One of the attributes I grew up with (and still struggle with now – occasionally), is that I’m a finagler. By that I mean a schemer. I would try and figure out how I could manipulate a situation to turn it to my advantage. No, I didn’t want to really hurt anyone, I just wanted the upper hand.
Are any of you with me?
I know my poor sister could certainly tell you many stories of how I would finagle things from her. I would plot and scheme and make promises to her so that she’d do things for me – like my chores. (Provided mom didn’t catch on – if so I was in BIG TROUBLE!)
When Gary and I first got married I tried finagling him too. During little things like when he would ask me where I wanted to go for dinner:
I don’t care, honey, wherever you want to go will be just fine with me.
Are you positive?
Well, then, how about ____________________?
Oh, gee, normally that would be good, but didn’t we just have something similar the last time we went out? Maybe we should try ____________________ instead?
At first he would fall for my schemes – but then it got to the point where he’d give me the “rolly-eyed” look instead. Ugh…
When Jeffrey got close to his teens, I really fought to stand out of the way and let him make certain decisions. He already had people telling him what to do right and left because of his disabilities, so he needed to learn how to think for himself.
One day at church Jeffrey was reading the announcements, and all of a sudden he pointed to notification of a baptism class scheduled that day for baptisms to be held the following week. He really wanted to attend!
The timing was a little inconvenient, but Gary agreed to go with him to the class.
Jeffrey was so excited! That week at speech therapy, he went rushing in saying he had “great news” – he was getting baptized!
The therapist we were seeing was very supportive, but I could tell that she really didn’t understand what all the hoop-la was about, as I believe she came from a Catholic background. However Jeffrey wouldn’t let her off the hook:
Remember my baptism at 9:00 Sunday at Grace Community Church if you can come!
You could definitely tell she was flustered, but said, Well, you never know…
Then later in the week at physical therapy, his therapist asked him if anything new was going on, and Jeffrey again told her about his baptism: I’m going to have official membership in the family of Jesus Christ!
She was thrilled, as she herself had been baptized a couple months earlier. I was so proud of our son.
The day of the baptism was a day I’ll not soon forget. There were a few pitfalls as Gary tried to get him up on the stage platform, but to see the joy on his little face was so precious.
Jeffrey was the last of 7 people to be baptized that morning. He wasn’t able to stand in the baptismal like the other 6 as his personal testimony was read, but instead had to sit where you really couldn’t see him.
However, after the testimony he was asked if he loved Jesus, and understood the significance of what he was doing. Jeffrey shouted “yes” so loud he didn’t even need a microphone! (OK, I may be exaggerating a little bit.)
When Gary helped the pastor lift him up from the water, Jeffrey faced the congregation with a beaming smile on his face, and raised his little fist as if to say, ALL RIGHT!!!
You know kids sometimes make dumb decisions as they grow up (I know I certainly did). However, because of Jeffrey surrendering his life to Jesus Christ, I know without a doubt that whatever may happen, someday he’ll be with us in heaven. No longer will he be unable to walk, but instead he’ll be healthy and whole:
“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.”
Isaiah 35:5-6 (NIV) – emphasis mine.
You know, I certainly could’ve tried finagling with our son to pressure him into getting baptized, but certain things we all need to figure out by ourselves.
Oh and by the way, I have learned to not even try and finagle with God – He doesn’t fall for it! There have been a few times where I thought I’d gotten the upper hand, but then all of a sudden I’ve found myself scraping the mud off my britches after falling on my rear-end.