Free to Be

Free to BeMother’s Day 2012. At our annual lunch celebration, I sat with my niece Jessica and my son Jon. Jessica, only a few months younger than Jon, looked absolutely stunning. Full of life and intellectually gifted, she carries a joyful wonder about life that is so delightful. As I watched her, I began to recall the days and weeks and years she and Jon played together. Over time, Jon’s challenges caused major differences in how the two could relate—a heavy heartache most caregivers hold inside because nothing can change that reality.

My attention turned to my son Jon. Full of joy, he handed me his handmade gift—a butterfly knotted together by pipe cleaners and set in a little pink bucket. His card, a piece of construction paper roughly folded and written with hands that don’t cooperate with a pencil very well, simply said, “To mom, love jon.” Then, the moment passed. His excitement was overtaken by hunger, exhaustion, and quietness as he looked out the window. I wondered what he was thinking, which happens often when he gazes out a window. I long to know his thoughts; perhaps there are not many, and sometimes they must be complicated.

Later that afternoon, I placed the gift on our fireplace mantel and held the card close to my heart. Jon had given me more than a gift and card . . . he had given me a gift from his soul. Because of his Tourette’s syndrome and lack of motor-skill functioning, I knew he had to have worked on his gift for a long time. I thanked the Lord for Jon’s hands that worked; and I thanked the Lord for showing me Jon’s heart.

Mother’s Day was especially emotional as I sat next to my son and Jessica. It’s taken time to let go of my wishes and accept their differences. I’ve learned the letting go process is the path God uses to shift my earthly perspective, seeing through eyes of the soul rather than my broken ones. When I’m surrendered, God’s word speaks grace and peace into each situation.

This day was no different. The Lord brought one of His truths to my mind. Both individuals are children of God, created in His image for a specific purpose in this life. One of Jon’s grand purposes (though he has no idea of this gift) is to remind me of simple faith and God’s unconditional love. The Lord sees our hearts, not how well we can present ourselves or perform grand accomplishments. Life with God is about being His child. I was reminded of Paul’s words to the Colossians. Chapter 3:12–13, 16–17 in The Message reads:

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. . . . And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail of your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God every step of the way.