I remember watching my two-year-old play shortly after he was diagnosed with autism in June 2009. Suddenly, all of those little things that made him uniquely “Luke” – those idiosyncrasies that made me giggle in amusement and smile with pride – made me cringe. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I see him for the joyful, carefree child that he is? Suddenly, all I could see was autism, and those behaviors were a constant reminder.
A year ago, or even six months ago, I probably would have laughed (or cried) in your face if you told me that I would be blogging about the blessings of raising a uniquely designed child. Don’t get me wrong, it’s challenging for me on even the best days, but there are also priceless gifts that I never saw coming. By sharing my struggles and unexpected blessings in disguise, I hope to help someone else see their child for who God has created them to be.
The first book I read after my son’s diagnosis chronicled the life of Eric, from mute preschooler to class valedictorian. In his valedictory address, Eric says, “I know that God has a purpose for me even in the things about me that are different. Perhaps, especially in the things about me that are different.” That one line, with its profound simplicity and wisdom, has resonated in my mind ever since.
It was important to me to write this blog while Luke is still young, when I don’t know what his outcome will be, and while I, myself, am still in the throws of the battle, and the midst of the storm.
I am often tempted to entertain all of the questions surrounding Luke’s autism. Why did this happen to him? Could it have been prevented? Will he have a normal life? The list goes on. The only conclusion that I consistently reach is that this is an exercise in futility. I will probably never have definitive answers and the answers aren’t important. Luke is exactly the unique person that God has designed him to be, and he is perfectly equipped to completely fulfill God’s purpose and calling in his life. No matter what Luke’s ultimate outcome, no matter what therapies I choose to pursue or not pursue, no matter what, this truth stands. Luke is uniquely designed with a purpose in mind.