It’s not easy for a single mother to raise a son. It’s even more difficult when that son has autism.
Emily Colson can attest to that. Her husband walked out when their son Max was just 18-months-old, saying he couldn’t handle the stress.
And there was a lot of stress. Max’s autism was so severe that, for a time, Emily couldn’t leave home with him – not to the grocery store, not to friends’ houses, not to church. Max couldn’t make it through an entire day at school or dinner at a restaurant. At night, he would only sleep for an hour or two. Emily was so exhausted she’d put Max to bed, sit in a rocking chair next to him, and stare through the darkness at the wall.
It’s been quite a journey for Emily and Max. Although Emily couldn’t take him to church when he was a child, he’s now an adult and serves as a greeter every Sunday. Reaching that level of development hasn’t been easy. Max worked hard. So did Emily. Raising him stretched her faith and taught her to look deeper than Max’s physical and mental capabilities.
That’s a valuable lesson for all of us. Emily’s father, the late Chuck Colson, once said on our program that much of our culture has accepted the idea that a person’s worth is defined by their usefulness and their ability to contribute to society. That diminishes the worth of those with special needs like Max. They have eternal value, regardless of their “usefulness.” To see it, we have to look at others through God’s eyes.
We’re airing a talk from Emily on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Seeing God Through My Son’s Autism.” Emily shares how God “showed up” in her struggles as a single mom of a son with autism.
Faith, Emily says, is not just about God rescuing us from our difficulties. It’s about something greater: discovering our inherent worth as human beings created in His image.
Emily Colson is a popular speaker, and the author of the award-winning book, “Dancing with Max.” Emily speaks in churches and organizations nationwide.