Unexpected Joy

Design by Jeslyn Lanier

Design by Jeslyn Lanier

Our first 5 children were born fairly close together and my husband and I agreed that our family was complete.  Four years after the 5th one was born we had some unexpected news, baby 6 was on the way! We were thrilled and thankful for this gift from the Lord. The day Lawton was born, we had many things that were unexpected. Our baby boy was in distress and when he was first born, we were not sure he would survive. By God's mercy, he did survive and our family of 8 adjusted pretty well. 

During Lawton's first couple of years, I noticed a few developmental things that weren't quite the same as his 5 siblings before him. I sought advice from my pediatrician, a developmental doctor, a speech therapist, and an occupational therapist. Test results brought many unexpected questions and some unexpected answers. While our boy didn't fit any criteria exactly, it was clear that he had some developmental delays and some autistic tendencies. For years, when asked rude questions like "what's wrong with him?”, we simply said, "nothing is wrong with him, he's a perfect Lawton!" A dear friend coined the phrase "he has lawtism" which we have used since then. Recently Lawton told me to just "call it what it is, Autism." That was unexpected!  Lawton was created in the image of God on purpose for His purpose.

I never expected to be the mom of a child with special needs and I can tell you, I did not want to be that! But God, in His sovereignty has called me to it and I had to come to the point of gladly doing it for His glory. The grief I experienced was unexpected. If you are the parent of a child with special needs, you must grieve. You must grieve that the child you thought you had is not the child you have. But, my friend, joy comes in the morning! The unexpected joy that I have because of my precious son reminds me that the Father rejoices over me! The unconditional love I have for my boy, is a tiny glimpse of the marvelous unconditional love that my Heavenly Father has for me. If we take a look at ourselves we will see that we all have loads of special needs, but God in His mercy and grace loves us and gave His son for us so that we can experience life with Him.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
— Romans 5:8
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
— Psalm 139:13-14
The Lord your God is in your midst
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
— Zephaniah 3:17