Who Cares About the Alphabet?
I have always said, "I don’t care what my kids are when they are grown up, as long as they love the Lord.”
Have you ever noticed how you can say a thing, and not really realize the full implication of your statement? Like: "I am not buying anything from China for all of 2015.” Oh, but I do digress. That is another story for another day. Back to "I don’t care what my kids are when they grow up." Because I don’t have worldly ambitions for my kids, I am not prideful in who they are, it is not about me, NOT! Those were exactly the things I was thinking and feeling.
I really meant: I don’t care what they do when they grow up as long as they have successful, established carriers, married, with a home and children, and are serving God. That way, I will be able to pass all that info along to my old lady friend over coffee. So that I can tell her all about how well all my children turned out, and of course how that says something about me, all said with a humble smile.
Yes, that is truly what I used to mean when I made the statement “I don’t care what our kids are when they grow up.” It is so hard to type those words about myself, my old self, thankfully. God has grown me in many ways. It could only be through HIM. I was (and really still am, but I’m fighting not to be) a white washed tomb from Matthew 23:27.
My own hypocrisy was never more evident than the day I had all my kids at a large educational presentation with 200+ people. They asked for volunteers to come up on stage, and of course many eager little hands shot up. One of them was the boy, my boy, who was lucky enough to get called up on stage.
Now, none of my other children ever volunteered to go up on stage. I guess they took a cue from mom—you never know what is going to happen up there, you are not in control if you go up on someone else’s stage! So I sat there, my tension mounting, as I tried not to meet the intense gazes of my other kids who were willing me to tackle the boy, to hold him down, to hold an intervention preventing him going up on stage. They knew as well as I did that we were not in control with him up on the stage. OH! The Boy loves to get up on stage. Really to just talk, to have people listen to him—he has had so little of that in his life—and so we never know what he is going to say. It could be what he likes to eat, or what he has done that day, or it could be a part of his “before.” A past I wish he didn’t remember, but more than that, I wish he didn’t have. I wish I could somehow have found him when he was tiny, and wrapped him up and rocked and nursed him, and loved him, and listened to him, and then maybe he wouldn’t need and try so hard now to make every one listen to him. But, that wasn’t the plan, GOD’S PERFECT PLAN, and my boy does love to talk to everyone and tell them lots of things. He has never met a stranger—it really is one of his gifts and strongest assets, we just hope to mold it a little :)
So, that day as he walked up on the stage with a huge grin, I tried to calm myself with the thought that they wouldn’t give him enough time to really get going with a “story.” And then it happened. They started on the end of the line asking every child what they wanted to be when they grew up. I thought I would fall off my chair. As the host went down the line, the kids each had amazing aspirations.
By now my bigger kids were flipping out, because they knew what he was going to say. Yes, my kids have learned pride from their good old mom, and are being taught the same lessons I am. The thought flashed across my mind to go get him off the stage, but going up on stage would have been only slightly less embarrassing than what he was about to say.
Here is the thing: I am about to sound really stuck up, and I guess I am. I was. I have grown, and God has changed me. People, please still be my friends.
I knew what he was going to say. We talk about it a lot, and I think it might be a good job for him. It is an aspiration, it probably will be a stretch for him to actually be able to get this job with some of his disabilities. But gosh, it isn’t the job most moms brag about their kids having. I NOW know I am not ‘most moms’ and he is not ‘most kids’. This was hard for me to learn, and I still struggle with it sometimes. So I did it. I actually prayed, “Please don’t let him say he wants to work at McDonalds.” Yep, I am that shallow!
They came to my boy. How would I ever look all those other parents in the eye? They would know I was a sham, they would know me for who I am. I can’t even teach my kids enough to want to have good jobs when they grow up. I will never live up to all those other moms, and now they will all know how epically I am failing, because it was still all about me at this point. I braced myself. I was ready for it. I could take it. And he said, “I want to be…”
“…a dentist.” He had never said that before, he never said that again, and in my moment of sheer shock, did I feel relief? Not a drop. I felt HORRIBLE! I wanted to cry. I realized then and there that I never wanted to care what other people thought about my boy. I knew in that moment the deep and true meaning of Psalm 139:14 “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Yes, at that moment so many things became so clear to me.
My boy has taught me more in his three short years living with us than all my other kids put together. When the other kids all grow, move out, and leave me to go off to their amazing jobs and lives, (Not really—I have grown past that, or at least I am still fighting, because I want to grow past that.) my boy will be here with me. He will always be living at home with me. I hope I will be able to drive him to the job he has always wanted, and I will proudly tell all my old lady friends “He works at McDonalds! We are SOOO proud of him!”
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
The first part of this story happened about 3 years ago, not long after we adopted our son. This past week, we had a similar occurrence. We were with a smaller, more intimate group of friends, and some of the kids had prepared to speak about missionaries their family knew. Our family had done no such preparation, but as they called for volunteers up shot the boy’shand. I didn’t have the same fear. I have grown, he has grown, but I still did not know what he was going to say. It could have been about dinner, or dogs. OH! But my boy, he surprised me. I do not give him enough credit! God enough credit! I did not know the work HE has been doing in my boy’s heart! The treasure that has been stored there!
You see, it is really very hard to get things (facts, information) stored in my boy. This very day, just hours before we met with friends to talk about missionaries, I was doing some school work with him. We were trying to alphabetize some words, and he could not remember the alphabet. He just could not get past ‘e’. I would say it, we said it together, but when we went back to the alphabetizing he could not do it. So we stopped, and we tried some other school work. That is what a lot of school days look like and I am fine with it now. We will keep trying, and some day it might click, but it might not and that is ok. :)
So, when he went up front to talk about the missionaries we know, I had no idea what he would say. How could we practice a speech about missionaries when he could not even remember the alphabet that day? You know what! THE ALPHABET DOSENT MATTER!! My Boy shared about our friends. He shared the things he has heard us say, the things he heard them say before they packed up their nine children and moved around the world. He shared parts of a sermon I know he heard with us about walking through the “doors” God has for you. He shared about God’s calling and love for all of our lives. I don’t care if he ever remembers the alphabet, or the silent ‘e’ rule, or counting because he got IT and that is what matters to me.
1 Corinthians 1:25 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”