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August 13, 2020 6:00 am
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The voice of the crowd.
They are really loud today is telling us which lives have value, which lives do not pushing people aside, the disabled, elderly wrist and her unborn the unwanted, disruptive, inconvenient Emily Colson offering stark reminder why it's so important for us in the Christian community to advocate for people that are culture deems inconvenient today on Focus on the Family you'll hear more from Emily. She was our special guest at a pro-life event that we hosted in Tampa Florida a number of months ago your hostess focus Pres. and Dr. Jim Daly and on John Fuller, John. I so appreciate Emily's bold witness in the pro-life ministry, but most of all I love her heart as a mom and that comes through all the time. When you meet her one-on-one she just exudes that the light of being a mom. Some of our listeners already know Emily stories she's been raising her son Max on her own for 26 years and it's inspiring how she's embraced her motherhood role finding beauty and the glory of God in her son who has a severe disability and that's what being pro-life is all about living out your faith in tangible ways in here Focus on the Family.
We invite you to do the same thing by participating in our free sea life 2020 event next month. September 26. We created a powerful online program featuring top-notch Christian speakers, great music, and so much more. The star of our show course will be a 4D ultrasound of the baby alive in the womb. It's going to be awesome and we have all the details online.
We also have a pledge that we ask you to sign hashtag love every heartbeat which is a commitment to pray for the growing pro-life movement and to support those who are facing unexpected pregnancies and to share your pro-life values with others encouraging them to get involved as well. So find details about sea life 2020 and sign the firstname.lastname@example.org/broadcast card John that let's get to the wonderful conversation we recorded with Emily Colson as you'll see in here. I was struggling a bit with the head cold time, so forgive me for that. But the Lord certainly was with us that night.
Here's more Emily is the daughter of the late Colson. She is an author and speaker of very very persuasive advocate for special-needs families and her son Max, who has autism is the subject of a book and I mean this Emily. When I read this I don't think there's a chapter I can finish without crying. At some point you've captured such a beautiful story dancing with Max, a mother and son who broke free stop by the website to get your copy John. There is a reason it strikes a chord with you to share that with the audience will our son was diagnosed with autism when he was two. That was 14 years ago and it's been a really wild and unpredictable journey for us and I had a chance to sit down with Chuck Colson, like Chuck Colson and talk about his love for Max and the beauty that Max's life portrayed and I was just deeply riveted by Chuck's perspective that's been a guiding force these past years, as we had a lot of struggles to mention what I love about Emily Colson is the way she's a mom, Emily welcome. Thank you. Such a joy to be here really need to review such a joy to be here with all of you here in Tampa fun is coming here.
I said what do you want people to know about autism and he paused for a moment and he said love all he said he doesn't have a lot of languages not conversational.
And I thought Max is exactly the best thing we could like us right from the heart of God.
And that's what he tells us is most important right to love the Lord love your neighbor as perfect Emily were to get in your story with Max in a moment, but I want to start with a tragic story about a woman named Jillian who has raised a son with down syndrome for more than 50 years. This was in the newspaper a while back Jillian's motherhood journey has been overwhelming and painful. She expressed that Joanne says she loves her son and wants to protect them, but she also wishes every day that she had aborted him. How does that strike you when you hear that from someone who is struggling.
I want to recognize that this is painful for her. Obviously, but to live in that tension where and I think her son is 50 years old. Yeah, I think I found that article 47 so close to 50. She they've had a long journey. I've been at this almost 30 years. Max is about to turn 29 and it breaks my heart when I read that article it really broke my heart. Why, I understand. I genuinely resonate with this struggle. I understand how overwhelming and how difficult this can be don't resonate with the conclusion that if I just didn't have this child, my life would be perfect. Where we are all really vulnerable to that right we have something happening in our lives and we thank if I just didn't have blank my life would be perfect. Well broken fallen world, and it will not be perfect. In the past couple of years we've really gone through some deep challenges. I think if we talked about this article 4 years ago I would have talked about Max's beauty and I still see Max's beauty but I think with the struggles becoming even deeper. What I've seen is more of God's beauty and it and that the Scripture that we heard earlier, the Lord is close to the brokenhearted's what I know. That's what I felt. I think that so many families feel that sense of struggle.
It's really tremendous.
I think first of all, this is the heart cry to the church to say we need to step in with families living with disabilities is number one because the isolation that we feel as families is more disabling than the disability we feel like we have the whole thing on our shoulders and there isn't anybody to help and it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger and I don't know this woman's situation. I don't know anything about her, but I do have to wonder. Did she have anybody supporting her.
Was there anybody beside her was that it was anybody calling to say are you okay with you, or to help her anyway because it's pretty overwhelming don't have anybody you may also interject this. I think one of the things that I notice in our culture, especially Western culture and red handle on who does our that the world may know series is a Jewish caller to Israel with him is awesome just the Scriptures light up when he unfolds a little differently.
