The other day the sweet mother of one of my son’s friends told me after a playdate that my son has a real “calming/mellowing effect” on her son.
Um, what now?
This is my Hyper Tigger—the one with ADHD. “Calming,” did you say? Most days I do not feel calm in his presence. He bounces around and brings endless joy, but he isn’t exactly what I’d call
Surely she’s confusing which parent I am.
But that was my first mistake: thinking that my son couldn’t be strong in an area of weakness.
What looks like a limitation from one angle is usually a blessing from another. Why couldn’t he be soothing to someone else? Why does hyper have to define him 24/7?
My second mistake was not believing her the first time. This is the second time she has told me that. I doubted my own son because of my own limited experience and the label put on him.
You know what I see in that? God working through our weaknesses. They don’t have to be limitations when we are willing to see the labels of man as just that: “labels.” I had new appreciation for my limited view into the future when really I have no clue what weaknesses will be used for good or become strengths over time.
Who is to say a socially awkward child doesn’t turn out to be an amazing therapist, minister, salesperson?
Do fine motor strength issues rule out a future in surgery or art?
Does a struggle to read in early intervention years mean someone can’t end up a teacher—or a writer?
What about a speech delay or impediment? Does that mean no public speaking?
My poor spelling child works harder than either of my other two kids. A love of reading would have helped, but this child didn’t read as easily. Because of hard work in this area, this one may surpass us all.
So it made me ask myself: Why do we stop ourselves in the middle of the road (where labels weigh us down), accept what is given, and not consider getting across it?
If my father had accepted the first prognosis from the first medical professional 34 years ago with his first cancer, he would have welcomed a death sentence: terminal. Um, he’s still here.
He decided to cross the road.
I am socially anxious and very inward. Some days I have to talk myself into leaving the house, and yet, when I am where God wants me to be, with the people He wants me to either learn from, receive from, or minister to, He makes it easy. Suddenly, I’m not such a buffoon. I have some right words to say. And I walk away knowing something more about Him and about what amazing paths I can travel down when I don’t stop right where someone told me I had to because I wasn’t “strong” in that area.
I challenge us all to find where we have believed a label as a permanent mark on our lives, where we have sat in the middle of the road accepting our plot.
I’d like to suggest that permanent mark should be considered more of a washable marker. It’s movable, sometimes—but not always removable. It doesn’t have to stay there. Sometimes we can push it further. Sometimes we can push it entirely off.
Does that mean we will change every diagnosis? Every handicap? Every disease?
Not necessarily, but it does mean we look beyond it and see where we can act in spite of what was spoken to us. I have a dear friend fighting to raise money and awareness for her Type 1 Diabetic child. Do you think as a mother she is accepting that diagnosis and just rolling over and taking it? No. No, she is not. Another friend was told her child would not likely walk. She didn’t accept that. Friends beating up cancer with everything in them. Friends hoping and praying their “on the spectrum” children become functional adults, able to hold jobs and maybe even have families someday. A severely autistic child who writes amazing poetry. Folks climbing out of addiction and hoping their day count of sobriety continues to climb.
For me, because of my faith, I call in the impossible because I’ve seen too many very real, modern day miracles to think God can’t and doesn’t still move in our lives when we ask.
For me, limitations are just invitations to ask Him to wow the world with what He can do.
I realize I’m not the first to write on this. I also know some of us are sitting in the middle of the road still, heavy and weighted down, not sure how to get up and move on. I also know not everyone reading this shares my faith in Christ.
But can we agree to get out of the road where circumstances, prognoses, medical professionals, special education staff, teachers, family members, tests, etc., dropped some kind of definitive statement on us, and can we start walking to the other side?
Because when we stay stuck in those labels, those definitions, we end up getting hit by everything else coming down that road. We get beat up, discouraged, worn down, until hope is roadkill flattened in front of us, and we’re left to peel it off the pavement just to get some of it back.
When I am in that place, I want people to hold my hand and remind me to finish crossing, to be bold, to hold on, to pray for promise and hope. And I want to be the warm hand helping others look beyond these things.
Why can’t my Tigger nurture, calm, and settle another little soul his age? Why is it so hard to believe he is defined by far more than ADHD, and why wouldn’t God want to show the world His glory by working through how we see Little Man and showing us what is possible if only we’d believe?
I don’t know, but this one innocent, yet powerful statement from this sweet mother taught me everything I need to know to get out of the road right now. Will you come with me? It’s much better on the other side, where hope and possibility reside.
Luke 1:36-37, an angel of the Lord talking to Mary, telling her she would have a son, ESV
“And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Luke 18:27, Jesus speaking, ESV
But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Apostle Paul speaking, ESV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.