Monday, August 10, 2009

Two!...and some thoughts on trust

Two years ago right now, I was feeling completely shell-shocked, holding a minutes-old newborn baby in my arms.
Can I just say how glad I am that it's August 10, 2009, and that I'm not reliving that day?

My little man is TWO years old today! And what a delightful, hilarious, adorable toddler he has become. I feel like I'm finally getting a little bit more comfortable in my mama-skin, and I'm enjoying this process ever so much more than two years ago, one year ago or even six months ago, to be totally honest. We've seen SO much growth and change in Elijah just in the last few weeks, and it is such a joy to watch him learn new things.

I haven't blogged about it here, for various reasons, but the last six months have been interesting ones around here, as we've been doing early intervention with Elijah. Our pediatrician referred him for evaluation after his 18-month well visit, and he qualified for services, especially because of communication delays. So for the last several months, we've had someone coming to the house once a week and working with us.

It could be that Elijah is just a late bloomer and will catch up without a problem. Or it could be that he has more long-term developmental struggles--we don't know at this point. But more than anything, it has been an occasion to learn in new ways what it means to trust God.

Just in the last few weeks, Elijah's language skills have really taken off. He's constantly surprising us, and I'm having so much fun as he becomes more communicative. In fact, we had an evaluation with a speech-language pathologist last week, and in the time between when we first started the referral process and when he actually went in, he had changed so much that he didn't even end up qualifying for speech therapy--his skills are on the low end, but within the range of normal.

So more and more I'm inclined to think our little guy is simply a late bloomer, but the questions remain the same: Is my hope in my son being "normal" (or even "exceptionally bright"), or is my hope in God? Is Christ my greatest treasure? Do I believe that He is sovereign, good, and loving, regardless of whatever challenges my son may or may not face? Will I let my fearful heart run away with "what-ifs," or will I choose to put my trust in the Lord?

I'm reminded of a conversation Steve and I had over a year ago, in which he drew a comparison between two men we know: one brilliant, but obnoxiously so; the other simple, yet loving and wise. Steve remarked that while of course he’d love to have a bright, intelligent child, comparing these two men showed him that intelligence isn’t the best or most important thing to hope for. Wouldn’t we rather have a wise son, one who is devoted to God and trusts Him, than a brilliant son, when brilliance is so often a stumbling block (both in relationships with other people and in submission to God)?

Rather than hoping that Elijah would be smart or being disappointed if he’s not, rather than worrying about all his milestones and whether he’s developmentally behind other children, our job is to nurture and enjoy him for who he is—not who we might foolishly think we want him to be.

So as Elijah turns two, I'm grateful. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of this little guy. Thank You for choosing such a kind, generous, beautiful way of refining me. Thank You for changing my heart and giving me grace to be a mother. Thank You for increasingly giving me eyes to see my young son as a blessing and not a burden. Thank You for the laughter and joy he brings to our family, for the kisses and squeezes he generously bestows. Most of all, thank You for opportunities to trust You, and for being infinitely trustworthy and the most perfect source of hope.

And, of course: Happy Birthday, Elijah!


Sarah said...

Happy Birthday to the little guy! Those are some great pictures of him too.

zoanna said...

If it's any consolation, our Joel didn't say but maybe three words before he was two. I wondered why because he was in a houseful of talkers and communicated nonverbally. I should've documented the blurry-fast change, though. It seems like within a few weeks he was talking a lot. And by three he was telling jokes--good jokes. I have a feeling from what you've written, that Elijah is just a late bloomer. If he weren't interested in language, I doubt he'd sit for so many books in your lap. I do appreciate your upward focus on God, though . I know from having been there (not w/ therapists cuz it never dawned on me there might be a real problem) that it's painful to be in the place of doubting your child's "normality." Yet a healthy dose of ongoing trust is a must, regardless, and indeed wisdom is more to be desired than intelligence.

Anonymous said...

What a cutie he is! Happy Birthday Elijah! Motherhood gives many opportunities in trusting God, doesn't it?

Unknown said...

Wow, Amy, thanks for your honest words. I'm not a mother yet, but you stated some important truths that we'll need to hold onto whenever our time comes! Thank you, and keep trusting!

Christin said...

Amy, I loved this! Thank you for the adorable pictures (Elijah is so cute!!) and the beautiful words.

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer said...

Well, Amy, looks like your Elijah and my Little Man share the same birthday - 5 years apart, but still... :)

And, while I'm no specialist, I have seen lots of children in addition to my own, and I'd go with Zoanna on this one. Elijah is likely a late bloomer. I know it's only anecdotal, but I'd like to share my own example.

My own Brown Eyed boy said a few words (very few) before he was two. Shortly before he reached three years old he had lots of words, but he never put them together. He always understood what we said, asked, etc., and always was able to communicate what he wanted and needed, it just wasn't always with words.

Shortly after turning three his language blossomed. He began using sentences, complex ones with conjunctions and prepositional phrases, etc.

But he didn't talk in public.

At all.

When he turned four in February, friends said "He's turning four? But he doesn't even talk yet!" How wrong they were! He just kept it in the family! :) He didn't even talk to Grandma beyond single words or short phases. (Needless to say, Grandma was concerned.) Only recently has he begun to open up in public.

Keep trusting all you've been doing with him. If he communicates with you, chances are everything will be fine in the long run. It can be tough, though, when people around are questioning whether what they see is 'normal' or not.

Blessings to you!


Marianne said...

Hi Amy! Happy Birthday to your beautiful little man!

This is just a voice from the Internet, and I'm sure it doesn't mean anything, but it's obvious that you and your husband are great parents. We all parent differently. Something I note when I see your posts is that you and your husband parent in a very Christ-centered way. I'm a new Christian and am in awe of this.

God bless you and your family.

Amy said...

thanks for the encouraging words, everyone. as far as the photos...I am finding it nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get good photos of Elijah these days! he runs around so fast, my lens won't focus fast enough in indoor light--hence all the bathtub pics--that's the only place he's captive and I can get decent shots :)

Marianne, your words are very sweet, but please don't be impressed with me! remember that you see a very, very narrow (and carefully crafted) slice of my life on this aspiration is certainly to be a Christ-centered, gospel-centered mother, but I wouldn't call myself one yet. I am only learning and screwing up lots!

lydia said...

Amy, I love your honesty here. What an important realization you and Steve have had - a man who fears the Lord is so much better than a man who is of above-average intelligence. Oh, may our children love our Saviour!
...and maybe Elijah will be a Godly genius~:-)

The Chinlund Family said...

beautiful words, beautiful pictures and you have a beautiful heart, Ames. Thank you for sharing.

Sarah D. said...

Two already?! Wow... how time flies. =)

Happy Birthday, Elijah!

admin said...

Beautiful boy, beautiful pictures, beautiful words. Thank you for this encouragement today, Amy!