Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. James 1:17
“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” I hear the screams in the wee hours of the morning. The screams that have woken me from a state of sleep I seemed to have just fallen into. As I fumble around in the dark, I hear the screams again: “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”
As I open the door, I hear the small faint whisper of what has distressed this little child so-an earache. Not exactly what I wanted to hear after having just battled three straight cases of strep in 2 months. Really? Was the poor little guy sick again? So, I did the usual-Motrin, back rubs, hushed whispers, but still only howls of pain.
Then I did the only thing that used to calm this same child 6 years ago when he was a floppy, cuddly baby. Picked him up (now about 28 pounds heavier, and much, much longer), made a bed on the couch, and laid his sweet little head on my chest.
While he slept, and I watched the clock tick-1:22, 1:23, 1:24…I started to reminisce about those many months when this was the only way this little boy would sleep, as well as the many things this little one has taught me in the last 6 years.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 5:3-4
Our children often teach us more than we could ever learn on our own. In my 36 years I have learned more about myself, others, love, and life in the last 6 years than any book or other experience has or could have ever taught me.
With our “monster” it has been one thing after another. “He isn’t growing enough. Let’s test for cystic fibrosis.” “He isn’t walking yet. Let’s make sure he doesn’t have any neurological reason for this.” “He’s a little floppy, let’s try physical therapy.” “He’s not talking, banging his head, rigid, not social…we think he has autism.”
In the last 6 years I have learned I have more peace and strength than I ever thought I would have. Through the strength only given by Him, I endured each one of these painful visits with one little head laying firmly against my beating heart.
It is also in the last 6 years I have learned not to judge a “book” by its cover. What we see on the outside is often not a true reflection of what is really going on at home, beyond the surface of a child’s tantrum in a store, beyond the harsh words or attitude of a stranger.
In these last 6 years I have endured brutal tantrums, been slapped, kicked, confused, broken, and worn down by a 36 pound bundle of fury. Some days I have wanted to run away. Some days I have wished just “once” Hunter would be “normal.” And, I am more patient, strong, and resilient than I ever thought I would be. All because Christ decided to give this little boy to me.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7
Most importantly, I learned how to love. Unconditionally. To look beyond the faults, the inadequacies, the sins, and the disabilities of others. To realize love goes far beyond being able to say the words.
Because this was the greatest gift God gave me.
And, the greatest lesson Hunter has taught me.
No matter how many fights I endure, outbursts I have to get through, or the sleepless nights I lay on the couch with a little boy listening to the sound of my beating heart, the only thing that will ever truly matter, whether he can get the words out or not, is love.
At all times. In all conditions. Despite the circumstances. Even when the words aren’t said. Unconditionally.
To love. As He sent my sweet little “monster” to teach me.
To love. As He first loved me.