I have encountered God many times through my own children and through the sheer privilege of being a parent. The act of giving birth is in itself such an amazing moment, to be involved in the act of creation was just fantastic, for God the creator is truly present at those special times. All three arrivals were unique – the first labour was extremely painful and seemed to go on for hours and hours, the second was like delivering a high speed train, and the third was fraught with trauma of being informed my child was dead; (which she most certainly was not!).
Now all three of them are adults and despite some physical similarities and passions, they are unique and fiercely independent in many ways, yet in other ways – we still need to know we have each other as family. As the three of them have grown in strength and faith I have encountered God through their lives so many times over the years, I have lost count.
When my son was a toddler he developed a deep love for trains, in fact he became an expert on all things Thomas the Tank Engine. His speech development was very slow, but then he didn’t need to talk as his big sister would provide for his every need. From being very young it was clear that co-ordination was a real issue for him, and things like shoe laces and zips if at all possible were to be avoided. And yet this little boy, who loved his trains, was never satisfied that he would just be a train driver when he grew up, because he had his eyes fixed on higher things when he announced he would be the first train driver on the moon.
Not long ago I was talking to a friend, who told me her 6 year old son was diagnosed with a form of autism, and she began to write him off and despair about what would become of him. In moments like this I am so proud of my little train driver on the moon, who despite any condition or diagnosis (which I have never really wanted to make and label him with); he has always aimed higher.
I thank God for teachers who saw past my sons problems and recognised in him the “mad professor”, bursting to get out. For those teachers and assistants who got to know him well and spent hours with triangular pencils in an attempt to teach writing skills, only to conclude – get him a laptop and he will fly! Through the generosity of good friends who generously provided finance for us to send him to a specialist he worked on issues of balance and spatial awareness, which amazingly resulted in him learning to ride a bike at last at the age of 14; (even if the use of a knife and fork would still be avoided for a few years after that!)
Now that “mad professor” has a Masters Degree in Astro-Physics. After four years of study at one of our top university, he has procured a good job and I remain very proud of his achivements. Even in an economic climate where graduate jobs are hard to come by, where statistics show that only one of five graduates walked straight into a job from university last summer. Even when the situation seems quite bleak – my little train driver on the moon succeeded, and yet again I encounted God who makes all things possible and allows us to rise above our circumstances and succeed against the odds.
For me the secret was always in his reaching higher. You see almost anyone can be a train driver; but a train driver on the moon? That has not ever been done yet, but in the mind of my little boy was this ambition to aim for what other people had not yet accomplished. He has indeed reached for the stars and has overcome. Hallelujah!
Thank You Father that you have crowned us with glory and honour and have made us a little lower that the angels, and in that place we can indeed reach beyond ourselves and trust you.
Jesus – during this Lenten season – remind me again you are able to do more than we ever dare ask or imagine
Lord hear us – Lord graciously hear us!