Are you thankful for tics this Thanksgiving season? You’re not? When my son was first diagnosed, I wasn’t either. But today, from a place of experience and growth, I am happy for the character building that has come from this crazy ride.
“How is that possible?” You might ask, before reaching through the computer and throttling me with frayed nerves shot from hearing 30 minutes of throat clears on the way to morning drop off. “I’m terrified my kid is going to be made fun of. Or worse, that this condition will be harder for him than it is for me!”
I get it. I really do. And all I can offer is my own experience, which is this: 6 years later, my son is totally fine. Yes, he still tics (last night his vocals were driving me a bit nutty … low gulps and clucks) but he completely embraces with who he is — not a kid with Tourettes, but a kid who creates video games, loves his sister, rocks math class, has a gaggle of geeky computer boys at our house every Friday night and, oh yeah, he tics. It’s a microcosm of who he is in the grand picture.
Yes, people ask him about his tics sometimes. And he always gives them the same answer: “Jesus made me this way.” I never saw myself as a religious person, but from the vantage point of time, I realize just how much my faith has meant to me and how much it’s shaped my son’s worldview of himself.
I really came to believe that our God is the same yesterday, today and in the future. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) If this is true, then God does not make mistakes. Which means my son’s TS was not a mistake.
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well … ” (Psalm 139:13) Oh, yes, does Stink know it.
Which leads me once again back to me. How do I know God’s plan for my life? And how does this relate to Tourette Syndrome? I know not because someone thumped me on the head with a Bible or dragged me to church. I know not because someone drowned me in holy water and made me accept the Lord to live.
I know from hitting rock bottom in my marriage and my parenting. It was only when I took a chance that maybe, just maybe, there was something outside of my own spinning brain that was guiding my steps, that I started to heal. It took a while, but God was patient. Turns out I didn’t have to understand it all at once. I only had to have a little bit of faith.
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” (Matthew 17:20) Ironically, that passage comes from a section in the Bible where Jesus heals a boy with a demon.
I have often wondered if perhaps this child did not have “evil spirits” in him but just a bad case of tics that people didn’t understand. I wish I could have been there to hug that boy’s mother and father and let them know that, “Hey, you are not alone. I get it.” (But hey, they got the Big Guy himself. They didn’t need me!)
But it’s likely do. And I do. We all need each other to support and encourage us along this journey. As I begin my new job as the female voice for Believe.com, I am looking forward to sharing my faith as it relates to marriage, parenting and Tourette’s.
I hope you’ll visit me over there so we can all grow together. It’s a Christian website, but for those of you who are not Christian, you are welcome also! I’d love to learn more about your background. And of course, I’ll always write here. Until next time, hug that ticcer of yours today.