I grew up in a three story Victorian home that was built in 1904. It was a beautiful home filled with antiques, stained glass, ornate wood, and lovely heirlooms…you know, the perfect house for five rowdy kiddos to grow up in! Don’t get me wrong, between all of us children there were many plays, singing into kitchen utensils, and daring stunts down flights of stairs, but all within the walls of a museum-like, gorgeous home. Christian values were definitely taught and encouraged in our home. We were also taught an appreciation for fine things- and their “value”.
As I grew up, married, and began a family of my own, this carried over into my own household. I wanted everything to look nice. I wanted, as my Nana used to say, “A thing for every place, and a place for everything.” I “took” to the decorating of my first home and enjoyed making everything look beautiful. And, truth be told, I probably placed a whole lot more value on all the “stuff” in my home than I should have. That’s the way of our culture nowadays isn’t it? You know, the whole Keeping Up with the Jones’ mentality?
But the Lord has a funny way of rearranging our hearts, if we allow Him to…and that’s just what He did. Through a series of moves and experiences, the Lord began to open my heart to a new way of thinking and a new value system when it comes to “things”. I still love to decorate and I still love pretty things, but I certainly don’t have to have them to feel good about my family and our household and I no longer feel that they are necessities in life.
And then Ezra came. As our sweet baby grew and it became more and more apparent that he does in fact, have Autism, it also became apparent that the “pretty things” had to be put away. Here are two truths for you: Truth #1- our home is filled with much laughter, snuggles, singing, happiness, and love. Truth #2- our home is also filled with spitting, throwing, tearing, breaking, screaming, and hitting. It’s all part of this thing called Autism. It is now our way of life. Each day we work with Ezra to help him control his impulses and to teach him appropriate behaviors. He is learning more each day, but we still have a ways to go.
Upon moving back home to East Texas, we were given a beautiful red lamp with a burlap shade. I loved it! It looked perfect sitting on my end table right beside our couch…for about a week. Then, one day, Ezra was struggling and he pulled it down. Crash! Time for a new lamp.
Next was an iron-looking lamp. It looked sturdy. Surly it could withstand the forces of a three year old? And because our current living room is a tad on the dark side, and because I really like the subtle glow of a lamp in my living room, I plugged it in. Then, one day, Ezra was struggling and he threw a shoe at the lamp. Crash! Time for a new lamp.
You get the idea.
This happened several more times and became sort of a joke around our house. We would joke about the “monthly lamp” (don’t worry; we resorted to the $10 lamps from Wal-Mart a long time ago). I would like to insert this brag: Our current lamp has been around for at least three months now. Granted, you can only turn it on by plugging it into the wall because the button has long since been broken off and it has a few dents in it from Ezra’s toy trains.
But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. The Lord has used my special boy to teach me so many things. Having a child with Autism has certainly given me a new perspective on life, love, and priorities. I now place much more value on the eternal rather than the temporary.
Having a child with Autism does not make for a home that is flashy, fluffy, or fancy. If you come to our house, most of the “pretty things” are still put away. Our home is not full of such things…but it does have two beautiful children who fill this momma’s heart until it is overflowing.
Yes, I have exquisite treasures in my home- they are kisses, tight hugs, finger painted works of art, little voices that call me "Momma", and sounds of rejoicing over even the smallest of their accomplishments. And, it does have this month’s lamp in it!
I am so thankful that the Lord has a way of rearranging our hearts and of teaching us what’s most important, aren’t you?
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21