Another answer to prayer is seeing my son’s ability to laugh, smile, and experience joy restored. Some of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder for my son USED to cause him to have what is called flat affect – not only was his face blank and emotionless, but he couldn’t properly decipher my facial expressions. When he looked at me, he saw either happy or angry.
For example, if I wasn’t smiling, used to incorrectly interpret that as I was angry, often wrongly assuming I was angry at him.
Or if I was utterly exhausted, which is often the case when caring for someone with the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, he would interpret it once again that I was mad. There was no in between. To him I was either happy or angry. (Blaming only the symptoms here, not my child. A child is not a disorder or the symptoms it causes).
It. Was. Horrible.
This caused much disorder, chaos, confusion, and LACK of peace in our relationship and interactions. And we know by the Word that God is NOT the Author of disorder [confusion, chaos, etc.] but of peace (1 Cor 14:33).
Now in the past, hallelujah, it was excruciating for me and my personality type to perpetually stifle my joy and laughter as the symptoms of autism caused my son to HATE when I laughed, made jokes, etc. Laughter and joy agitated and angered him.
The symptoms of this DISORDER caused him to be utterly serious, joyless, and miserable. It was miserable for me to have to hold back who God made me to be. This disorder caused a type of captivity/imprisonment for me too.
If my son did something I found funny, even if unintentionally, I was “not allowed” to laugh because this disorder caused him to get extremely angry and offended. Agitation and offense enough to cause him to melt down. As I mentioned in another post, I used to live my life walking on eggshells not knowing what would set my son off into a house destroying rage or marathon meltdown. 100% not of God to live this way.
Anything that seemed like I was laughing at him was a huge “no, no” and could send him either into a rage or crying or whining meltdowns.
To say this was agonizing is putting it mildly as I am one who intentionally pursues joy and laughter, who loves to laugh out loud, no holding back, head thrown back, in unbridled childlike laugh out loud joy. I had to stuff who I am down which is not of God and not healthy.
God created us to laugh out loud, no holding back. I am NOT one who believes that becoming born again = becoming serious. Or that holiness before God = seriousness and being solemn. I know that I know we will be laughing in heaven with Jesus like the image bearers of God featured in the photos of this post.
I have a relationship with God the Father, not a religion with God the Father, and I daily tell him humorous comments to tickle His funny bone, and He in turn has spoken many humorous things to me over the years that has made me laugh out loud. Sometimes He points out things about myself, causing me to laugh AT myself – all in love, not in condemnation.
The ANSWER to my many prayers…
I had cried out to God that I wanted to enjoy laughing WITH my son. My heart grieved that I was unable to experience laughter and joy with him because of how autism spectrum disorder affected him. The power of Jesus’ Word and stripes has changed this for us.
We have been laughing together. Recently, he’s done funny things, and we were able to laugh together, including AT him (e.g. when he accidentally spit milk all over himself and the kitchen floor).
In the past, my laughing AT him for something that’s funny and not harmful would have been off limits. He would have literally cried like a child as if I was hurting his feelings (all the way up to age 19 we went through this. It was a nightmare).
The other day when he spit the milk all over himself by mistake, we laughed soooooooooooooooooo hard, out loud, unbridled together for several minutes like little children before God the Father.
It was AMAZING!
His eyes sparkled with joy, face crinkled up in full on unrelenting laughter. I was beyond happy and praised God when it all hit me a little while later. I’m the first person to laugh at MYSELF when I do something silly. For me to be able to laugh AT him like this is a miracle restoration by Jesus in my son!
All glory to Jesus, who IS the Word made flesh, whose name is Healer and Faithful and True!
Why satan uses disorders to rob children of their ability to laugh, enjoy laughing with others, and express emotions…
“A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones,” (Proverbs 17:22).
I’ve read testimonies where people have used laughter as part of their healing journey, going from severe “incurable” disease to totally healed.
“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,
But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken,” (Proverbs 15:33).
It was NOT God’s will for my son to be robbed of a “cheerful countenance for by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” Sorrow of the heart is a good way to describe the flat affect my son was HEALED from by Jesus’ stripes.
Not only that but when I looked into his eyes (if he let me), it was like I couldn’t “reach” him if this makes sense. His eyes USED to be empty and vacant, like we wasn’t there, but now he’s there and more and more “present” than ever.
It was heartbreaking to see my child in this state as a mama. But glory to God, “weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning,” (Ps. 35:5).
“All the days of the afflicted are evil,
But he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast,” (Proverbs 15:15).
With certainty, not being able to express joy and laughter and even worse being opposed to it because of the disorder, was definitely a type of affliction that was evil.
God created us to experience joy and laughter with one another, to be able to take the “medicine” of laughter and a merry heart to bring healing to our bodies. Without it, the bones dry up He says, and it shows up on the face.
Glory to God! More evidence of my son’s healing through his laughter (and ours) being restored by the One who restores health by His stripes!
More image bearers of God taking some merry heart medicine!…….
I pray these images made you smile and released God’s medicine of laughter into your body.