Springtime is upon us, and flowers are blooming. Spring is a wonderful time to make changes in our lives. As the sun and rain reinvigorate God’s creation this April, let us count our blessings and realize that God wants us to be blooming flowers — unfolding under His grace, love and spiritual beauty, as we are conformed more and more to the character of His Son Jesus.
We all have the potential to be dazzling flowers — waiting to break out and flourish for everyone to see. One such dazzling flower is my 19 year-old daughter KaShaye. She’s an active soldier of the St. Louis Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC), and known as the “Daughter of the House.” She is a special girl who is moderately autistic. Statistics say that one in a hundred children today have autism. We never thought one of our five kids would be affected by this condition. Nonetheless, she is one multi-colored flower, bright, carefree and affectionate. Those who know her agree.
When she was 2, we noticed that her communication skills were not like those of our other children. After testing by the school system revealed that she had autism, we feared she would never blossom. But we accepted it and raised her just like our other children. Our faith was tested, as we thought we had done something wrong. We even blamed God, questioning why He would give us an autistic child.
Just last year KaShaye played Special Olympics basketball, and made the high school honor roll. She loves listening to music, especially gospel music, and reading books. She visited China last year. Becoming a world traveler has always been one of her dreams.
Recently Kashaye was admitted to the hospital and given four pints of blood. Our flower seemed to be withering, but we had faith. God’s healing hand and the prayerful love of others helped restore her.
If you have a special needs child, know that God does not make mistakes. Trust Him with all your heart and love your child with the same love that God has for His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Here are thoughts that have helped us see our KaShaye blossom. I pray they will encourage you.
- Treat your special children no differently than other children.
- Tell them that they are special in your sight and in God’s.
- Be patient with them as God is patient with you.
- Get them involved with other children.
- Pray with them and for them. Encourage them to have faith in God and themselves.
- Find out their interests and lovingly push them to achieve their goals.
- Keep them involved in some type of daily routine, which will encourage structure.
Like our darling KaShaye, let us live life with beauty, not for ourselves, but for others, as we serve and love dearly. I guarantee you that someday you will see someone special to you bloom into a great flower created by God, our eternal gardener. He is the endless giver of spiritual rain and heavenly sunshine, and is our source of knowledge and wisdom.
By Major K. Kendall Mathews