Parenting is really tough sometimes, huh? As Christian parents we try and hang onto the great proverb “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV), but sometimes our human minds start playing games with us, bringing us back to places we don’t necessarily want to return to.
It was back in February of the year 2000 – Jeffrey was almost 8 years old. He was working very hard at his speech, but try as we may sometimes Gary and I just couldn’t understand what he was saying.
But he was a whiz at spelling, so his speech therapist taught him that if someone couldn’t understand a word, spell it out. So came that evening…
I’d finished praying with Jeffrey before bed, and all of a sudden he looked at me and said, “… Jesus.” I wasn’t getting the other words he was saying, so I asked him to spell a few words. Unfortunately I still couldn’t make out what he was trying to say, so I told him I was so sorry, but I just wasn’t getting it (yes my heart was breaking).
He all of a sudden looked right at me and said as clear and as slow as he could, “Someday I’ll see Jesus.”
My heart pretty much stopped beating, because our son Matthew used to talk about Jesus all the time (The Purity of a Child’s Heart), and I was starting to freak wondering if this was a precursor to losing yet another special boy.
Yet as a mommy I needed to be brave, so I put on my big girl face and said,“Yes, honey, someday we’ll all see Jesus, and we’ll live with him forever.”
But then my heart dropped down out of my chest, as Jeffrey continued: “And Jesus will help me walk.”
I was really struggling not to cry at this point, but I looked at him and said, “Yes, honey, Jesus will help you walk.”
I tucked him in and gave him goodnight kisses, barely maintaining my composure. I left his bedroom and just wept, crying out to my Father, “Oh no, Lord, it’s not time for You to take Jeffrey home also, is it?”
Then a couple days later I went to get Jeffrey up from bed, and he said to me, “I’m a big boy, but I can’t climb up the stairs.” A few minutes later he repeated the same thing, and then added, “I can go down the stairs okay, but I can’t go up.”
My mind was whirling – why all of a sudden was he so fixated on all this? Was he just now becoming more aware of how different he was than the other kids? Were kids making fun of him at school? Was I going to be able to handle all this correctly?
I did what I could. I went and cuddled with him and told him Jesus made him very special, and that mommy and daddy would help Jeffrey learn how to climb the stairs and that we’d pray that Jesus would help too. And indeed we did try very hard to help him walk up the stairs, with either Gary or myself holding him up from behind and teaching him how to lift one leg at a time to reach up to the next stair.
However these two particular instances drew me again and again to the Lord in tears. “Oh, Lord, I’m just hurting. He’s such a special boy and I cannot help but wonder how much longer before you heal him. I know I must keep my focus on You and not lose hope for this is how the enemy tries to get to me. My eyes must remain heavenward – Lord, You are the One I trust, and my hope is in You…”
Oh to remember that the Lord’s timetable is so much different than ours (2 Peter 3:8). God is certainly able to do anything at any time – and that included healing our little boy and enabling him to walk (Pulling Up My Faith Boot-Straps and Stepping Out)! We must remain patient.
Yes it is very hard being a parent, because we want the best for our kids. But we must keep our eyes on our Jesus, and our Heavenly Home – because heaven will be forever, and this earth is just for now.
Easier said than done sometimes, huh?