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Fighting for Joy as a Special Needs Parent

Fighting for Joy as a Special Needs Parent

Describing how his world was turned upside down when his son was diagnosed with severe autism, Jason Hague talks about living with a broken heart and seemingly unanswered prayer, and shares lessons he's learned about the challenges and joys of parenting a special needs child while relying on God for strength and hope.
Original Air Date: April 13, 2021

John Fuller: Let me ask you to take a second to think about maybe an unanswered prayer that you have, when you’ve asked God for what seems to be a really difficult, impossible situation and you’re waiting for His answer. Um, how do you keep, uh, staying with Him? How do you believe He’s truly good, even though He seems silent? We’re gonna take kind of a deep dive into answering that question today, especially when it comes to your parenting. This is Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, it’s so true. If you wanna improve your prayer life, uh, have children. Right?

John: Yes. (laughs)-

Jim: In so many directions. And, uh, today, we’re gonna talk about that challenge from time to time, how it doesn’t go the way we want it to go. We pray to God. We don’t, seemingly, see the answers according to our agenda. And yet, um, you know, we’ve gotta go through this struggle and this battle with the Lord to say, “What’s going on? And are you really there?” And I think people today are gonna be blessed by our guest.

John: I would agree, Jim. And as you know and many of our audience members might know, we have a special needs son and he’s presented a lot of prayer opportunities, if you will, and there’s been a lot of progress, but there also have been a lot of difficult moments and we have been praying for healing for a long, long time, and from what I understand from the book, I’m really looking forward to this conversation, especially in light of, uh, this month, April, being autism awareness month. And our guest is Jason Hague. Uh, he and his wife Sarah have five children, ages, uh, eight to 18. And you’re gonna be hearing quite a bit today about one of those children in particular: Their 14-year-old son named Jack, who has autism. And, uh, Jason is an associate pastor and author. His book is called Aching Joy: Following God Through the Land of Unanswered Prayer. And, of course, we’ve got that book right here to help you. Uh, and just give us a call and we’ll send a copy to you: 800-A-FAMILYor stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Jason, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Jason Hague: Thank you so much for having me.

Jim: That was quite a set up. You’re gonna deliver, though, through experience, I know. Um, you know about pain firsthand in this regard, asking for a miracle and feeling like God’s answer is either no or, uh, I can’t hear you. What does that feel like?

Jason: Uh, it’s hard. (laughs). It’s hard. You know, I- I, uh- I grew up not having experienced any kind of crisis, really. Um, you know, my parents were in full-time ministry. I was blessed on all sides. And I had a couple of daughters, they were healthy, things were going great, and- and I had all these aspirations for my son, uh, when he was born. I had all these visions of what our relationship was gonna be like. Uh, and for the first couple years, it looked like it was gonna be like that, and then he regressed. He lost his vocabulary; he lost his ab- his ability to- to really communicate with us and to connect with us.

Jim: You know, Jason, I- I want to slow that down a little bit-

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: Because that’s emotional.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, for people to hear that. And to come from a- a family that was really stable, you guys went to church growing up, it sounds like you knew there was … or maybe assumed there’s kind of a formula here. I mean, you live all the formulaic approaches, you pray together, you go to church together, you, you know, kind of don’t do the things you shouldn’t do in school. It sounds like you were that kinda kid.

Jason: Absolutely.

Jim: And- and here’s the big question, this if-then statement. If, Lord-

Jason: Right.

Jim: I do all these things well and I honor you, then, uh, you bless me.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: And that means you don’t give me any ripples in life, and everything goes easy and I’ll be really happy. But it’s not that way.

Jason: No. I mean, I grew up singing. I- I’m inside, outside, upside, downside happy all the time. You know? And that’s one of the things you sing in Sunday Sch- … you know, so I- I- I think it- it wasn’t a spoken expectation, but it was the sort of expectation that, yeah, if I follow the Lord, things are gonna be easy. And it’s just proven that’s not true.

John: Hmm.

Jim: And so here you’re a father of two healthy daughters, you’re moving along, your-

John: Yeah.

Jim: Son is born, Jack is born. And he gets the diagnosis, I would assume, uh, at an early age.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, it was moderate autism. Then he digressed and it became more severe. You had a night, I think, you and Sarah probably together where you just threw your hands up and decided, “I’m not praying for a miracle anymore.” Talk about that evening, that night when you got to that point.

