This post was written by jcortez.
Our youngest son, Jacob, makes our family sparkle. He has been a firecracker every day of his seven years. When Jacob was five, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism, and ADHD.
The five years leading up to that diagnosis left me feeling like an absolute failure as a mother. Have you ever felt like a failure? I had beautiful child, but I couldn’t control him, calm him down, or even understand his needs most of the time. His spirit was so strong and demanding that I’m pretty sure I spent the first three years of his life obeying him!
As hard as those years were and as some days still are, I now see that Jacob’s differences are a gift from God to our family. Maybe you have a diagnosis you never wanted or perhaps someone you love does. Maybe you don’t have a name for what makes you different, but you sense that you don’t quite fit in. May I encourage you to look for God’s mercy and goodness right in the middle of where you are?
Here are seven reasons I’m grateful that our family has Asperger’s Syndrome:
- I now know being fearfully and wonderfully made can look a thousand different ways.
- I love Jacob no matter how he behaves. He will always be mine, and that will never change! Now I better understand that God’s love for me doesn’t depend on how well I behave. I will always be His, and that will never change.
- I no longer judge parents whose kids are melting down in Walmart. Humility is a good thing.
- Life is more fun with someone who sees the world in a different way. Jacob makes me laugh out loud at least once a day.
- We feel the love of God so personally through kind and knowledgeable doctors, therapists, and our church family. They overlook a thousand offenses!
- Many of Jacob’s strengths come from the way his brain is wired. He can already tutor me in math. He speaks the truth without fear. He remembers and notices details that slide right past me. His gifts make our family and the Body of Christ stronger.
- The gospel has become sweeter to me since I see how utterly inadequate I am as a mother and how humbly dependent I am on God’s grace and care for my family.
Perhaps God has placed people in your family whom you don’t understand. Maybe others don’t understand you. This Thanksgiving as we gather together, broken though we all are, what if instead of fighting against our differences, we give thanks to our wise Father for His creativity? What if we bear with one another in kindness and love?
We already know His will for us: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:16–18). God loves all of His children with all of our special needs. I’m thankful for that.