A few weeks ago, our youngest son, Jeremy, who has Autism, confided in his therapist that someone had called him "Autistic Jeremy," and called his attention to the fact that not everyone needs a therapist, but he does since he has Autism.
He asked her what that meant. He asked her why he needed a therapist. My heart broke as she described his sense of panic, shame and confusion. When asked how we should proceed, I explained that we don't hide things from our kids, and that I'd like him to know exactly how God created him. With that as a background, here is an open letter to my precious son.
My dear Jeremy,
I couldn't be more thankful to have you for a son. Your Daddy and I deeply love you and are grateful God has blessed us with someone so precious as you. We firmly believe in the sovereignty of God, that He is in control of all things, that He completely chose you to be exactly who you are even before the world was created. You have been fearfully and wonderfully made. God formed your inward parts and knit you together in my womb nine years ago. God made you special, Jeremy. He never makes mistakes. You are precious. You have much to be thankful for!!!
One day, I hope you will love and understand who God is. I know you're learning about him now at home and in Sunday School. We're praying that you grow up to understand and embrace the gospel, and come to believe in Jesus Christ who gave His life for you – a perfect sacrifice – so that you might have a relationship with God, your Creator, who is holy. We're praying that you will understand that the wrong things you do need to be taken to the cross, that you need forgiveness for them – and this is only done through the perfect sacrifice of God's Son, Jesus. It's amazing that God, in His mercy, has offered salvation to us through the death and resurrection of His Son. It's amazing that we can then find our identity in Christ, wretched though we are, through the imputation of his righteousness, and that our old selves become new. See?? More things to be thankful for!!
I'm so thankful you love to hear about Jesus, that you love the Bible stories Daddy reads to you every night. Your thirst for more thrills us. And the way you're repeating what you're learning is encouraging and a testament to how you're growing smarter every day. God gave you an amazing brain, Jeremy. The way you view things, grapple with concepts, think through issues might be different from others, but is completely valid, it's who you are, and it's immensely fascinating to us. You've taught us more in your eight little years than ever. Again, we have so much to be thankful for.
'Autistic Jeremy?' Nah, you don't have to accept that one, honey, especially by itself. Yes, you do have Autism. God, in His wisdom, decided that Autism would be a part of your journey, but that's not who you are. It may be one little
piece of your puzzle, but that's not the whole picture. You're also 'Fun Jeremy,' 'Happy Jeremy,' 'Curious Jeremy,' 'Laughing Jeremy,' 'A Good Friend Jeremy,' 'Thoughtful Jeremy,' 'Loving Jeremy,' 'Cuddly Jeremy,' 'Silly Jeremy,' 'Amazing Jeremy,' and many other things. And please remember this: you will never be alone on this journey. We're walking through this life with you, sweetheart. You are loved by so many. But most of all, you're deeply loved by the One who made you. He will never leave you.
God reminds us in the Bible that we are to be thankful in
every circumstance, that we are not to be anxious about anything, but we are to bring our requests to Him with thanksgiving, for He is good! We are never to question God as to why He made us the way He did. We are to be thankful for making us exactly who we are. He knows best!
Here is a short, quick list of what you have to be thankful for, my sweet boy:
• God created you -- and He did an amazing job;
• God gave you a (huge) family who loves you;
• God blessed you with a love for others that's admirable;
• You have an excitement towards learning new things;
• You're now an uncle (at 8 yrs old) to baby Noah John;
• You have the best Daddy ever, God chose him for you!
• God has blessed you with dear friends;
• You are in good health, can run, see, hear, speak!
• You have a tender heart towards spiritual things;
• You have a home with a warm bed, food to eat,
& clothes to wear;
So, Jeremy. If people throw labels at you, if they make fun of you, if they call you names, remember Who they're really criticizing is the God of this universe, the God Who made you, the God Who knows best and Whose ways are far above our ways, Whose thoughts are far above our thoughts. Just smile at them and be thankful. Be thankful for who God created you to be, even if they don't understand who you really are. You're fearfully and wonderfully made. You're a child of the King! You're just who you need to be at this moment. And I'm proud, so very proud to be able to call you my son. I love you.