And true confession: When I have a few minutes of down time, I’m more apt to be found staring at my phone than I am to breathe deeply and enjoy the quiet time. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 doesn’t say scroll without ceasing, but I often live like it does.
One of the many blessings my youngest son, Luke, who has autism and is nonverbal, has brought me is this: He helps me slow down and live in the present. It’s ironic because Luke loves to be on the go; he does a lot of pacing and running plus he is really fast! But his chill-out time and really his whole attitude toward life is living in and for the moment.
Luke was home for a weeklong visit not long ago and after we jumped on the trampoline in our backyard, he plopped down to play with his beloved beads. I sat down next to him and we sat in the sunshine for TWO hours just being together with him occasionally putting his foot on top of mine and me rubbing his back from time to time. It was wonderful. It slowed down my mind that is often full of ideas and to-do lists.
Another time he and I were staying overnight at a hotel and he started crying and banged his head a couple times, which he does when his senses are overloaded or something upsets him. I wasn’t sure this time what was causing him distress. He put a blanket over his whole body, including his head, and I gave him some space but sat on the bed a few feet away saying repeatedly, “It’s OK. You’re OK.” He calmed a bit, so I came closer. His right foot came out from under the blanket and I started rubbing it. Whenever I stopped the massage, he moved his foot closer to my hand and I knew that meant “keep going, Mom.” It was a precious few minutes and helped both of us feel better.
We so need this slowing down of our minds, hearts and feet. This is one of the blessings I have unexpectedly found from my family being impacted by disability. It helps me stop scrolling, hear from the Lord, and pray without ceasing like 1 Thessalonians 1:5 really instructs me to do.
Besides being a writer and one of the authors of the book, Life on the Spectrum, Debbie Abbs has worked for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for 25 years. She loves getting to the be the mom of her two boys, Brandon and Luke, as well as being married to her cop husband, Mike. To read more from Deborah Abbs, and her co-writers, learn more at www.lifeonthespectrumbook.com. Their book,
Life on the Spectrum, can be purchased at https://www.