It was a perfect Monday morning when Christopher McDermott held his newborn son, Timothy, for the first time. Although the two had met only moments before, a bond of love was already forming. Christopher wanted only the best for his son, and at that moment, he couldn’t imagine anything that would keep him from it.
Any thoughts Christopher and his wife, Deborah, had of Timothy being a “perfect” baby quickly faded when they discovered that their child was completely inconsolable. “He’d scream and scream as though he was in pain, but the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with him,” Deborah shared. As new parents, the McDermotts didn’t know what to expect from a newborn, so they just assumed that most children were like Timothy.
Aside from his fussiness, Timothy seemed, to the McDermotts, to be perfectly normal and happy—at least for his first few years. “When Timothy got older, we realized that he wasn’t a happy boy,” said Deborah. “He was very nervous and anxious all the time.”
Problems escalated when Timothy was about nine. He had been homeschooled up to that point because the McDermotts were afraid he would be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder if he was sent to school. “He couldn’t even sit still to eat,” recalled Deborah. “He would run around the table, take a mouthful, then run around the table again."
The McDermott’s second child, James, also proved to be a difficult baby; yet, unlike Timothy, he was happy. “We suddenly realized how different it was to have a child who was bubbly and would look people in the eye,” said Christopher.
Matters became worse for Timothy after James arrived, as his parents had less time to devote to him. The McDermotts enrolled Timothy in a small, specialized school, which they thought could help him. Instead, it only magnified his problems. Timothy began having nightmares about drowning, he lost weight, and he stopped growing. He then started having storms, where insignificant issues would cause him to fall to pieces. Timothy would engage in head-butting doors or the floor, or punching himself as a result of his distress. He also had no coordination, which caused simple things like writing to be a major challenge. The McDermotts had no choice, but to take Timothy out of school and seek professional help.
When James was about eighteen months old, he too began having his own issues. “James always had a few odd things [about him], but not enough to cause concern,” recalled Deborah. “But then he stopped talking and communicating, and then he stopped wanting people to look at him…he became bothered with lights, and then he stopped eating his food [if it wasn’t the perfect texture and just right].”
At the suggestion of Timothy’s therapist, the McDermotts also had James evaluated. He was diagnosed with developmental delays, behavioral issues, along with obvious impairments that are on the autistic spectrum. At this point, Timothy had already been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, and now James had the possibility of the same diagnosis. Christopher and Deborah came face-to-face with the reality that, against all odds, they had two children with serious disabilities.
“One day, when I was really down, I turned on Christian programming on television,” recalled Deborah. “Mothers were talking about their kids and proudly showing off their pictures... And it just hit me, what I was really experiencing with my own family. I felt so alone and deserted. I yelled out to God, ‘Why don’t You help us?’ I had been asking Him to help for years, and I was angry. I believed it was God’s fault because I had been taught that He was sovereign. I said, ‘I love my boys so much, and You’re supposed to love them more than me...’ I told Him, ‘I would die for my boys.’ He said, ‘I already did.’ I was so stunned that I just shut up.”
Then Deborah continued her conversation with God, “You did die, but what difference does it make in our situation?” God simply replied, “I’ll heal your sons.” Deborah’s faith leapt, and in her heart, she immediately believed that her sons would be okay.
One day as Deborah was praying, her mother, who lives several hours away, phoned to tell her to turn on the Gospel Truth. She immediately tuned in and watched the story of Hannah Terradez, whom God miraculously healed of a life-threatening disease. “As I watched that day, faith rose inside of me,” recalled Deborah. “I thought, Yes, Andrew’s talking about my God!” Christopher looked up Andrew Wommack Ministries on the Internet, and to the McDermotts’ surprise, discovered that Andrew would be in Walsall—a two-hour drive—in two weeks.
Over the next couple of days, Deborah and Christopher diligently researched both AWM and Hannah. They were blessed and amazed by what they learned, and knew in their hearts that this was God’s answer to their cry for help. They also knew that it would take a miracle just to get to Walsall with their two boys, who didn’t do well with car rides or unfamiliar surroundings.
To further prepare their hearts, the couple began watching Andrew every day, bought as many of his books as possible and downloaded teachings from Andrew's website. Their faith grew to believe God for what He said they already had. Deborah’s next step was to call Andrew Wommack Ministries of Europe and alert them to their situation. “The woman I spoke with said, ‘If you can’t get them out of the car, we’ll send a prayer team to you.’ Then she prayed in a way that I had never heard before. She was authoritative and thanked God that it was already done. I hung up and thought, This is really going to happen,” Deborah said.
