Yesterday at church, our children sang a few Christmas songs. Squirt's class sang The Friendly Beasts (which my MIL had informed us the day prior was a Peter, Paul, & Mary tune...who knew?). Then Moose's class joined them. After his few (loud) whispers of "hi, Steve Rogers [Captain America's alter ego]" and copied shushing [to me], the classes sang a version of Joy to the World. Then the littles departed and left the big kids to sing and sign We Three Kings. Very good signing and I was very proud of my boys. Squirt for not bursting out in tears (which he looks like he'll do each time he's in front of a crowd) and Moose for keeping his hands out of his pants (an on-going problem, although his belly made a few appearances).
Then about 5 kids took part, front and center stage, to share some of their memory verses from this semester. Moose was last. He said 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstance, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." He ended with "Merry Christmas!"
I was in tears. He said it clearly with good volume and slow enough to be precise. It was beautiful and you could tell he was just joyful being in front of the crowd. God has good things planned for this very special gift.
Since that performance, Big A and I have received (and some to Moose himself, if you can catch his attention) many compliments and praise for how well he did. So many in our congregation said they were so proud of him. Big A said one mom said she needed to come over to see how we worked on verse memorization.
Here's the thing: we're horrible at it! I try to have the boys memorize verses and they do well, but our "program" is sparse. If we remember at breakfast, we say it. It may be days between times (or weeks, I'll be honest).
This got me to thinking. All the really cool things that Moose can do despite (or because of???) his autism: learning to read so early, memorizing things so easily. It's all a gift from God. Yes, I read a LOT to him as a baby/toddler/kid (less now that he reads to himself but I need to pick it up again). Yes, we practice memory verses over and over (although inconsistently). Even his speech that has come SO far from a high-pitched jumble of sounds and words to where you can understand him (although those "wh" questions have a ways to go for conversation), is a gift from God. Yes, much hard work by him, myself, and speech therapists has been put in. Much much work. But we could have worked every day on speech, every day on reading, every day on behaviors, every day on memorization. And it could have been fruitless. It could have been for nothing.
Yet God works miracles. He has taken this brain that transmits information in different (NOT wrong, just different) ways. A brain He himself formed whilst this baby lay in my womb. A brain that He arranged the neurons in, forming their own pattern not typical to our society. A brain that He personally designed to work exactly how He had in mind. He has taken this brain and helped it grow. He gave my little Moose the ability to work hard, to improve his speech, to memorize things probably better than most Hollywood actors even, to develop friendships, to reach out and love the One who made him.
That has nothing to do with my mothering ability. The sin, I pass on. The miracles are all God.
Lord, thank you for these miracles that may be overlooked. This day I praise You, One who made all, for the good things you have made. For the fruit I have seen in Moose's life, in Squirt's life. I have seen young boys who know their sin, who repent of their sins, and who (like me) make the same mistakes but continue to strive for You. Thank you for not giving up on us, for loving us so much (even as we continue to sin against You) that you sent your One Son for us. To live for us, to show us perfection, and then ultimately to die for us so that we do not have to be eternally separated from You but can have that eternal life with You through the blood of your sweet Son. Amen