Thursday, March 27, 2008

Being who God made him to be

On Sunday Matt and I went to church without Lloyd as he was working at the hospital. Our church is very relaxed and most of us with toddlers sit at the back of the church on the floor where the kids can roam and play without disturbing the rest of the congregation too much.

We were joined by a lady with whom I am in the very early stages of friendship. She is in her late 20s, walks with crutches and has a severe chronic illness. She has a gentle spirit and loves children. She sat down next to me and started to interact with Matt. I noticed how stressed she was looking but couldn’t really ask her about it as the service had started. Although Matt does not know her well, he warmed to her immediately. His warm smile encouraged her to start playing with him. Soon she was lying on her back, Matt sitting on her tummy staring intently into her face. Every time she lifted him in the air he would giggle with delight. I left them to play and focused on the worship. About 10 minutes later she and Matt had finished playing, and Matt made his way back to me. I looked up at my friend and I was surprised to see how calm and serene she was looking. No more strain in her facial muscles, only peace. As Matt crawled towards me I realized that his interaction with her had been more than play. Matt had been ministering to her – by him just being who God had made him to be. In that moment I felt so privileged to by Matt’s mother.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"Yet it did not fall"

It is not that I have become a pessimist, it is just that I am realizing more and more that there are going to be serious times of struggle and challenges in EVERY PERSON’S LIFE.

In the last 2 weeks a friend of ours was diagnosed with cancer and other friends lost their 11 day old child. And that is just in my little friendship circle. All around the world people are facing SERIOUS trials.

The crazy thing is, is that the world we live in doesn’t seem to recognize this. All the adverts and media tell us that we should focus on getting more stuff, on looking better on the outside and on saving money for ourselves and our future. But what about building a good inner CHARACTER that can weather the storms of life? What about digging deep roots into our Loving God who will never give way and never change and never leave? That is what we all should be doing so that when that day of trouble arrives, we don’t break down, we don’t lose it, we don’t fall apart. Rather we endure the pain, disappointment, and loss with healthy grieving, strength and dignity. That instead of being crushed by those incidents we become stronger, more compassionate and more grateful for the good we have in the midst of the trials we face.

Jesus: "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7: 24-25

Sunday, March 16, 2008

He understands me

Two weeks ago Matt had his first assessment by a Speech Therapist. (Actually it was by 3 final year Speech Therapy students in one of those observation rooms with one-way mirrors. They were being supervised by a well respected Speech Therapist – in case you start wondering what we are exposing our little Matt to.) The students were helpful, but they did ask us quite a few questions about Matt’s understanding and his ability to express himself. It got me thinking. I was not really, really sure that Matt understood me. Sometimes when you asked him “Where is dad?” would he turn to Lloyd, but not always. Sometimes he would crawl towards me when I said “Come Matt”, but not always. So I thought he might understand me, but was not 100% convinced. I longed for the day when I would know for sure that he understood something I said.

We have been trying to teach Matt to clap. Whenever we clap he puts his hands over our hands and enjoys us doing the clapping, rather than him mimicking us by clapping on his own. This last week I was playing with Matt on our bed. He was lying on his back and I leaning over him, tickling and kissing him. I started clapping my hands and instead of putting his hands on mine, he clapped on his own! I was so excited I said “Matt more clap” and then he clapped again. I wondered – does he understand what I am saying? So I said again “Matt more clap” and he clapped again! I thought – this is could be coincidence let me ask one more time to see if he really understands. Now at this point he was getting a bit bored so he was turning onto his tummy getting ready to crawl away. But I needed to see if he understood me so I said for a 3rd time “Matt more clap” and he turned around, faced me, looked me in the eyes and clapped!!!!!!! I squealed with delight. Tears streaming down my face I hugged him. He understands me.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Like water in a desert place

I didn’t even realize how alone I had been feeling. I had not recognized that there was a deep sense of isolation in my soul – I know that my life changed when Matt was born. I know that my path has been different to those of my friends who also became mothers. I know that my joys and sorrows are not all the same as theirs. I know all that, but I did not realize how much it was chipping away at me, at my sense of being, at my sense of belonging.

But God knew. And I believe that it was by His leading that I came across the blog sites of 4 mothers who have children with RTS. I have looked at the RTS websites in the past and seen that others are also travelling along our road, however it does not compare to reading a blog where a person shares the every day, as well as the profound thoughts and experiences of parenting a child with RTS. I spent a few days reading each blog from the beginning to the end. I wept as I connected with their pain and their joy. It was in those moments that I found sameness and belonging – even though continents separate us. Their stories were like sweet water to my lonely, dry, and thirsty soul. I thank God for bringing me upon their path. I thank God for technology like internet and blogs. I thank God for revealing my loneliness but in the same breath blessing me with belonging.

My prayer is to find a way to connect with those in South Africa who have children with RTS. Statistically they must exist. I look forward to meeting them one day.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The cousins

In February we spent two weeks in Pietermartizburg on holiday. Matt and his cousins - Jonanthan and Christopher - got to meet each other for the first time. They really seemed to enjoy getting to know one another.