More from a Jewish perspective and Eastern Orthodox perspective. I could say that way so the Scriptures just pop and he said to me, the problem is Hellenistic and Roman leftovers in the Western world because what we pursue is leisure and comfort conference. That's our highest goal. So I just wonder how much of that plays into a family that disrupted with the child has special needs.
If we believe that we are entitled to a comfortable perfect life.
We are going to be incredibly disappointed. This is not a comfortable perfect life. Jesus said in this world you will have trouble.
Maybe he'll have trouble you will have trouble.
But take heart.
Five overcome the world. I think about it as that in Tampa you you know about big storms that come in these hurricanes that come in.
I'm a Boston girl. We watched the weather because we get a lot of crazy storms that come in and when you want to always be a weatherman. It's out there in the storm in the slicker getting pushed over the cameras falling over right there in the midst of the storm and that's how we feel, because that's what we can see is that storm but then they switch over and get the radar picture and you get the whole overview and what I have to remember in those very very hard moments when the rain is pouring and I out there in the slicker is that God has this glorious aerial view where he is doing something that I now in this world. Sometimes we get a little picture we get little glimpses of what he's doing, but we can't fully understand that our trust in his sovereignty our trust in his goodness that he is, or that he would not allow autism into our lives unless he had a purpose and a plan that could be used for his glory. So I know that about beautiful know God has fashioned him in such a way to bring glory to our heavenly father Emily before we move on. I the person that is suffering and that way here's not a lawyer but maybe one or two things I can do. They don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ in their listening to the focus program right now is are trying to get some good marriage and parenting advice, but here it is the distinction between the person that has that deep rooted faith where they can stand in that storm and say there's something of a greater purpose, being accomplished than my wants and needs.
Is that absolutely, and I don't remember exactly the quote from Corrie 10 boom, there is no pit so deep that Jesus cannot reach into it and find asset something like that so that in the point and that is if you're struggling in that space and you don't know the Lord.
That's the place to start, and I want to make sure that you know you can contact Focus on the Family (Christian counselors will talk with you. We have resources for you. That's where you start is that will become the bedrock for everything moving forward you a story about complaining to God it to him.
One night what was going on in that specific situation.
What did you learn from that experience. The two William experience is content to a vulnerability that I love about you probably people connect you because you're open with pain yeah yeah it now I have been a single mom. Since Max was just 18 months old.
What happened were the dead. Well, there are a lot of challenges that come in when you have a child that is not developing. That said, not getting any of those milestones, Max thought was called like it really wasn't calling. Now we know that's autism, but we didn't know it.
Back then he just cried all the time and that I loved him like crazy. I just couldn't. I couldn't take my eyes off them.
I couldn't stop hugging him in here all he did was scream all the time listening to Focus on the Family with Jim Daly and John Fuller.
Our guest Emily Colson joined us alive pro-life event a few months ago. Emily is sharing stories from her book dancing with Max, which describes her joys and struggles in raising her special needs son. You can learn more about the book and how to get an audio copy of our entire conversation with Emily which includes our broadcast next email@example.com/broadcast and out more from Emily Colson on Focus on the Family so that 2 AM what we have had a couple of very challenging years and that happens with autism, it can go very well at times and then it can become very difficult and we come through. I say through because I feel like were lifting up out of that come through some very, very difficult years. And on top of it.
Max ended up getting stomach flu now. I'll really spare you the details, but I'm just going to say that is genuinely debating.
Would it be easier to continue cleaning or just to bulldoze the house and start over. It was a mess to fill in the blanks. Max was upstairs, finally getting into bed 2 o'clock in the morning and I was tired I was deep tired I was years worth of tired and I began to ask, I don't really think it was a pity party.
I think it was it was actually a pretty rational discussion and I began to ask God so how much is enough to serve. Is there that maybe you could and I don't know what's on the other side. I really think I'm getting Max's kind of begins asking me for things which he loves to do when he gets into bed.
I become the bellhop I need water that I lost my picture. Well, I had my hand on the light switch ready to turn and often I just couldn't wait to go downstairs and have a few minutes by myself and then I heard Max say mom will you watch that I said ask I cleaned everything you have had three showers.
I cleaned the sheets I've cleaned the wall. I think I played the first now really wasn't my best mom moment Max is unfazed and he sat up and he smiled and he asked me something he has never asked me in his life and he said mom will you wash my feet and it caught me. So off guard and it was as if Jesus had just stood right beside me and show me a picture of the night before he was crucified the night he was betrayed he was in the upper room with his disciples and he wanted to show them the full extent of his love. So he got up he poured a basin of water. He tied a towel around his waist and then the Lord of lords and King of Kings got down on a filthy floor, showing us how to live showing us how to I think of the Scripture from John 1334 Jesus said in that moment, a new command I give you love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. I want to tell you that I found the softest towels and the sweetest smelling so and had the privilege of washing my son's feet. Praying over him blessing him. He has since asked me a number of other times to wash his and every time stay together. Blessed are the feet of those who carry the gospel of peace while dancing with ask you describe how you were desperately trying to find a way to fix your son. I so relate to this.