Jason: There was- we- there was a church conference and, uh, we were- we were there with a bunch of our church staff and there was a man who invited all of those who, um, you know, parents of special needs children to come forward. And I didn’t wanna come forward, because this- you know, a few years had gone by and I had prayed and prayed for, you know, i- i- initially for a miracle, initially for this grand breakthrough. And- and as I wasn’t seeing that, I sorta lowered my- my level of expectation. Um, and so I didn’t wanna go forward. I’m like, I’m good, everything’s fine. You know? And- and when I went forward, the man who prayed for me, he just- he just said, “Lord, bring breakthrough.” And when he said that word, I just fell apart, because I realized, you know, I’ve got unfinished business with God here. I’m still holding on to- uh, to disappointment. I’m still holding onto these dreams that I desperately wanna connect with my son. And- and I realize, man, I- I’ve got more work to do in my own heart and- and getting honest with God.

Jim: For those that, uh, maybe don’t have much insight into autism-

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: Why don’t you describe that for the listeners? Uh, what is autism?

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: What is Jack’s situation? John, you can pitch in there, because, uh, Zane also has autism.

Jason: Yeah. Well, there’s- there’s a common, uh, uh, saying that if you- if you meet one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism. So, there’s- there- it really is a spectrum. Um, children with autism deal with, um, sensory issues, sensory overload. Um, and then it leads to- to, um, you know, various things that socially sometimes can be very disconnected. Communication can be, uh- can be difficult. So, I- I’m not an expert on autism, but what it looks like in Jack is, uh, he’s 14 years old and he’s, uh- he’s non-verbal. He has a handful of phrases that he uses. Um, he deals with very high anxiety, um, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, um, as well as seizures. Um, so that- that concoction, um, of- of difficulties, that- that- that makes life really difficult-

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: For- for him, um, and he goes through a lot. He really has to fight tooth and nail, I think, um, to be understood, um, and- and to- to thrive.

John: Yeah, you really have to dial in to be a student of your child if-

Jason: Yes.

John: They’re on the spectrum, because it is so difficult. There’s not a manual that says X, Y, Z.

Jason: Right.

John: There’s no formula, back to your point, Jim. And so, you- you- you mentioned connection when you went down for prayer.

Jason: Yeah.

John: Um, obviously some of that was manifesting itself and you were not able to talk with or communicate well-

Jason: Right.

John: Or hear Jack very well, is that right?

Jason: That’s absolutely right. I think over time, you know what, initially, you’re- I was crying out for the big miracle. You know, like suddenly, we’re just gonna have this long, deep conversation and be able to talk about Star Wars and theology and all these things. And I- as I stopped sort of … I- I backed away from that a little more and then started praying for connection. Lord, just let us be able to connect. Let him understand us. Let him get our relationship, our thing. Um, and, uh, yeah, that’s- that- that became the- the focus of my prayer.

Jim: You know, in so many ways, uh, being a father and, again, for those just coming in, you have two daughters, your son is born, there is a special connection there between a father and a son, typically, and you end up developing, you know, high aspirations. Uh, if you played sports, you probably, like I did, I thought both my boys would be football players. I mean, Trent is like 6’6″, 210, he would’ve been a great, uh, whatever. But he just didn’t have the desire to do it. So, I have those what I guess you might call normal father expectations. You know, we put ’em in Pop Warner and did all that and finally he came to me after ninth grade and said, “I don’t really like playing football.” And I had to, you know, pull that back and say, “Oh, okay, what do you enjoy doing?” I remember the first time I got a phone call, he won an award, and I was like, “Awesome, what was it?” In elementary school. It was the chess club.

Jason: Oh wow.

Jim: And he had won (laughs)-

Jason: (laughs)-

Jim: An award there and, you know, that’s great, but it was different from my experience.

Jason: Hmm.

Jim: Parlay that into your situation with Jack again, uh, those goals and those ideals, and then how y- you did have to ratchet down, obviously. How did you manage all that disappointment and then new expectations?

Jason: Yeah, that was a long process. I mean, I- I realized I had to- to just- to give them up, sort of. To let them go. Not- not to destroy them. But, you know, I feel like, y- are- you know, in my book, I talked about our expectations are like propaganda films running in our head.

Jim: Huh.

Jason: Um, and we- you know, where they come from, I- I don’t know. Culture, um, dreams, I don’t know. Um, but, uh, uh, we- we can’t necessarily do anything about them. They’re- they’re running there and then when something goes amiss, you know, life takes a different turn, it’s a matter of, okay, I ha- I have to completely recalibrate, because none of that is happening. So now what do I do? That was a long process.

