healthy, and that gives Him the ability to bless you. It’s good for you, I swear! Then – if you are keeping His word and his rules too – you will naturally ask for those things which are in line with His word/rules/will for your life and you will be blessed for it! I think sometimes people see this verse and think they should be able to ask for lottery winnings, or another man’s wife/another woman’s husband and they will get it. That is not the case. You can indeed ask anything and you will receive it – as long as you are actually asking for that which is in keeping with God and His word. If you’re not sure, search the bible! What does it say? Are your desires in line with Gods word? If not, chances are you won’t get that thing, or person, or if my some chance you do – you probably won’t be happy with it, so be careful.

I can tell you that since changing my way of thinking and making the effort – and honestly it’s not THAT hard to follow Gods word and keep His rules – my life has become much more blessed and less stressful – college-going husband and all. Is life going to be one big bowl of cherries? No. Don’t be silly. However – you’ll find that even when negative situations come up that seem like they are unmanageable, you will be able to ask God for His help, and he will always be there for you, in some pretty amazing ways. So – abide, abide, ABIDE in God’s word. Keep it in your heart, and let your mouth speak positive bible-based truths like; “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!” and you will find that you really can, because He really does!

God bless, and have a wonderful weekend!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

Doing What’s Right

abideLet me just tell you, I have been struggling for a topic for the blog the past couple weeks. So much so, that I’ve become exasperated and prayed for the Lord to lead me and tell me what to write. Of course, I should probably doing that on a regular basis instead of sometimes, like I’ve been wont to do. Anyhoo…

With very few exceptions, I don’t like most Christian music or singing hymns and songs in church. I’m sorry, I know that’s not very Christian of me, but it’s the truth and I hope y’all understand that I’m telling you this to make a point. Okay? Okay.

So this morning, at the new church we started attending about a month ago, I was singing along with the congregation, while reading the words on the two big screens at the front – by the way, I absolutely love that this church does that! So incredibly helpful! – and as I was singing one song in particular, I was thinking how much I didn’t actually like that song. But it wasn’t written for me, it was written for God with the intent of bringing glory to His name and worshiping Him, so I was obedient and sang along. Why? Because the Lord has done SO MUCH for me and my family, that this one small thing is nothing in comparison, and yet it brings glory to God and Jesus, who, of course is God in the flesh! Hallelujah!

No sooner had that hit me, than the Lord told me, “Crystal, that is your topic! Write about doing something because it is the right thing to do even if it’s not what you want to do!” It it me so hard, I had to write myself a note to remember that, right in the middle of the song! Praise the Lord!

Now I believe that when you ask for something spiritual from the Lord, and He gives it to you, He will very often follow it up once or twice more in confirmation, so you know it was indeed Him, and not your own worldly mind. Interesting thing happened next. The very next song had the most wonderfully appropriate line for this occasion – “Jesus, I sing for all that you’ve done for me!” Hallelujah and Praise the Lord again! Two signs in a matter of minutes! God is so good, is He not?!

Did you see what happened there?

  1. I asked God for something. In this case, inspiration.
  2. I was WILLINGLY, (not begrudgingly) obedient to the Lord and what He asks of me, whether or not I actually like doing that one thing. In this case, singing Christian songs.
  3. God immediately answered my prayer by giving me inspiration during the time I was willingly showing my obedience to Him!

WOW! Is that powerful or what?!

Today’s message at church was about ABIDING in Him, and He in us. The verses Pastor Dustin at Windborn Church shared with us, are very much in line with this message, and I believe that was the third sign.

In John 15:5, Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing.”

What happened? I was abiding (and we should always be abiding in the Lord, shouldn’t we?) in Him, and He in me, and the prayer I asked of the Lord, bore fruit, and now here I am, sharing that fruit with YOU! Praise the Lord and Hallelujah again!!! What a blessing!

So obedience really pays off, doesn’t it? Sure it does! When you were a kid, and you wanted ice cream or cake or cookies, but your parents told you, “You need to clean your plate or eat your veggies before you can have desert.” what did you do? You cleaned that plate and ate those veggies, I’m guessing! I know I sure did! So what happened? You were obedient to what your parents knew was for your own good, and then you were rewarded for your obedience!

That’s what happened to me today! I was obedient to my Heavenly Father, and I was rewarded/blessed with the fruit of the spirit. Why? Because even if I don’t actually like a certain song, it is always a blessing to me because it feeds my spirit and reminds me how good God is! It’s a really wonderful thing! Give it a try! Go and abide in God, be obedient to what He asks of you, and enjoy the desert He gives you, aka; your blessings!

John 15:8 – “By this, my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

The word “abide” in the time of Jesus, mean something a little different than it does today. It meant “Live” and “Dwell”. In other words, Jesus is asking us to live with and in Him, and He will live with and in us. I personally think that’s pretty cool. Don’t you?

Many Blessings to you!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

My Son Who Has Autism

​I have an 18 year old son with autism, who was mostly non-verbal until he was six, had sensory issues out the ying-yang, and could not…. would not…. go anywhere without specific items he “needed.”

Yesterday, I went to church with this boy, who willingly left his phone and headphones in the car two blocks away, and removed his favorite SF Giants hat upon entering the church, then kept it off the entire time. That never would have been the case a few ago! All of those things would have been a battle ending in frustration for all of us.

As he stood next to me singing hymns and Christmas songs along with me and the rest of the church – keeping time, carrying a tune, and missing not a single word – the enormity of his level of progress struck me so hard, I had to stop and collect myself before I could continue singing. Thank God I’d stuffed tissues in my sweater pocket before leaving, as most mothers are in the habit of doing regardless of how old our kids are.

The kid amazes me daily. This once non-verbal young man, now talks politics daily with his family, friends and teachers. He can do most everything on his own, he just forgets to do them. Is every day perfect? No. But who’s is? My menopausal self has more meltdowns than this kid! Very often, he does things for me out of the clear blue sky, just because he wants to help me out. 

One day, I’d gone grocery shopping and was in the process of putting everything away, with only the bag of sugar to transfer to its container in the cupboard, when I needed to take a bathroom break. When I came back, the sugar was in the container, in the cupboard, and the paper bag it came in was in the trash. My first reaction was to thank my husband for doing it, but he said he hadn’t. Our son said, “Oh. I did it because I wanted to help you.” You could have knocked me over with a feather! 

There have been other similar occasions where my kid just does something nice for me or his dad because he feels like it, and it always shocks me. Just last Friday, he surprised us by he using his own allowance money to buy his dad and I a snowcone after school. Nobody asked him to. In fact, we weren’t even with him when he did it on the way from the bus stop!

If you know anything about autistic people, then you know it’s uncommon for them to take another’s desires, comfort, wishes, or well-being into consideration, much less take action to propagate it on their own! 

To what do I attribute this amazing progress? 

  1. God and the power of prayer. 
  2. Parents and four older brothers who refused to treat this boy any differently than anyone else. 
  3. A lot of love and patience . 
  4. Wonderful teachers, speech therapists, and occupational therapists provided free-of-charge by the school district.
  5. The kid himself, for always trying so hard to meet all his goals. 
  6. Lots of patience and self-education on autism.
  7. Always telling him that autism is what he has, not what he is! 

              That’s very important!

If I could give other parents advice on coping with autism, it would be to follow the seven steps above, every single day no matter how hard it is. Whether or not it’s a good day is irrelevant. You don’t always have good days either, but isn’t it nice when people still treat you with love and compassion? Don’t forget that part of love is never giving up on them. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s definitely always been worth it! 

God bless!

C.A. Bennett – Writer