Joy: Recognizing The Gifts Given In Autism

The daily stress of raising children on the autism spectrum with sensory processing problems, communication problems, behavioral issues, etc. leaves us drained.  Being worn out, and having repeated bad experiences…you know, the ones where you have to leave early because of a childs’ inability to cope (read: massive tantrum requiring physical removal of kicking & screaming child) leaves one hesitant to try those things again…and over time, chronic negativity sneaks it’s way in.

Soon eyes fail and the rose-colored glasses that emphasized the beauty in the moment become grayed…smudged, and the gifts are lost.  The moment is lost, leaving the fear of what may happen…the trauma of what did.

I started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  It is a wonderful book with a beautiful challenge:  to see the gifts God has filled the earth with, and to name them, to write them down.

Her challenge is to make a list of 1000 things you are thankful for.  Those things are really gifts from our Creator.

By remaining in the moment, looking for things to be thankful for; as we recognize the gifts, time slows.

Joy increases.

Negativity is hammered out by thanksgiving hammered in, resulting in increasing joy.

I have taken the challenge, and I hope you will too!  I have posted my first 20 gifts that relate directly to my children with autism/adhd.  I hope you are encouraged to find the gifts God has showered on you, and in the middle of it, discover joy.

Ephesians 5:19b-20 says, “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

My first Twenty:

1. A child melting like chocolate into my arms

2. Uncontrolled giggles from unknown reasons

3. Understanding surpassing anxiety

4. Siblings playing, pretending together

5. Children singing, instruments strumming, praises to God

6. Glimpses into their mysterious mind

7. The sweet smell of freshly shampood hair

8. Smiles peeking under umbrellas

9. Sing-songy voices telling stories unknown

10. Children slipping off to sleep

11. Messy fingers undiscovered through fun

12. Color spreading staining paper, as tiny fingers create

13. Bright shiny  crescent shaped eyes, wet with laughter

14. Moments of fully entering his world, as Jesus entered mine

15. Treasures glowing amidst the spectrummy storms

16. My boy, eyes beaming as he gazes into the eyes of another child

17. A shining face appearing amongst a rainbow of balls

18. Discovering genius amidst silence

19. Hands uncoordinated, striving hard to create shapes with scissors

20. Eyes casting Jesus as struggles are remedied, help received

I would love to hear your thoughts, and the gifts you have discovered!  Please let me know you were here with your comments!


  1. alienhippy said,

    April 3, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    Eyes casting Jesus as struggles are remedied, help received.
    That’s just beautiful Merri.
    I fully intend to follow your lead with this in the next few days.
    What a wonderful blessing you are!
    Thanks for sharing this.
    Love you my friend.
    Lisa. xxx 🙂

    • Merri Lewis said,

      April 3, 2011 at 1:57 PM

      I am so glad you are joining me in this!! If you click on the link where I mention the book/author this comes from, it will take you to a most wonderful website/blog that Ann Voskamp keeps. She has beautiful photos on it, and I think you’ll really enjoy it. Love you too! Merri

      • alienhippy said,

        April 3, 2011 at 2:04 PM

        You know me Oh so well Merri, I never click on the links. Not good with surprises, or too much jumble.
        I’m so glad you told me what would be there.
        I will have a look when I come back.
        I am trying to catch up with all my blog reading.
        I’m doing alright, I only have 10 left…I had 34 when I came back from Church. I have had to skip a few though.
        Love ya. xxx 🙂

  2. Tammy said,

    April 4, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    #1 and #2, absolutely. I love the hugs and the giggles. They make my day. Going to the store with my son during the Christmas holidays is a fave. I love to watch the joy on his face when he looks at the Christmas decorations on display.

    • Merri Lewis said,

      April 4, 2011 at 5:10 PM

      Awww! Thanks for posting your comments!! You’re son sounds awesome! There is nothing like their eyes lighting up at the big beautifully decorated trees 🙂

  3. April 30, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    […] of the things I have noticed in the last few weeks (after keeping record of the blessings God pours down on me, unrestrained each day), is that there is actually a surprisingly large number […]

  4. February 26, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    […] treasure stone that I kept to remember the lesson I learned last year about the gifts God gives us (click here for more on that),  I have decided to “let go” of that .02% of yuck, and cling to the wonderful memories […]

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