Jim: Let’s move to, though, where Jack’s diagnosis went from moderate to severe and you had other things going on in your life. I’m not sure where your wife Sarah was at-

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: In that moment, but you began to fall into a depression?

Jason: Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: What was going on?

Jason: Well, you know, I had Jack’s diagnosis and- and my- my other son, Sam, was born with a- a heart defect that required open heart surgery, um, as a- as a young baby.

Jim: And is he doing okay?

Jason: He’s doing great now.

Jim: Okay. Good.

Jason: Yeah. He’s doing great.

Jim: Right.

Jason: Um, but at the time, we weren’t sure what was gonna happen.

Jim: Right.

Jason: You know? And then we also had a dear, dear friend and ministry partner that was diagnosed with- with breast cancer at the time and- and we just knew this time she’s not gonna make it.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jason: They- they knew they couldn’t treat it. So, it- I- I- basically, I went from having this really privileged, um, you know, growing up of Christian parents, everything great, no crisis, to three crisis at once. So, the- you know, that trifecta really knocked me off my feet for a while. And, uh- and I- I grew distant and numb and not knowing how to, uh, relate with the Lord, um, and not knowing how to relate with my- with my son, and then with my other kids. Like it- I- I just became really distant in that time and it was- it took a long time, lots of conversations with my senior pastor, of just sort of drawing out the sadness and helping me to acknowledge what was there, um, to not jump to the right answer, but to acknowledge where I was right then-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jason: To deal with those things-

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: One at a time.

John: Yeah, our guest today on Focus on the Family with Jim Daly is Jason Hague. He’s written this terrific book, Aching Joy: Following God Through the Land of Unanswered Prayer. Um, certainly we would encourage you to get a copy from us here at Focus on the Family. Call us if we can be of any help to you. If you’re struggling, uh, in your relationship with God, if- if what Jason has shared about being honest with God, about your disappointments and hurts, is something that you’re just really wrestling with, let us help. Our number is 800 the letter A and the word FAMILY. Uh, you can get the book online as well, and that’s at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Jason, you mentioned this again, but I- I really want to explore this for the benefit of the listener. Um, there was a night when you finally kinda said, “I’m gonna let God have it.”

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: Describe that. Because, again, it’s very therapeutic for those that are going through a variety of issues, they’re upset with the Lord, they’re holding back. You know-

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: They think it’s disrespectful. What happened for you that day where you cut loose?

Jason: I- I went to a beach, um, that there was never anybody at, and so I decided, all right, I’m gonna- I’m gonna go and I’m just gonna tell you everything that I think and that- that I feel. So I just marched up and down the beach and said, “Well, this is- I’m upset with you for this and this and this,” and, yeah, and I yelled and it was ugly and- and I didn’t even use nice words, I was just like, “Lord, here’s what I have,” and, uh- and just sorta gave it to him. And, like I say, there was no lightning that was struck. That’s the first thing. I’m still here. Um, and, uh- but one of the things I said to him that moment was like, “We followed you, Lord. Like, we have followed you. Like, what in the world, we’ve done what you’ve asked us to do and yet here we are.” And, uh- and- and I- I- I really think sometimes we have something against God, and even if it’s not- even if it’s not true or- or- or right, I- I think he desires that we- that we at least tell him. Like, he already sees it, right? And I think he’s-

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: Waiting for us to tell him, just would you just be honest about this thing, just give it to me, I’m a really big God, I’ve seen a lot harder cases than you. So, let’s just talk about it. And I think that was the first step to let’s talk about it. And it sorta set the tone for- for me of- of, uh- of being honest with God regularly and saying, “Okay, I’m not doing well today and I’m a little bit upset with you because I thought that things were going better here,” et cetera. And, uh- and so that’s been what I’ve tried to practice since then.

Jim: Yeah, and I- you know, I deeply appreciate it-

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: So much, because I think there are Christian leaders that try to project just a positivity-

Jason: Right.

Jim: Almost like they’re fearful to go here. But this is real. This is where it’s at. This is where people are aching. It’s nice to be aspirational, but people need help down there in the well when there’s not a ladder.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: You know, they need some perspective in their relationship with God to say, “H- how do I find a way out?”

Jason: Right.

Jim: And, you know, in some ways, embracing your circumstances, and then trusting God is really critical. There’s a, I thought, a really good moment. I think your family calls it the penguin incident.

Jason: (laughs)-

Jim: Um, this’ll bring a smile to people’s faces. So, let’s- let’s get a little dose of happiness here.

