I find it fascinating that in the Old Testament, God constantly reminds His people of the past and asks them to build altars to remember the works He has done. For me, I find it really helpful to do the same: to think about specific ways God has been faithful in the past as a way of fighting fear over the future. And it is just good to remember and to express my gratefulness to God.
Friday was the two year mark since Will's autism diagnosis. October 17, 2006 is definitely an altar in my heart to remind me of the faithfulness of God toward me and my family. I was thinking of this yesterday when Will had a school holiday, Reese was in preschool, and Luke stayed home to sleep while Kyle worked from home and Will and I went out to run errands and pick out a birthday present for a classmate of his. Will helped me pick out prizes for his class Halloween party, choose things for his lunches for school, and just walked alongside me as I did the grocery shopping. It was such an enjoyable morning, something that would not have been 2 years ago. We used to have meltdowns and tantrums on shopping trips and understanding a birthday party and picking something out for a friend would have been impossible. Instead, I listened as he told the toy store lady it was a gift for a friend and, yes, he'd like it wrapped. I answered questions like, "What's that Mommy?" and "Can I have this?", questions any kid would ask their Mom but are new in our world. We talked in the car about school and what he enjoys about it and we sang along together to the kid CD. I listened as he asked politely for a sticker at the grocery store. I loved the look on his face when, as we were waiting for the gift to be wrapped, I showed him cups with names on it and we looked for all his friends names.
It is such a wonderful feeling to watch my son break out of the chains of autism and come alive. He is curious, loving, playful with his brothers, and fascinated with learning and trying new things. I love to see him do so many things by himself and to be able to tell me things that are finally letting me into his world.
I know that one day I won't be writing about autism anymore. It never has defined him, but it's been a big part of our lives. It's becoming less and one day I know it's going to fade into the past. But because I attribute his growth to God's faithfulness to act in his life and bring people into our lives that have made such a difference, I will always remember and hold that day two years ago as an altar in my heart to Him.
On another note, Kyle is running the Marine Corp marathon in D.C. on Sunday in honor of Will and to support autism research. He has raised nearly $3000 for the Organization for Autism Research!! I will post pictures when he's done. Pray for him! He's getting a cold and the race is in 5 days!!