It's not quite a quiver full, but it's a start!

Friday, October 14, 2011

I am fearfully, wonderfully, and PURPOSEFULLY made

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. We know all the lines, but do we remember the impact of these words? When it came time to form man, God did not just speak us into existence. God took his very own hands and formed us, then He breathed life into us. God created us out of an act of pure joy and love. Revelation 4:11 says that we were created for his "pleasure" (KJV) and for his "will" (ESV). Amazing. We were created for God's pleasure! How great is that. So what about all of those times when we think He has made a mistake with His creation?

When our first son was born it was AMAZING! I mean absolutely, I couldn't even breathe because it was so beautiful, amazing. I actually watched with a mirror as our baby was born (as I have with each of our children) and absolutely nothing could have prepared me for that moment, but as soon as we got settled into recovery I began to notice little things. His eyes would roll around. He never looked at me. But he was a newborn and the doctors said he was perfect. Still, I knew in my heart that he had autism and it seemed the confirmation came more and more every day. The doctors continued to say he was perfect. He was "just a boy", he was just "distracted", he was just "too focused", on and on and on. But I knew. He began to hit himself in the head constantly. He banged his head against the wall, his bed, the floor. They said it was from the fluid in his ears. They told me it was too early for any child to get a diagnosis of autism, but despite what they said I knew.

Finally, after the birth of our daughter I had to do something. He was 18 months old so he was "borderline" on whether they would diagnose him or not. Luckily, our neurologist is amazing and she agreed that by giving him the diagnosis early we could begin to try getting the treatment he needs. Most parents are afraid of the diagnosis. Afraid of the stigma. Afraid of the label that they believe will follow their child around for the rest of their life. But I knew the only way we could get him the help he needed was to admit he had a problem.

The strange thing was I had known literally from his birth that he has autism. But I still remember when our Neuro (who happens to be a dear, dear friend) looked at me and said, "Well, he definitely has autism." All of the air was removed from the room, my heart literally stopped, and I don't think I breathed for about five minutes. I walked out clinging to him for dear life sobbing. I probably scared every single person in the waiting room. You would have thought my child had been given a death sentence, but in my mind it was much worse. In my mind, he had already died. This little boy that I loved with all my heart had died. No, not physically, but he was no longer the little boy I knew.
Especially with being diagnosed so young, it could go two ways. It could A) be a sign that he is just so non-functioning that there is no hope or B) we caught it early enough to be able to get the diagnosis completely removed in several years after very intensive therapies. Can you take a guess which one my mind flew to?
He was gone. My little boy had no hope of a future. No hope of ever being the little boy that I thought he would be. And there was no hope for me to have the life with him that I always imagined. I mourned this loss for what felt like a very long time.

Fast-forward to me getting out of the self-pity trap and into action mode (which surprisingly happened about 2 days after his diagnosis). We began doing as much research as possible on everything we could. We began massive amounts of therapies and diets and found out as much as we could about his condition.
I remember looking at the test they use to diagnose autism. A person is required to have a certain number of symptoms in a certain number of categories. He had most of them. I began to have another pity party when I saw the overwhelming amount of symptoms he had. But I remember so clearly as I was looking over the symptoms something just awakened in me. He had always been this way. He had been this way from birth. In fact, when God knitted this baby boy in my womb he was this way.

So why did God make him this way? God doesn't make mistakes does he? Maybe God didn't make him this way, it was just a genetic fluke? Maybe God doesn't make disabled children so much as He just allows it to happen? NO, God formed this beautiful, autistic boy in my womb with every plan and purpose for him already and that included his autism. Jeremiah 1:5-8 says, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, Before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you to the nations." Alas, Sovereign Lord, I said, I do not know how to speak, I am only a child. But the Lord said to me, "Do not say 'I am only a child' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue  you." This is so great because A) it shows God knew us from the very beginning of time and B) He did not allow Jeremiah any excuse because he was who God made him to be and God was with him. WOW. Immediately after that realization, my attitude changed.

I cannot even begin to explain the verbal hurt we faced from others. The "I'm so sorry", "Oh, how aweful for you", "That's such a shame", "What are you going to do", on and on and on and on. Finally, I just started telling people I LOVE his autism. The weird looks I got could literally knock you over. But it is 100% true.
In fact, the things I love about my son like his organization skills, his constant desire to learn, his conversation skills, the way he notices the little details in everything, the way he's so wonderfully and perfectly him, those things I love so much are all attributes of his autism. And they are not negative things. In fact if you look throughout scripture God constantly called those who had "disabilities" to be used for His greatest glory. So I say, not only did God make these disabled children fearfully and wonderfully, but He made them PURPOSEFULLY.

He formed my son in my womb with the same love and care as he formed Adam long ago at the beginnings of creation. He knit together my son's innermost parts, wispered into his soul the grand plans He has for him, and then he breathed the breath of life into his body.

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