I locked myself in the bathroom, tears streaming as I listened to the thunderous pounding on the door. Muffled growls and mournful sobbing accompanied the fists and feet. I collapsed to the floor. I can’t do this anymore, God. I can’t. Please. Why did you give me this child? Why?
Before you judge me . . .
Ask yourself if you have ever been around a child having a meltdown. I don’t mean a tantrum where they are stomping their feet, throwing things, or yelling because they don’t get what they want. A child still has control of themselves in that situation. No parent is afraid of a tantrum.
I am talking about an Asperger’s meltdown. Have you ever been around that? If you have, then you know why I felt that way on that fateful day when my little boy was age six. From the time he was age eighteen months until that day, I had endured many of these meltdowns. Some of these episodes resulted in bruised arms, broken furniture or toys, and rooms completely torn apart.
A meltdown=a picture of our rebellion against God
My cries came from a deep place in my soul. I did not want to give up on my son, but I truly didn’t know what to do anymore. Every professional I consulted gave me conflicted information and tried to blame me for his behavior. Books explained the why of his behavior, but not how to help.
God answered me, but it wasn’t the answer I expected.
He said, “He is you, the you that you once were.”
A little background on what a meltdown is
Before I continue, I feel I must elaborate on meltdowns. Meltdowns are not the same as tantrums. In a tantrum, the child is attempting to get his way by being dramatic. Once he gets his way, the tantrum stops. If you ignore him, after a while, he gives up.
Not so with a meltdown. A meltdown is a build-up of frustration and sensory overload. It is beyond a child’s control. As an example, one time my son had a meltdown in a museum. Right after we arrived, he bolted out the door, crying, and resisting all attempts to escort him back inside. It was a children’s museum! The constant chattering and echoing of children’s voices, the loud imagery, the crowds of people—all of these things overloaded his senses and he couldn’t handle it, especially the noise. While all my other children, my husband, and our relatives enjoyed the museum, I stayed with my son in a little room just off the gift shop. We never went inside. Imagine what happens if the child can’t stand the low rumbling of the car, the smells, and the movement when going for a ride. I will tell you it is not fun.
Who I once was (and you were, too)
Meltdowns, while caused by overload, can be targeted at a person or thing that seems to be at fault. For example, my son targeted his car meltdowns at me because he perceived that I caused his discomfort. After all, I drove the car.
Before I came to Christ, I was overloaded with sin. So were you. Sometimes, I shook my fists at God. Sometimes, at my parents. I made a mess of things as I tried to deal with my burden. I hurt people and burned relationships. And, I grieved my Lord as I fought with myself, trying to gain control over my life. At times, I wanted to run away or hide. When I felt the Lord calling me, I both drew close and fought with Him before I finally surrendered. In short, I had meltdowns.
I’m sure your story isn’t much different.
God showed me His compassion, His patience, and His unconditional love as I sat on the floor crying that day with my son just on the other side of the door. He showed me a picture of our rebellion against God. Eventually, my son stopped, his emotion spent. When I opened the door, I saw a crumpled, scared little boy waiting for me. I scooped him up—just as Jesus scooped me up—and held him in my arms, whispering in his ear, “I love you, my sweet boy. I still love you.”