Jason: Well, like I say, I had- I had shifted the way I prayed from give me a miracle to let Jack understand our relationship, let him understand that when I’m taking him to school and holding his hand, like, it’s ’cause I love him. You know? Uh, uh, that when I’m running around tickling him, like, let- let him understand that he’s loved by me. Uh, and I- I just- I didn’t know if he did. But one day, my wife had- had called me at work and said- she said, “You’ve gotta come home. Jack got this book from the school library and he’s- you- he’s doing this thing. You’ve gotta come.” So I come home from work and here’s my son, lying on … you know, he’s totally- he’s non-verbal, no conceptual language ever, and he’s lying on his top bed with his legs crossed and he’s got this little, like a- a- a book for two and three years old, a board book. He- he was seven at the time. And it has these two penguins on it. And he’s laughing and laughing, and he says, “Come here, come here.” And I come over, I say, “Hey, bud, what’s you looking at?” He’s looking at this book and- and it- the- the picture has a big penguin and a little penguin and- and they’re holding fins. And it says, “I like it when you hold my hand.” And Jack points at the little penguin and the big one and says, “Jack and daddy”.

Jim: Huh.

John: Hmm.

Jason: And then he flips the page and it’s two penguins in the bathtub. Or the- the peng- the big one giving one a bath. And it says, “I like when we splash about.” And he says, “Jack and daddy”. And he’s laughing and page after page, it’s- it’s- it’s our life that he’s seeing.

Jim: It’s connecting.

Jason: And “Jack and daddy”. It’s connection. Right? And it was like he was telling me, dad, I totally get this. I get us. I understand our relationship.

Jim: Hmm.

Jason: He thinks it’s hilarious. He’s got this metaphor. I am crying my eyes out here.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: Um, and I- I think that moment changed everything for me. It changed everything. Um, and, uh- and I’ve known since then, he really does understand our relationship and he appreciates it.

Jim: Hmm.

John: Wow, I love what- what God did there. How did that moment give you so much hope? I mean, because that wasn’t what you were praying for.

Jim: Right.

John: Jason. I mean, you weren’t praying that he would just laugh at a penguin book.

Jason: Right.

John: Because he gets it. What was the deeper thing there?

Jason: Well, I guess I had alre- always been fixating on the big miracle, the big splash, the Red Sea opening up, right? And I was missing the things that God was doing on a daily basis.

John: Yeah.

Jason: Um, and my wife would see these things, or like she- she could see the little, you know, progressions and the little victories God was giving, um, and I was missing them. And that moment, I felt like God was opening my eyes, saying, “Look what I’m doing. Like, behold your son and- and behold the things I’m doing in your son.” And- and I think we desperately have to stop fixating on the big miracle sometimes and God saying, “Look at the things I’m actually doing, the little things along the way. You’re walking through the valley, but I’m giving you treasures in the valley and open your eyes to see them.”

Jim: Yeah.

John: Yeah, there’s kind of a twin track of prayer, at least in my experience, where I am praying the big miracle prayer.

Jason: Yeah.

John: I don’t stop praying that. But there’s a- a- kind of a parallel track where, to your point, help me see the little things that you’re doing, God, ’cause I know-

Jason: Yeah.

John: You’re working.

Jason: Yeah.

John: But the- it’s really hard to jump from track to track and to-

Jason: It is.

John: Keep ’em going at the same time.

Jason: I found I can’t stay in the place of like intense travail for … at least in this situation, there are times where you can. With Jack’s, I can’t, ’cause then I start fixating on the things that he’s not or, you know, where-

Jim: Can’t.

Jason: He’s not, ye- rather than where he’s actually actually and embracing where he’s actually at.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jason: And I- I- I think it’s good to be able to oscillate or to take times to step back, um, and just work with God in those moments.

Jim: Jason, I alluded to this in the setup, but ho- how do you reconcile then what you think about in Heaven?

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, none of us will be here forever, Jack included. And so how does that give you either peace or uncertainty?

Jason: One thing that gives me an immense amount of hope is that Jesus was so clear that the last will be first in Heaven.

Jim: Hmm.

Jason: And who … you know, I think of Jack and pe- and kids like him who have so often been last in our society, they’ve been cast off, they’ve been pushed back. I think they’re gonna be celebrated as rock stars in Heaven.

Jim: (laughs). That’s great.

