J. J. LeVan
Welcome To My Table.
Updated: Feb 17
It was almost 7 pm and no one had arrived yet for our Thursday night Bible Study. The kids were all nestled in bed, the house was cleaner, and I sat alone. All week, I had been anxiously waiting to be encouraged by our gathering. The closer the clock moved toward 7, the more disappointed I became, as one by one, members of our small group called to say that they were not going to be able to attend the meeting in our home.
"Nobody's coming," I whispered to myself.
I sat at the dining room table in silence. I opened my study notes to review them on my own. The words began to blur on the pages.
The diagnosis of Autism for our oldest son was still very fresh at the table. The mountain of paperwork and information had begun to pour in. The waves of emotion and overwhelm had made it hard to breathe and my heart felt like it had been ripped from my chest. The one thing that seemed to make it beat again, was that small group of prayer support that had come alongside us. I was hanging on by a very fine thread.
Until 7:03 pm.
I bowed my head. Staring closely at the once mighty oak's woodgrain, I felt defeated. The utter madness of the week, the child that I felt was lost to some "neurodiverse monster," and the newly required demands were taking an enormous toll. Everything in life had changed, seemingly, in an instant. The disconnected rambling began:
“Lord, I don’t know what I’m doing. I NEEDED this study tonight. They aren’t coming and I’m left here alone. I was just trying to do the right thing, but I am lost. I am just lost.”
I couldn't breathe.
“He is gone…he’s GONE. He is in his ‘own little world’ and I don’t know how to reach him. He can’t speak. He won’t look at me. He won’t let me touch him. He doesn’t seem to understand a single word that I say to him. Save this child! Spare him, please. I cannot understand all of these pamphlets and services and therapies and doctors. I just want to help him. Where are you? I need help! I can’t do all this! I’m not good at this stuff!” The frantic had overtaken me.
“Don’t you see me? Don’t you hear me?” Hot tears were flowing. Broken. Into a million pieces, I felt broken. I began to weep.
“I have a child….,” a voice infused. I was suddenly surrounded by an unfamiliar, warm embrace. I stilled.
“I have a child, and she won’t listen to Me, she won’t look at Me, and she won’t speak to Me…she’s in her own little world…” Time seemed to stand still, as I was being held in my Amish oak chair by Love.
“I want to guide her and lead her, but it’s like she’s not even listening.” And then it was over. I collapsed onto the table and sobbed.
It was me. He was talking about me. Was I some spiritually autistic daughter? No. For I had chosen to focus on the confusion and the overwhelm. I had been so distracted by the diagnosis, that made it impossible for me to hear His voice, to see His plan. But He caused me to understand how He longed for me to choose Him, as my encourager and my guiding Father.
I leafed my way to a verse in Isaiah that, at that time, I had not seen before: “I’d never forget you—never. Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16
That night at the table changed everything.
Since then, I have certainly been challenged by many distractions. Yet by His Grace, I have come to learn that diagnosis is not some kind of tragic end, but the beginning of an epic adventure with the Lord.