Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A is for Acceptance

A is for Awesome

A is for Adorable

A is for Adventurous

A is for Amazing

A is for Autistic

Owen has autism. This isn't a shock. In fact, deep within my soul, I've "known" for about two years. It was confirmed this week. Even though I was thoroughly expecting to hear those words, it was still a moment where time stood still. A moment where I'll never forget what I was wearing, what the office looked like. Or the pain of the crushing blow to my stomach as I sat in the chair watching Owen play on the floor as my mind carefully etched that moment into my memory forever.

Owen is brilliant. Although I am as just  biased as the next parent, I can assure you his mind holds the capacity to do great things. But, he thinks differently. Everything to him is a puzzle. Something that needs to be solved, or mastered. At the age of  about 20 months he knew his alphabet, could complete a puzzle, newly opened from a package and could recognize numbers to 20.

While receiving this diagnosis is hard, I kept telling myself to just "accept it" and move on. Accept what? He's my son. He woke up this morning no differently than he has anything other morning. The word AUTISM is not stamped on his forehead. There is nothing to "accept" except for the fact that this child, is uniquely and beautifully created. This is who Owen is, and who he will forever be. We will not run from it, nor will we dwell on it as if we have received grave, horrific news.

Let me tell you what Owen is NOT: Owen is not autism, he is not kidney disease, he is not a boy with scars representing a life of sickness.

Instead let me share with you who Owen IS: Owen is a child of God who has a mind that was perfectly created so beautifully and intelligently that we cannot understand it. Owen is a child of God who has a beautiful body with scars that represent a life that has been full of so many miracles, and so many prayers answered, and so many lives that were touched. Owen represents a life that I know was created for amazing things. I am still in awe of the work his life has already done for the Kingdom of God. Whether or not this Child ever speaks a full sentence, his purpose is to do great things, and I have faith The Lord will carry them out.

Receiving this diagnosis actually opens up many new doors for Owen that we have been praying for. Specific therapies and grants for private schools will now be on the table to apply for, because of this diagnosis we can move forward into allowing Owen to develop faster, communicate more effectively and live a fuller, happier life. Because of this diagnosis Owen, is still Owen.

We will return to the Autism Center in November for a more in depth meeting with an entire team to evaluate each step of the testing process that Owen has completed. At that time we will have a better idea of where he falls on the spectrum, any new therapies to introduce and basically where to go from here.

Right now, honestly nothing changes. Owen is still the same, sweet, gentle, loving, sensitive Owen. He is compassionate, caring, smart, and kind. And no, he doesn't encompass every characteristic of what you may know about autism. But that's why it's a spectrum.

My biggest prayer is that as grows he knows and understands our love for him, and can comprehend the love of Jesus. That his life will be full of joy and love. I am confident that as The Lord carefully created Owen He planned this very well. As I pray over Owen each night, this is one of the few times of the day where he sustains eye contact with me. As we Thank Jesus for dying on the cross and sing "Jesus Loves Me" he fills in the blanks when I stop singing.

So yes, Owen has autism. Yes, he is a kidney transplant recipient under immunosupression and there are tons of germs floating around and he could get sick at any point. Yes, he's developmentally delayed, socially behind.

I "accept" it. It's okay. The Lord chose me to raise this child that He uniquely created, and He does not make mistakes. Nothing about Owen is a mistake.

Instead of worrying about what this means for Owen or our family, I will dwell on the fact that Owen is a miracle from the hand of the Lord, who so many medical professionals doubted would not be here today.

"Difficulty is actually the atmosphere surrounding a miracle, or a miracle in its initial stage. Yet if it is to be a great miracle, the surrounding condition will not be simply a difficulty but an utter impossibility. And it is the clinging hand of His child that makes a desperate situation a delight to God." (Streams in the Desert)

There are many parts of this journey that have been difficult, but as a look back that is when our faith has been it's strongest and The Lord's presence felt the thickest. If I've learned anything from our time with Owen, it's that The Lord is never finished growing us. He's still working on our family. This is a new leg of our journey. And this time, I'm not afraid.

Deuternonomy 31:8
"It is The Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."