Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FAMILY (01/21/16)
TITLE: Uncharted Waters...
By Noel Mitaxa
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This question is loaded with pressure on preachers’ kids. But are doctors’ kids expected to fix up kids who get sick in the schoolyard? Or lawyers’ kids to solve disputes? As if God actually has grandchildren????
However, rather than defensively list every other kind of parental career, the answer is very simple.
Preachers’ kids get to be like they are through playing with other people’s kids…
We’ve been blessed with four terrific kids, who have taken us through life’s uncharted waters as we have tapped into God’s grace―always available, but not always immediately grasped.
Our first-born was so cooperative, with a placid nature that has since matured into marriage and motherhood. So placid that on her wedding day―after the limo’s black tyre paint smudged her gown―she pinned a pleat over the mark, calmly saying: “Well, I’ll be just as married…”
Her first two years were so easy we thought, This is easy, let’s have another!
Child number two arrived with a permission slip for us to sign. It permitted us to control things until she was ready to take over. Organised and thorough, with a creative flair that has taken her into successful interior design work within her husband’s building business.
Number three came with the unexpected challenge of telipes, requiring several surgeries to correct feet so twisted as to almost resemble ice-cream scoops. His pathway through the surgeries opened his mind to creative time on his own―never threatened about being sent to his room. We could almost hear him asking, How long can I stay there?
He’s also picked up a mix of dry wit and sensitivity, evidenced as a fifteen year-old when we picked up some takeaway food for the family. The size of the food pack did not match its price, but his observation has stayed with me. “Wasn’t that man thoughtful, Dad? To make such expensive food so easy to carry?”
With three kids already, and a month away from the arrival of number four, we were at a midwinter weekend church family camp. Our room had no bathroom or washbasin, and at about 3am our second daughter’s voice softly invaded our slumber.
“Go to sleep!” Our whispered reply.
“I want a drink of water!” More forcefully this time.
“Go to sleep!” With equal force.
“I’ll die if I don’t get a drink of water!” More forcefully still.
I suddenly realised that child number four was going to be our final contribution to the birth-rate; when I heard my infanticipating wife’s reply, “If you die you won’t need a drink of water!”
Number four came. As a party just waiting to happen, and with the ability to pull the sun out from behind any cloud. Yet she combines warmth and poise with upward progress in a national transport business. When I related her high school principal’s view―as the potential PA of an international business leader, she replied, “No, not a PA. I’ll be the business leader!”
Four kids. All so different. All loved to the same degree, but each one giving us different reasons to like them. Which has kept us from trying to assume that we can treat them all the same. And as we learned to respect their differences, they developed their respect for each other―without ever having to compete for our imperfect love for them.
Our family’s differences have given this preacher a window to the scope of God’s grace, as I ever so slowly realise that because he has made us all different, he has different reasons for liking us. And when people are being difficult, I’m learning to ask God to show me why he likes them, so I may relate to them with respect for God’s reasons. It’s opening ways for me to help them be more open to him, which can open them up to explore their own previously-uncharted waters, with growing faith in him.
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