A Supernatural Power: A Personal Testimony of Autism

by Jenny Stricklin

mmhudsonpic-1


Without a doubt, my son’s autism has taught me more about the profound implications of the Gospel than any other life circumstance.

My beautiful, blue-eyed baby boy was two weeks shy of his third birthday, and a few little things we’d picked up on over the previous year led us to go ahead with a formal evaluation. After two days of assessments, we were given a diagnosis. We left the testing center that February afternoon, holding our wiggly little darling close as we brushed away inevitable tears. And in the days and weeks that followed, we waded through this new information, compared it with the three years of dreams that we’d accrued for him, and questioned what the future would look like for our little guy…and for us.

On one hand, it felt like a bomb had just gone off and we were sifting through the devastation, trying to piece together whatever we could find that resembled normal. Like any parent, we wanted nothing but the absolute best for our son, and now it seemed like somehow that had been snatched away from him.

But on the other hand, we knew that the little boy we took into that evaluation room was the exact same one who came out with us. He still wanted to play and be tickled and snuggled. He still loved reading books and playing at the playground. He was the same handsome little sweetheart that we’d spent the last three years loving and learning.

Undoubtedly, we’ve had both peaks and valleys as time has gone by. I remember vividly the emotional summer after he turned three, when I desperately hoped for even a tiny bit of progress in his significant speech delay. That’s the first time in this journey I remember the Lord delivering BIG time on that prayer, as his test results the following summer showed that his skill level was AHEAD for his age!

But it wasn’t too long ago that the Spirit took me to a new level of belief on my son’s behalf and burst open my narrow perspective of our circumstances…

Take a look at Paul’s response to the words the Lord spoke to him in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “’My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses… For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Or how about in John 9 when the disciples asked Jesus why the man was born blind? Jesus said, “…so that the works of God might be displayed in Him.” (vs. 3)

Or consider Moses, when commanded by God to go and speak to Pharaoh on behalf of the Israelites in Exodus 4, he said, O Lord, I’m not very good with words… I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”

As you know, Scripture is jam packed with upside-down, backwards logic. In fact, it’s not logical at all. For example, in God’s economy, weakness equals strength; the last shall be first; to save your life you have to lose it; foolish things shame the wise; death is life; and on and on. 

My problems and disappointment often come when I hope and plan for my son a life that lines up more with the American dream than the Kingdom agenda. Oh Lord, help me!

Of course, I want my son to be successful. Of course I want him to have nice friends. Of course I want to nurture his talents in sports, art or music. But none of those are the most important thing. In the end, all that matters is the greatness of our God. It’s ALL that matters. ALL. One day, we’ll be gone. But He remains. We are here to make much of Him. And every single person can do that with the cards they’ve been sovereignly dealt. And amazingly, when we don’t make a mad dash away from the weaknesses we’ve been given, but embrace them as a testimony to the Lord, we win!

As Hudson grows up, I want this to be his mantra! Just like Moses or the blind man or Paul, my Hudson has the incredible privilege to be a conduit of the supernatural, life-giving, wonder-working power of the Living God.

WHY WOULD I WISH THAT AWAY?!

Whether it’s in a blatantly obvious disability or a hidden difficulty, boasting in weakness is no small order. None of us want THAT on display. But this very act brings purpose straight into the heart of it. I never want Hudson to listen to the voices of culture and be ashamed or upset at the way God has brilliantly made him. After all, Psalm 139 is just as true of him as it is anyone else! And I’m expectant that the way I view him, believe God for him and speak about his difficulties might just become his perspective down the road.

I could write for hours about all the ways God has moved in our lives because of Hudson’s autism. (And if you’re curious, I’m an open book!) I wish you could know this precious little boy. I would duplicate him if I could. And yes, some days have been ridiculously HARD. But the bottom line is: his life is beautiful and full of purpose and value. And it sounds strange to say, but I am so very thankful for this road. To God be the glory!

Jenny Stricklin

*Please leave your thoughts and comments below!

26 comments

  1. Sophia Tan says:

    Hi Jenny, I was reading your post and I am admire all the conversation between u and our mighty god. I am not good in speech, hope you will have more patience on me and my English.
    My son is turning 3 next year March, and till now, he still don’t know how to speak. Although the doctor and all my friend told me that there is nothing wrong with my son, but somehow I am still worried. I like the verse you mentioned in the blog, Exodus 4, he said, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words… I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”
    I am still trust god, and pray for it.

    • Jenny Stricklin says:

      Sophia, Thank you for your encouraging words! I totally understand what you are feeling in relation to your son. Praying the Lord would make Himself known in your story as well.
      I love the words of John 16:33 (AMP), “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” Amazing!

