This Thanksgiving I challenged myself to truly think about what I am thankful for. For 25 days, to journal as many things as I can hoping to reach 250 things on my journey to 1,000, until I reached the point where I was truly thankful in all things. Along the way, I realized how awkward I felt lifting everything up to God, but found such freedom in the worship that came with vocalizing, journaling, and bringing all of my circumstances to the Lord in thanksgiving. I reached a point where giving thanks in even the hard things became more natural, where I learned to give thanks for the most precious gift God had given me but I had never brought before Him. And today, on Thanksgiving Eve, in preparation for my 25th Day, I will thank God for the one of my hardest things: Autism.
The journey through diagnosis and healing has not been an easy one, but who am I to be thankful for only the easy things? Who am I to discount the power, the testimony, the beauty, that comes from the trials? Who am I to tell God that when he created my beautiful baby boy that He made a mistake? In fact, if there's one thing I learned through this journey it's the perfection in His plan, including autism. If ever I was given the choice to change my son into the world's version of "perfect" I would not think twice. I would not think twice because the answer would be, "no." Why would I want to change who my son is? Just because it is difficult? Just because he's not "normal"? Why would I change the perfection that is my autistic son, just because the world does not see him as perfect?
Autism is the reason I love my son. I do not love him in spite of his autism, I love him because of it. I love his Independence, his "engineer" mind, his quirks. Is it hard when he doesn't make eye contact, when he tries to hurt himself or others, when he didn't speak for the first 18 months of his life? Yes, but every parent deals with difficult behavior, does it mean they love their child any less? Why would his behavior effect my feelings for him? Why would his autism make me love him any less? In fact, the things I love about him the most, the things that make him unique, are all attributes of his diagnosis. I love how he took my double stroller apart and I couldn't put it back together (what 2 year old knows how to successfully use a screw driver?) I love how he has such a teacher's spirit, spurred on by his therapies. I love everything about this little boy and everything he has brought to my life.
So today, as I thank God for the hard things, I will thank God especially for my son, for autism, for God's perfection brought to us in imperfect packages.