Happy Birthday Jake! All of Your Protection is Enabled

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“All protection is enabled,” is the message that appears on my laptop screen  from my anti-virus program. The alert comes into view when I start up my computer or when the ant-virus program has completed its updates. Its message implies, “You’re good to go, Heather. Your time and work on this computer are protected.”

Good words.

Your time and your work are protected.

Jake celebrated his 12th birthday yesterday. Our loyal and loving son is growing up. Since returning to South Africa in April, Jake has grown taller; he has now passed me up! And since this growth spurt, Jake has come to the realization that his mother is short. When I was dealing with cancer last year, John asked his sons to increase their efforts in being aware of me and increase their efforts in serving me. Jake did that then. However, since he has grown taller, his care and concern for me has increased even more. Instead of me reaching for his hand to cross the street, Jake puts his arm around my shoulder to guide me. It’s been sweet to see him mature in his awareness and care.

The autism certification program that I am enrolled in at the moment has given me an even greater appreciation for how far our son has come in his life. Reading the characteristics of different children with autism, I am struck by all of the strengths my son demonstrates in spite of him being on the autism spectrum. There are so many reasons for this blessing.

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Jake has a family that loves him for who he is and who strives to build upon those strengths for who he will become.

Jake has a network of people who pray for him; some pray for Jake every day.

Jake participated in an early intervention program involving speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy beginning at the age of 18 months. As I have read about the merits of early intervention in the lives of children with autism, I am in awe of the contribution of these services made in improving the quality of Jake’s life.

We came to South Africa. Were we crazy to bring a special needs kid across the world? Well, maybe so. If it’s crazy to think that our God can meet us wherever we are and provide people and an environment to meet our needs, then yes, we are crazy by how ruthlessly we trusted our God to help us.

And He did.

He still does. All of His protection is enabled. And not just when we wake up to begin our day. Our God protects all through the day and all through the night.

Our Jake is now twelve years old. When I consider the future for my son, I contemplate so many different things. It would be so easy to start worrying and become fearful for my son. This world is an unkind, dangerous place for all of us; particularly for a person who sees his world in a concrete, literal way. Jake speaks what is on his mind. He hears with great sensitivity. He feels deeply. He accepts others for who they are and expects others to do the same for him. He is incredibly loyal. And He loves God. He has never stumbled over this truth; that Jesus loves Him. Jake doesn’t seek to earn the love of Jesus, he accepts it unconditionally.

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Paul wrote, “As it is written, ‘See I lay in Zion a stone that cause men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’”  Romans 9:33 NIV

Jake trusts his God.

He believes in Him.

And he seeks Him out for his every need; large and small.

I cannot predict what is ahead for Jake. I don’t have that ability or foreknowledge. It’s supposed to be that way. For just as my anti-virus program wants me to know that all protection is enabled on my computer in ways that go beyond my comprehension, my God wants me to know that His protection is enabled for my son and for me at all times.

His protection was enabled in the past for Jake.

His protection is enabled for the present for Jake.

His protection will be enabled for the future for Jake.

When I was in the beginning stages of my cancer situation, I pondered what may happen if I died. I was at peace about dying and entering the kingdom of my God for eternity. However, I was not at peace about leaving my husband and children yet. For me, I wasn’t finished with what I felt I needed to do with my family. Thankfully, my God honored that perception and extended my life by His mercy and grace and with the surgery and radiation treatments that followed. His protection was enabled then, and it is enabled now. I am grateful, so very grateful.

Our son Jake is 12 years old. He has had his birthday of cinnamon rolls for breakfast, a special dinner at his favorite restaurant, birthday cake and ice cream and of course presents. He’s happy and content. He feels the secure love of his family and his God. And that’s good enough for me as I trust my God for Jake’s life.  Jake’s trust in his Savior and Lord will never be put to shame; his protection is enabled.

Happy Birthday, Jake! You are one in million and I love you!

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