The two weeks leading up to the trip tested the McDermotts’ faith to its limits. Timothy cried with anxiety whenever the trip was mentioned, and when the day came to go, he physically fought getting into the car. But Deborah recited to God His promise and refused to back down. As the family drove, both boys settled in and became calm—even cheerful. The miraculous was already happening.
As an additional step of faith, once the McDermotts arrived at their hotel, they ate next door at the same KFC where Hannah ate right after God healed her. Both boys—who, for their entire lives, were not only severely restricted with what they ate, but also had to have their food prepared in particular ways—ate their fill of popcorn chicken and fries. God continued to answer the family’s prayers with one miracle after another.
During a break at Andrew's meeting, Deborah and Christopher waited in line with their sons so Andrew could pray for them. The line was long, and before their turn came, Andrew announced that it was time to return to their seats. Completely deflated, Deborah began weeping. She couldn’t leave without Andrew praying for them. Just then, someone grabbed her arm and thrust her right in front of Andrew. That someone was Paul Flanagan, former director of Charis Bible College-West Midlands.
Christopher said, “Deborah quickly told Andrew about our situation, and without hesitation, he simply rebuked autism and commanded healing into our boys. Then he blessed us as a family and thanked God that we would fulfill God’s plan for our lives. He then said something we will never forget: He told us that we were now the parents of normal, healthy children.”
“I remember hearing that as if the whole world went quiet, and it was just these words hanging there,” added Deborah. “For me, it was Jesus talking to me, and it was a promise. I knew Andrew was right. We left and went to McDonald’s, where the boys ate like I’ve never seen them eat before.”
From the first day the McDermotts arrived home, the transformation they witnessed in their sons was remarkable. That night, the entire family experienced their first night of peaceful sleep since the day James was born—five years earlier.
Deborah and Christopher watched in awe of God’s power as James continued to sleep through the night, month after month and year after year. The same miraculous change occurred in Timothy. “It was as if Timothy was covered in scales of autism,” says Christopher, “and over time, those scales were peeled away to reveal the amazing boy that he is today.”
Deborah attributes the miraculous changes in her boy's health to God’s word of healing that He spoke to her and to Andrew’s teaching, which helped her rightly understand God’s will for healing. “When I watched Andrew, he seemed to be talking about the God that I knew… not the other one that everyone else seems to talk about,” explained Deborah.
Deborah felt that God led her to Andrew’s teachings so He could teach her what she needed to know. For nearly six months Deborah only listened to Andrew, and in that time, her questions were answered. "The teachings that helped me most were Spirit, Soul & Body, You’ve Already Got It, and God Wants You Well. Through these, I finally understood how I had been wrongly taught about the sovereignty of God,” said Deborah. She realized that if she had continued believing incorrectly, her boys would not be healed today because she would’ve thought that their conditions were God’s will for them.
Once Timothy and James were healed, the McDermotts took them both back to their psychologists for another evaluation. Timothy's new diagnosis reads, Timothy is a “neurodevelopmentally typical young man, and the label of Asperger’s syndrome is not applicable.” He was discharged from the doctor’s care. Likewise, James’s official report now reads, “...it is clear there has been significant progress over time in all areas associated with the triad of impairment with autism. As a result, the label, Autism Spectrum Disorder, is no longer appropriate for James and should be removed from any documentation in the future that relates to him.”
Deborah and Timothy have begun the CBC correspondence course together and are hoping to one day attend CBC as full-time students. “From there, we’ll see where the Lord guides us,” says Deborah. “But for now, we are gaining a solid foundation through the correspondence course.”
The McDermotts’ present reality and hopes for the future are far removed from how life used to be when Timothy and James were young children. Deborah remembers when she could only imagine a life of normalcy, “I used to dream about all four of us going out to dinner and not worrying about anything… just like a normal family. I used to dream about going to the cinema and eating popcorn and watching a movie together. We had never done these things before. But, just as I had imagined, we went to the cinema, and we bought the popcorn. We are a normal family, and I am the mother of normal, healthy children—just like Andrew said.”
For a more personal look at the McDermott's miracles, be sure to watch the video below.
Adapted from the Healing Journeys article, The New Normal: From Autism to Awesome, originally printed in the Spring/Summer 2013 edition of Andrew Wommack Ministries Gospel Truth magazine.