03 Tahni Cullen 1: Risk, Disappointment & Hope - Living Outside of Our Circumstances


Tahni Cullen tells the story of her young son being diagnosed with non-verbal autism and the stages in her journey when any reason for hope was taken from her. In the face of disappointments, she lays out why hope has become her only choice. When there is often a dichotomy between her actual circumstances and what God promises His children, Tahni shares how choosing to hope and risk disappointment brings her in to an experience of the things God promises are a part of His Kingdom like peace, joy and life.


Tahni Cullen’s book Josiah’s Fire: Autism Stole His Words, God Gave Him a Voice


Quote by Krista Black Gifford “If you’re not anchored in the goodness of God, you will lower your theology to match your pain.”


“Where is hope when there is no hope? That is the journey I had to enter when our son was given the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder: No known cause, no known cure, lifelong. It felt like the gavel came down on all our dreams.” -Tahni

“I kept having to look to God for hope and that was a choice most times when I didn’t feel like it. I felt disillusioned and I felt like I was losing everything…” -Tahni

“In the professional world, everyone was telling us ‘you need to learn how to cope with what is happening’ and I went to the Bible and asked God to give me some examples and show me how to do this. I couldn’t find one example of coping, just managing around the circumstances you have. Everything was hope. Everything was hope against hope: that even when hope was lost, you still hope!” -Tahni

“To choose to hope that God is good, that the future is good, that you can declare and speak life over the situation… to do that is to risk disappointment, but to not hope is to choose disappointment.” -Tahni

“To choose to hope, I will make different decisions, I will speak different things, I will declare life instead of just trying to keep from circling the drain. Choosing to hope will change me on the inside, it can change the atmosphere in my home and it can change the context in which my own son will grow up.” -Tahni

“How do I live in this dichotomy between the circumstances and storms of life and Jesus who says ‘I came to give you peace’ and calmed storms?”-Tahni

“I’m constantly having to go before God and asking ‘Who do you say that I am?’ and also answering the question when God asks me ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Am I able to say “You are the Son of the Living God and You have died to give me the Kingdom”? And if I’m not experiencing joy, peace, righteousness in the realm of the Holy Spirit, which is, as a Christ-follower, something I’ve been promised, then I’m missing something.” -Tahni

“If you can find out what your kid’s name means, and if it means something, when you speak their name, you’re speaking the blessing of their name. So I started speaking life over my son by saying ‘Josiah, you are the fire of the Lord, the one who Jehovah heals. Josiah, God is your salvation.’” -Tahni

“I would speak life over my son when autism was trying to consume him and our family and it’s still a fight and a battle to keep autism from winning the day. But it doesn’t get to be king.” -Tahni

“‘God is a good gift-giver’ became the thesis statement for our lives.” -Tahni

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