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 both. 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 control himself through an entire day at school or dinner at a restaurant. At night, he would only sleep for an hour or two. Caring for Max exhausted Emily so much that she’d put him to bed, sit in a rocking chair next to him, and stare through the darkness, too tired to sleep.
Max is now an adult and has come a long way. Whereas Emily couldn’t take him to church as a child, he now serves as a greeter every Sunday. To reach that level of development, Max worked hard. So did Emily. Raising him stretched her faith and taught her to look beyond Max’s physical and mental capabilities to see his deeper value.
Emily’s father, the late Chuck Colson, once said on our Focus on the Family Broadcast 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. Such shallow beliefs diminish the worth of those with special needs like Max. To see their eternal value – which exists in full measure regardless of their “usefulness” – we must see people through the eyes of God.
Emily believes faith is not ultimately about God rescuing us from our difficulties. It’s about discovering through our struggles our inherent worth as human beings created in His image.
Emily is sharing her inspiring message of faith, hope, and love on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Seeing God Through My Son’s Autism.” Hear her recorded talk on your local radio station, online, on Apple Podcasts, via Google Podcasts, or take us with you on our free phone app.
Emily Colson speaks in churches and organizations nationwide and is the author of the award-winning book Dancing with Max: A Mother and Son Who Broke Free, which is available for a gift of any amount. Click here for more information or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).