My son Jonathan’s disabilities diagnosis came on December 3, 1999. At that time, Thanksgiving was behind us, but Christmas was coming fast. What would I buy a child whose only interest was (and still is) anything spinning (including him): fans, water, vacuum cleaners, and washing machines? I cried in every toy aisle that year, thinking, Is this really what life is going to be like?
Sixteen years have passed since that first Christmas we faced as a special-needs family. There have been other hopeless holidays since then, but over time, my perspective has changed. My new outlook has brought more blessing and joy than I could have imagined. You see, crying my way up and down those toy aisles, I wasn’t able to see the most amazing gift I had already received: freedom. And in the “gift box,” there wasn’t just this one gift but many. Sixteen years later, the box is still overflowing, and I know the gifts will continue pouring out for the rest of my life. Through that gift of freedom and my son’s life, I’ve been given a new perspective.
Loving a child with great limits allows me to see just how many gifts God gives us in life. Just consider the gift of freedom. Most of us possess the freedom to choose, to take action, and to make adjustments in attitudes and goals; we have freedom in the way we think, learn, and behave. Jon’s body doesn’t allow him such freedom.
What about the ability to move our bodies as we wish? Most people can walk, run, throw, play, swing, sit, and rest—a remarkable gift that my son isn’t given on this earth.
One gift I cherish is the delight of companionship. I’m able to enjoy the intimacy, encouragement, communication, and fun that come with having close companions. In heaven, I will delight in sharing that gift with my son, but on earth, relationships are difficult for him to enjoy.
In the months ahead, consider the abundance of your gifts . . . the freedom to see, walk, smell, think, play, learn, and forgive are a few to get you thinking. Oh, and one more thing—no matter what you may be struggling with, you can always find at least one gift that God has given you . . . every day of your life.