    • Jenny Stricklin says:

      Thanks, friend 🙂 I’ve come to learn that a hidden story limits the glory God gets. I want to maximize that as much as possible! HOpe ya’ll are well! Much love!

  2. Sarah Marden says:

    “my Hudson has the incredible privilege to be a conduit of the supernatural, life-giving, wonder-working power of the Living God.”

    Amen! Love your way with words.

  3. Tami Lenning says:

    AHHHHH! God is so good and you are making Him look good to so many as you share your testimony of His work in your life!!
    We have prayed much for your family’s journey and are privileged to share in bringing Him glory by spreading your testimony.
    Much love, thankfulness and continued prayers always!!

    • Jenny Stricklin says:

      Tammy, so so thankful for your prayers along the way! Truly believe we wouldn’t be where we are without the many who have interceded for us! He hears!

  4. Nathan Short says:

    Amen speak the truth ms Jenny I understand a lot of this I have autism as well and I have something called epilepsy so I understand quite a lot your kid Hudson will go very far in life God has a great and incredible plan for his life may God get the glory and may your son and family get the joy

    • Jenny Stricklin says:

      Nathan, thank you for sharing! And I love how you put it: God gets the glory and we get the joy. Amen! Blessings to you too!

  5. Debbie Beasley says:

    Jenny, thank you for sharing your joy in your creator! I am a preschool director at a church and work very hard to make our area a place parents with autistic/special needs children feel comfortable leaving their children. It is always a learning experience and I can never be reminded enough that each of us are God’s special creation and our worth in His eyes is priceless. May God continue to bless you and your family and may you continue to share with others the power in trusting Jesus!

    • Jenny Stricklin says:

      Debbie, I’m so thankful for people like you who are intentionally seeking to include and care for these special kiddos (and parents!). Seriously, it makes a world of difference, for a parent like me to be sure that my son’s caregivers realize his value! Thank you for what you do!

  6. Polly Knight says:

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful testimony of your faith. Your son is absolutely adorable and I love the “super hero” picture. Thank you for reminding all of us the opportunity we have to display HIS “super power” in whatever our circumstance may be. May our sweet Jesus continue to bless you and your family!

  7. Kerwin & Johnnie Pruitt says:

    Jenny – Thank you for your blog! We love knowing that God could have chosen anyone to be the parents of Hudson, but He chose you and B.J. We are so proud of you, B. J. and Hudson. May God bless you and others thru this blog!

  8. Amanda Parsons says:

    Jenny your sweet mom shares your post with me yesterday. I read the first could of lines and had to put it away as my eyes welled up with tears as I remember that familiar ache in my heart. I had to wait til it was just me and God alone to read the rest. Thank you for the reminder to be standards of Christ and not standards of this world. One of the most profound statements for me was stated by you in one of your comments. That not sharing a story can’t give God glory. You know that is something I struggle with. It’s such a personal, at times painful story to tell. Thank you for giving me courage by sharing your own. We now have a new mountain ahead of us that actually makes me say that if Drew tests negative for this next diagnosis…I will actually say thank you Lord that he only has autism. Never thought the day would come that I would get to that point. Of appreciating the autism. (Your mom can fill you in on what we are facing now…prayers greatly appreciated). I needed your words this week! Thank you again …(and happy birthday by the way!) :0)

    • Jenny Stricklin says:

      Oh Amanda! Definitely felt a wave of emotions reading this… I fully know what you mean and the heartache involved in experiencing much less exposing these kinds of difficulties. Praying with you for a firm resolve and confirmation of God’s purposes in our little men. You are a blessing to me!!

  9. Elizabeth Ricci says:

    Jenny I could not have asked for a better affirmation to my working with special needs children. I passed my church on my daily car ride to a special needs pre-school. As I passed the church I would hook my arm and say: “Okay Jesus what challenges are in store for us today!” I enjoyed the children and their wanting to learn. We had much fun. One of the last children I had was labeled autistic. His parents were doing a great job with him. He was on a casein and gluten free diet. and she let us know about the diet so we would not accidentally give him anything he was avoiding. She also participated in having the children make individual blocks for a hanging quilt we later presented to the director of the school. When we were at the orientation for his entrance into a public school kindergarten, his parents were told in later years he may not even be considered autistic. For a while I was on FB with his mother up to his second grade. He was involved in his church and cub scouts. There was one video his mother posted when he was in a mall trampoline and his tied to a bundy cord. To hear his mother’s excitement in his accomplishment was wonderful to hear.

Leave a Reply