Jason: I think they’re gonna be just highly honored, sitting at the head of the table. And when I think of Jack in Heaven, this is the only time, I was writing my book, I just cried my eyes out as I was imagining this, of him sitting at the head of a table, um, not- not held back by anything that he wants to be able to express. And us not being held back, either, from being able to understand him. Like, all of those- all of those barriers being removed-

Jim: Hmm.

Jason: And to see all the things that have been on his heart for all of these years. I can’t wait to see that.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Um, Jason, you write about in your book how this has deepened your faith, that when this first started, you thought, kind of faith-wise, you were in a good spot, that your faith was strong.

Jason: Right.

Jim: That’s how you described it, growing up in a Christian home, all of that. But the irony is that this unveiled some things for you where you realized you’re weak.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: That is powerful. Describe it.

Jason: Well, you know, when you haven’t been tested, I mean, everybody looks good in practice, right? Like (laughs)-

Jim: (laughs)-

Jason: Every football team, when they’re running routes-

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: And there’s no defense, you’re like, wow, this looks great.

Jim: Yeah, they’re catching every ball.

Jason: Right. And so that- that was me early on. And when I- when I had to face this, I came, you know, you’re right, I was weak, and I- I- I was afraid, actually, that I would completely fall apart. And God’s been so faithful to not let me completely fall apart, but to be broken enough to recognize my desperate need for him and to recognize my desperate need for the church.

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: And for people to surround me and be able to lean on them when I was weak, and, uh- and to be able to really sense the presence of the Lord in the darkness, in those hard valley seasons, to walk with Him much closer. It has absolutely enrichened my faith, um, in ways I- I never imagined.

Jim: How, uh- how did- did you and Sarah do through all this? I mean, um, that can really destroy a marriage.

Jason: So many marriages end up falling apart after these kinds of- of diagnosis, especially the ones that are more severe, like Jack’s. Um, you know, the Lord’s grace was present. We were very- we were kinda the cliché couple of the- the dad gets very distant and depressed and the mom becomes the bulldog, going after every therapy and- and all of these things and just buckles down.

Jim: She becomes mama bear.

Jason: She becomes mama bear. Yeah. Yeah. And wondering, where is dad and why isn’t dad engaged? And so that was us for a long time and it was difficult. She had lots and lots of patience for me. Um, and, uh- and, you know, o- to be totally honest, I mean, sometimes when- you know, when Jack is going through another regression, another hard time, it- it’s still a temptation to go back there and I still feel that- that old tug of despair, um, you know, sort of, ooh, I’m becoming distant, I’m becoming disconnected. Um, and I need to be jolted back in to, you know, for her to- to … she’s even said this. I’ve- you can’t go back there. I- you cannot go back there. I need you and the family needs you.

Jim: She’s a good woman.

Jason: She’s a very good woman.

Jim: (laughs)-

John: (laughs)-

Jim: Hey, um, on the, uh … what I would describe more as the happier side of life with Jack-

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, he loves movies.

Jason: Yes.

Jim: I think you and your family, he did something. Describe that, uh, scene where you created a scene of one of his favorite movies. What was it?

Jason: Well, I- Jack, he, uh- he loves watching movies. Something about the predictability of it, ’cause kids on the spectrum, you know, with all the stimuli and the craziness of the world, it can- it can sort of, you know, uh, offset them and get them off balance. And so, movies, especially ones he’s seen a million times, are very comforting. There’s some predictability. Um, so our family, since the very early days, has memorized, you know, big movie scenes, whole, you know, big dialogue, uh, and sort of, you know, play them like- like we’re in a little play. And he just sits, and watches and he’ll just get this big, you know, megawatt smile-

Jim: (laughs)-

Jason: Uh, watching this all take … I mean, just a month ago, my kids, all five of them were in the kitchen, cleaning up, it was a glory … that in itself was a miracle.

Jim: (laughs)-

Jason: Um, but he was in the middle of it. They put on music from the movie Ratatouille and they’re all-

Jim: (laughs)-

Jason: They’re all talking in French accents, going, “Special order, special order.”

Jim: (laughs)-

Jason: And he’s in the middle of it all, just beaming, ’cause-

Jim: Huh.

Jason: They’re connecting. They saying, “Jack, we see- we know you love this, here, you can’t- you might not be able to come into our world, but we can come into yours,” and this has been a thing they’ve done for years.

Jim: In fact, we have a clip-

Jason: Yes.

Jim: I think, of your family, and we wanna play that. Uh, do you wanna set that up? Or-

Jason: This is my 11-year-old son Sam, who is a theater kid, and I think, uh, this is him doing a scene from The Incredibles, just- just to make Jack laugh.