That would be my temptation would I need to do specialists and continue to work on the problem, but you are getting much help from medical or educational professionals infected describe how one classroom supervisor labeled Max become stuck in your heart. What happened.
Oh yeah I I. It was a huge battle.
It really was when Max was diagnosed. It was around one 10,000 children had autism now where it one in every 59 or 60 yeah yeah so it's increased dramatically. The battle is still there struggle to find services to find support is still still very very similar I remember that moment when I was in at a meeting with all of his teachers and specialists and that we were talking about teaching Max handwriting and he could write his name. He could write Max and when you see the cover of dancing with Max that his signature is a mark of victory as talked about wonderful it was that Max could write his first name. We talked about how do we begin teaching him writing his last name in teaching him to write other things and and that specialists just cut me off and said, essentially, Max is severely disabled and kind of smart and said why don't we move on to other things.
I was so barraged that the people who were supposed to be teaching him and supposed to believe in him and see his potential and possibilities were already shutting the door on my very young son to say, why even bother was so disheartening because we need people who are going to believe in our kids and believe in possibilities and potential disheartening single mom and my goodness returned to where to go heartbreaking. What do you do that you also share the story of how you were eventually able to communicate with Max. You did something called. I think it's picture talks coolest thing.
What is it is so II spent about 20 years as a creative director, graphic designer, artist, about 12 years before Max was born I was a creative director that I tried to keep up with it for a while afterwards. I always felt like I kind of fell short but you really want me to do with this gift you've given me had never felt like I was using it in a way that was significant enough. Well, when Max was about nine years old. He was really struggling to understand cause-and-effect and so I began to draw out little sequences of cause and effect in little storyboard so that he could see it and process it makes sense of it very quickly. Max began to ask for certain pictures. He began to ask me to draw things and he began to tell me things he could never say before because he was seeing his words fall on the page and course of a quick draw because of an artist, I would draw whatever he said. Pictures of it and write down his words and he began to tell me memories things he was afraid never been able to say ever. Now we have about 1400 1500 of these picture topics that stay out all the time in our living room that is our living room open to different pages and that's become Max's diary is processing his comfort his peace. Help me help me give me an example of one just to help. The first one that absolutely shocked me that I knew God was doing something remarkable. The first one is when he said mom draw a picture of Joanne's blue sports car and I thought, I don't know who you're talking about Max's was 10 at the time and he began to talk and talk and I began to realize that he was talking about babysitter that took him out when he was two years old and took him out she wasn't supposed to put him in the front member. I he said in the front seat. Now I'm sweating neighbor told me had taken Max out knew that Max wasn't supposed to go anywhere and there is a drop seatbelt. He said no seatbelt. How they went to the ice and what did you do when you went to the house, he said.
I sat on your cry. Oh my goodness, so I knew this was unlocking something in Max when he was about 16. He wanted to drive by that house. He remembered the address he was two years two years old. The beautiful part of this is I think God gave me the gift of art and creative communication, and then he gave me the sign that would mean that gift to become his voice life where she shares some really powerful stories about her son Max.
What's amazing about Emily is that she never gives up on Max. No matter how difficult or challenging life gets, she's always there in his corner and she acknowledges the struggles, but she also has found great value in her precious son because she was looking at them through God's eyes. That's a powerful example for all of us who claim to be followers of Christ. Do we have that same commitment to those who are not valued and appreciated in today's society of people with special needs like Max or the elderly or orphans and pre-born children who are at risk of abortion. They are the most forgotten group of all we all have a sacred responsibility to protect human life created in God's image, but it's not enough to simply believe this, we need to stand up and be counted and what our voices be heard by our government leaders and our culture as a whole. We are pro-life that we are and that's why Focus on the Family is hosting see life 2020, which is a special online event on Saturday, September 26. That's about six weeks from now.
Judy is John and we hope everyone listening will join and sign our pledge its hashtag love every heartbeat and this is your chance to be part of something big. To help transform hearts and minds about the critical issue of life. You can learn more about sea life 2020 and assigned a pledge when you go to focusonthefamily.com/broadcasts or call 800 K in the word family and I trust you were moved by the conversation we had with Emily Colson which is so enjoy talking with her. We have copies of her book available. It's called dancing with Max, a mother and son who broke free and John, we want to say thank you to those who can support the ministry with the gift of any amount by sending them a copy of the book and there has to be somebody if it's not, you need to be encouraged as a mom there somebody in your orbit that would benefit from the story of Emily Colson so contact us today.
Send a gift and get a copy of Emily's wonderful book donated and get your copy of dancing with Max when you call 800 the letter a in the word family. That's 800-232-6459 or you can donate focusonthefamily.com/broadcasts and coming up next time you hear more from Emily about raising her special needs son packs is not that he become more like other young man. God's goals are Max is that he become more like Jesus.
That's next time on Focus on the Family. And remember, when you get in touch let us know how your list website through mobile app or podcast on John Fuller and on behalf of Jim Daly, and the entire team. Join us next to you and your family thrive