Nine months later, after hours of interviews, testing and more testing, and months on end of waiting and wondering, I finally have a diagnosis in hand. My son has autism spectrum disorder.
He has autism
It’s not like this information came as a shock. After all, I have been living with the child for over 5 years now. But seeing it on paper, seeing the result numbers next to his name, and how far they stray from the "cutoff” values… The finality of it came as a shock to my system nonetheless. I’ve been feeding him through a G-tube since he was 17 months old, but since there is nothing anatomically wrong with him, there is always the hope that those medical needs are temporary. But this… this diagnosis is forever. As long as he walks this earth, it will follow him; and as for me, well, that officially makes me a special needs mommy.
The first couple days, I just walked around numb, hardly allowing myself to think. It was just too painful. A good friend of mine counseled me, and she granted me “permission to grieve.” I took her advice, I needed to let the tears out anyway. So, I made myself a candle light, rose scented bath, and I just laid in the tub and sobbed. I didn’t know what to say to God. I didn’t know what to ask for, or how to pray. So I just laid there and cried in His presence. After I exhausted myself and stopped crying, something amazing happened. God began to speak. I want to share what He said to me, because I think other mommas, especially you “special” mammas can benefit from the breath of fresh air as well.
The Lord gently calmed my heart and assured me, I will teach you about him. I will walk with you; I will guide you.
All I have ever wanted was what every other mother longs for. A typical healthy child. I was grieving what he could have been, what he should have been, when the Lord interjected with something that literally changed me. He (my son) has lost NOTHING! You…have lost nothing.
He has lost nothing! You, have lost nothing.
The Lord said to me, "I love that boy SO MUCH. And I chose you and your husband to entrust with his care. You have a most important job in My Kingdom."
You have a most important job in My Kingdom
I said, "God, I too, love him so much"….and God said, that is why I gave him to you, and anything planted next to streams of Living Water will FLOURISH!!!"
Then I overheard the kids laughing downstairs. I soaked it in and confessed to the Lord, “I love their laughter.” "My gift to you", He said. Thankfulness flooded my heart.
My children's laugher is God's special and unique gift to me
I started to relax, and the tiredness took over. The exhaustion and frustrations of raising a child with special needs came to the surface. But then Psalm 23 came to my mind and God said, "You can always come rest in me."
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pasture, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23: 1-4
Since my son almost didn’t make it into this world, and has had a myriad of health issues since birth, I have a unique and different perspective on life. Not a day goes by when I don’t think that this could be the last one I get to spend with this beautiful child. I don’t take anything for granted. Every hug, every kiss, every sign of affection, every “I love you” whether verbal or not, every smile and burst of laughter, I treasure in my heart. Just as Mary, the mother of Jesus in Luke 2 “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart,” I collect treasures every day. I have been BLESSED with a child with special needs. And he’s not “special” because he is different, or because his needs are “special,” my son is special because God made him special. And who knows, perhaps he will be able to see Jesus in a way that most of us can’t.
I have been BLESSED with a child with special needs.
My son is special because GOD made him special.
Even though I wish it wasn’t always so hard; even though I wish people wouldn’t look at my child with that knowing “he’s different” look; even despite all the frustrations, and heartaches, and tears; I don’t think I would change a thing about my son. Because God entrusted him to me; and I love him so much more than I could ever try to convey with words.