Excerpt:

Sam: Honey!

Nathan: What?

Sam: Where is my supersuit?

Nathan: What?

Sam: Where is my supersuit?

Nathan: I put it away.

Sam: Where?

Nathan: Why do you need to know?

Sam: I need it.

End of Excerpt

Jim: (laughs)-

John: (laughs)-

Jim: (laughs). And Jack loves that.

Jason: Jack loves it. That was Sam and Nathan, actually, my eight-year-old. Oh, he loves it. He sits and is just laughing, like, oh, you guys, I know this scene, I love this scene. Yeah.

Jim: Well, and it’s so cool to draw your other children into Jack’s world like that.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, emotionally, how do they manage it? I mean, do they talk with you and Sarah about it? Or-

Jason: Sure. Sure. And it can be hard. It can definitely be hard for them. We’ve had to- to understand like sometimes so much of our energy goes into him and to making sure he’s okay, and I- they- they don’t like to rock the boat. So there’s definitely some intentionality we have to have with them, saying, “We see where you are,” um, but, you know what, they’ve also been so amazing at recognizing, “Hey, this affects me, too, and he’s my brother and I love him.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jason: And- and they have become some of his biggest advocates and I’m convinced they’re gonna change the world.

Jim: When you think of those character lessons that they’re learning-

Jason: Oh.

Jim: It- it is inspiring-

Jason: It is.

Jim: That they have that empathy, they’re connecting, they’re doing things for their brother.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: That’s awesome.

John: Yeah.

Jim: Um, this may be tough, but I wanna end with a poem. At least a stanza of a poem that you wrote about your situation, uh, with your son, Jack. Can I ask you to read that stanza?

Jason: Yeah. Yeah. This is from a poem called “A Reflection of Aching Joy.” You are not a disorder, my son. Not a blue puzzle piece on a clinical spectrum. But neither are you normal. You’re a piece of God’s own daydreams, a reflection of aching joy. No, you’re not normal, you are beloved.

Jim: That’s powerful. And that can apply … now I got the tears.

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: But that can apply to any situation, right?

Jason: Yeah.

Jim: That’s not just for those autistic kids that are struggling.

Jason: No, it’s for all of us.

Jim: Yeah. Jason, that is powerful. Thank you for being with us today.

Jason: Thank you both.

John: Yeah.

Jason: Appreciate it.

Jim: It’s really good. Listen, if you’re teary-eyed, as well, I mean, you probably should get a copy of Jason’s book, Aching Joy, because, again, even if you don’t have an autistic child, you’re gonna have some issue in your life where you feel like God is not showing up-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And that’s an ache in your heart. And, uh, this will really help you in your journey.

John: Yeah. And I hope you’ve been encouraged to be honest with God. He can take it. He wants to hear your heart. And, uh, here at Focus, we have counseling services available for you and a lot of other resources to help you wherever you’re at. And as Jim mentioned, we, of course, do have Jason’s book, Aching Joy: Following God through the Land of Unanswered Prayer. Uh, whatever you need, give us a call. Our number’s 800 the letter A and the word FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And, uh, let me just say to those of you who donate and pray for this ministry, you’re making broadcasts like this one possible. And, uh, we recently heard a great, uh, comment from a man who said, “Focus on the Family’s radio program is the reason I am saved today. I used to listen while I drove a truck for 67 hours a week. I couldn’t go to church or anything. It was your programs that led me to Christ.” And in the past 12 months, I think it was 305,000 people have dedicated or rededicated their lives to Christ, and that’s why we do this. Um, maybe you’d be willing to join our support team, uh, today and make that kinda ministry possible. Please, if you can, make a donation of any amount, either, uh, a one-time gift, or if you can, a monthly sustaining gift, and know that you’re making it possible for us to reach people every day through programs like this. And when you give, we’ll say thank you by sending a copy of Jason’s book to you. Donate and request that book when you call 800 the letter A and the word FAMILY. Well, be sure to join us next time to hear about the power of praying specific scriptures for your child.

Teaser:

Jodie Berndt: And I would say to that parent, first of all, you’re not alone. God knows exactly how you feel. He’s watched us make the dumbest decisions- Walk the wildest paths. Um, and He loves your child more than you do.

End of Teaser

John: On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Cover image of Jason Hague's book "Aching Joy: Following God Through the Land of Unanswered Prayer"

Aching Joy: Following God Through the Land of Unanswered Prayer

Receive Jason Hague's book Aching Joy for your donation of any amount!

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