The Unexpected Obstacle (Part 2 of 2)

Written by Janet Kibler

Edited by Becky Tankersley

Some people may skeptically raise their eyebrows at the mention of healing. But I believe what the Bible says about the power of Christ to heal. I myself was miraculously and instantaneously healed at the age of 13 after battling depression and OCD for years. My mind has been free from the prison of dark and obsessive thoughts from that day until now, so I know now nothing is impossible for God.

It took us about six weeks to get through all of the insurance and paperwork to set up early intervention, but before that even began, Braxton started to do very surprising things. The entries in my calendar went from one or two new things a week to dozens and dozens of observations a day-words spoken, changes in play, reduction in repetitive behaviors, and more. When therapy began, imagine my surprise as we discovered that all the work I had been doing with Braxton closely resembled Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy! ABA is considered THE most effective treatment for children on the spectrum. Over and over, therapists made suggestions and handed me sheets of activities and I would say, “Oh, I’ve been doing that already!” I believe God gave me supernatural wisdom and put those ideas in my mind. He gave Braxton a jumpstart on recovery!

Braxton kept making rapid progress. My calendar was crammed full of new and exciting signs in teeny tiny writing to get it all to fit, but strangely, I kept battling disappointment. I think I truly was expecting to wake up one morning, peer into the crib, and find God had completely healed him overnight. I struggled to trust in the Lord’s ways. At one point I threw up my hands and said to myself, “Okay, it just is what it is and I’m going to have to accept that!” That very Sunday as our pastor was praying to open the service, he felt the Lord give him a word for someone in the congregation. He said that someone was discouraged with a situation and had decided it is what it is, but God was saying “It is what I say it’s going to be.” I sat up very straight in my seat after that. The Lord revealed to me this was going to be a stitch-by-stitch deal and I needed to decide right then whether to trust in Him even when the situation wasn’t looking so good. I marvel at His mercy in picking me up and putting me back on the path of faith even when I was ignoring all of the amazing things we were seeing in Braxton.

Looking back, one of the most wonderful things about facing this obstacle has been how God revealed his character to me, how he gave me scriptures to address my worries, and sent people to speak words of encouragement just at the right moment. Jesus is intimately acquainted with our sufferings and wants us to know how deeply he cares for us.

At a critical moment in my journey,  I began to go over and over in my mind what happened, and tried to figure out if there was something I had done (or hadn’t done) that caused Braxton’s condition. I was burdened down with feelings of guilt, wondering if I should have spotted something earlier, or fed him a special diet from the beginning knowing my family history. I asked Jamie over and over if he thought the changes we observed coincided with any vaccinations he was given. Should I have paid more attention to him instead of leaving him to his own devices during the first trimester of my second pregnancy? I was making myself nuts, no question about it. Out of the blue, a good friend texted me. Our conversation  went something like this:

Friend: I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but God has been putting something on my heart to tell you. He wants me to say, “Remember, it’s not your fault.”

Me: (crying a little) Wow! Just yesterday I wished I could know for sure that it wasn’t something I had done to cause Braxton’s condition. God was spying on my thoughts! Well…obviously.

Friend: Oh good! I didn’t want to sound crazy!

It amazes me how God knew my thoughts and cared too much to let me stay in that place of negativity. He wanted to set me free so I could continue to move forward and see all the marvelous things he was going to do. The reason I’m sharing my testimony is because the Lord spoke to me and asked me to begin giving Him the glory now, before seeing the completion of the work. My task is to “declare the victory while triumph is still on its way”. It’s a huge risk. I could very well end up looking foolish, but I feel this is what God is asking me to do. This is my act of faith.

The journey with Braxton continues. We have watched his repetitive behaviors disappear one by one. He has gone from signing to telling us jokes and enjoying saying his bedtime prayers. We have seen him go from complete indifference to hugging his little sister when she cries. I see a charming little boy with a giant smile and a very well-developed sense of humor. I cried when he asked Jesus into his heart and again as I stood beside him during his baptism and heard his simple profession of faith.

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This journey has become an amazing gift. I’m not sure when it went from an obstacle to a springboard for my faith, but it has. I am privileged be Braxton’s mom and see life from his unique point of view. I have been given deep insights into the character of God and His unfathomable love for me and my family. The very notion of writing this story was born of the revelation of God’s love for each and every mother and the challenges we all face. God has asked me to be a part of sharing His love with you. What an amazing thing!

I can tell you with certainty each one of you has a special place in the heart of God. He is concerned about your hurts and struggles and the thoughts that weigh you down. He longs to speak into your life as specifically as He has spoken into mine. If you will let Him, He will walk beside you every step of the way and help shoulder the load.