Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Listen Up!

Last Sunday at church, I had breakfast with a few of my fellow worshipers. If ever I was inclined to feel self-conscious about having an autism diagnosis, this was not the day. 

Why? Because although there were just five of us eating together, I do not think the other four managed to complete one thought without  interrupting and talking loudly over each other. It wasn't quite a screaming match, but it was close.

I struggle with interrupting and listening well, too, but not to the degree that I observed. And given that all were educated adults with the exception of one person (a young teen), I think maybe it's not just autistic people who need to be concerned with learning social skills. 

Listening well is probably one of the most important abilities a human being can have. This skill communicates love in a way no other can. My prayer is that all of us, autistic or not, will be motivated to fine tune our hearts and ears to the voices of others and find those people more interesting than we find ourselves. 

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry... ~James 1:19

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sound Sleep At Last!

When I was a baby, I never slept like one. And as I grew, getting a good night's sleep became more of a miracle than a normal, everyday occurrence. For most of my life, I walked around in a fog, chronically exhausted. 

For autistic people, sleep is a rare commodity. For me, the lack of it kept me from living a healthy and involved life, so in March I wondered if an extended period of prayer might help bring this problem to an end. 

I prayed for three days and nights. I asked the Lord to heal me as well as give me wisdom as to why I could not sleep. To my surprise I received a number of answers (Oh me of little faith to not really expect them!). 

It turns out that my insomnia did not have one single cause! But here are some reasons why getting some shut eye was so difficult:

  • A melatonin deficiency AND taking melatonin incorrectly to combat that problem.
  • Dreams from the Lord! They were so wonderful, I was waking myself up in order to remember and understand them.
  • Exposure to too much light after 7 pm.
  •  Recurring noise.
  • My body was either too hot or too cold for a good night's sleep. 
For me, the inability to sleep was a stronghold. During sleep is when the healing of our bodies and our emotions take place. The enemy did not want me to rest because he did not want me to heal on such a deep level. 

You may be asking about the recurring noise. Well, I just had odd experiences with smoke alarms with no batteries going off, phone calls to a wrong number (mine) in the middle of the night, and extremely loud, nocturnal neighbors to name a few things. On nights when I couldn't be any more exhausted and was actually sound asleep, this is only when the noise occurred. Once I woke up I could not go back to sleep.

When this happens--when you see a pattern to things and there is no normal explanation for the occurrence--generally there is a spiritual battle going on, which takes prayer to discern and to defeat.

Essentially my insomnia turned out to have emotional, physical, and spiritual roots. Some solutions involved prayer and even spiritual warfare (which is how I got rid of the noise). Others involved a change in routine, and sometimes I just had to reeducate myself about things I thought I already knew (how to take melatonin). 

But I did the work, and since March I have slept through almost every night. I am so happy! Insomnia is supposed to be incurable and a terrible problem for autistic people but again, prayer changes things, and we need to push through until we see a difference. Change is always possible and is to be expected when we pray. 

This is a long post, but I have met so many people who tell me they've heard from God that their child will be healed and they think the word alone is enough to bring about that healing. Sometimes it is, but many times it actually isn't. 

He speaks life into us to draw us closer to Himself. Always. If you hear God intends to heal you or your child, start praying. Pray for wisdom, pray for answers, pray for God to uncover hidden wounds in your life, praise Him with your prayers. Just pray. You will be amazed where your words to Him take you because when you speak He responds.

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. 

~Jeremiah 33:3