Exactly Who God Made You
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” - Psalm 139:13-16
He was at it again - running, squirming, never sitting still. How on earth could one small person have so much energy? And how could I ever keep up with him?
When I thought back over my pregnancy - a pregnancy that was fourteen years in the making - and about the first four years of our son's life, I wondered if there was something I had done wrong. Had I, at 37, been too old to have our first child? Did I expose our son to something before he was born that was causing problems now? Or was I just a rotten mother?
For years we had prayed for a child. For years it seemed that our answer was no, even though my heart was telling me otherwise. Then, on Mother's Day, 1998, I was finally able to tell God that He really did know best and if it was His will that we never have any children, so be it. Two weeks later I found out that we were expecting our son. After fourteen years God was granting me the desire of my heart. I was going to have a baby!
I had had lots of time during those fourteen years to figure out exactly what it would be like to be a mom. At least that's what I thought. During my pregnancy I read everything I could get my hands on about what to expect while expecting, what to expect while delivering, and what to expect during the first eighteen years of our child's life. That's just the way I am. The more information I have the better. Surprises aren't something I like very much and “spontaneity” isn't something I do very often or very well.
After our son was born our lives changed dramatically, as lives often do with the arrival of a baby. As we watched him progress through his first year I had convinced myself that our son's personality was almost identical to mine - quiet and analytical. But around the time of his third birthday things seemed to change. Kinetic energy oozed from our son as he bounced and ran around the house. Getting him to sit still for more than a few minutes at a time was nearly impossible. In my eyes, our son was becoming more aloof and rebellious. And it seemed that with each passing day, our happy little boy was becoming moody, angry and depressed.
We began searching for “the” parenting method that would address our situation - everything from complete control over the child to no control at all. Nothing seemed to work, and the trial and error approach was only making matters worse. Wanting to have clear boundaries, our son tested us daily, sometimes hourly, to see how we would respond. Needless to say, none of us were enjoying ourselves.
During our son's third year my husband and I prayed - for wisdom, for understanding, but most of all for our happy little boy to come back to us. I read every theory I could on hyperactivity, ADD, ADHD, and every other acronym I came across. While some of the information seemed to fit, nothing ever quite hit the mark. When I began reading information on highly gifted children, things started fitting, but there was still the issue of discipline. By the time his fourth birthday rolled around, I was so frayed and exhausted I didn't much care what was wrong, I just wanted it fixed. We began asking for prayer from friends at church, finally able to share our situation. I felt like a complete failure as a mother. I cried out to God to please give us our happy little boy back.
It's a funny thing when you pray for wisdom and understanding. Like it or not, God will give it to you. A few weeks after our friends began praying for our family, things started happening. One day I received an email from a national family ministry offering a free parenting assessment test. With a click of my mouse I began my journey toward understanding our son.
A large part of the assessment dealt with identifying both the parent's personality type as well as the child's personality type. Then the test went on to show the similarities and differences in the two types. I felt as though God had dropped a fresh revelation into my spirit that very instant. I also felt like I had had the wind knocked out of me. I realized that for my son's whole life I had mistakenly assumed that he and I were two peas in a pod, when the reality was that we are as different as two people can get. When the truth finally sunk in, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I knew that God was the only one who could sort this out for me, and He did just that. Then I printed the test results out to share with my husband. After he stopped laughing, we had a good talk.
Being the analytical sort of person that I am, I quickly saw that I had been judging our son's behavior based on my personality type, which was the very worst thing I could have done for our son. What I had viewed as rebellion and indifference was simply his unique personality shining through. And that's what I had been trying to discipline out of him. Thankfully, the Lord didn't allow me to wallow in guilt for long. I did have one more question for God about all of this though. How could He do this to me? Why couldn't He have just made our son like me so I'd know what to expect?
God didn't take long to answer me. He led me to Psalm 139. This was our son and this was how God made him. Relief washed over me like a gentle summer breeze. There was nothing wrong with our son. He wasn't being rebellious. He didn't have learning disabilities or hyperactivity. He was highly gifted and exhibited all the good and bad that goes along with that. He was expressing himself in the only way he knows how - the way God made him.
I can't say that the initial adjustment to our answered prayer was easy. Everything about what makes our son tick, from the way he expresses his love to the exuberance he has for whatever he's involved with, is foreign to me. But after doing a little more research, and a lot more praying, things are getting back to normal. I'm not frustrated all the time, nor do I feel at constant odds with our son. And now that our son is allowed to be who God made him, he's all smiles and hugs - and that's the best present this mom could ever have.
Author's note: While trying pinpoint exactly what was going on with our son, I came across some very interesting information. If you look at a list of "symptoms" of ADD/ADHD and a list of attributes of gifted and highly/profoundly gifted children you will find many similarities. It was also interesting to see that the characteristics of our son's personality type only "enhanced" the attributes of his giftedness. I have to wonder how many children in the public school system are diagnosed by their teachers as ADD/ADHD and pressured to go on medication by the school simply because the teachers cannot handle exuberant children. Before you accept this diagnosis for your child, please do some research into their personality type, possible giftedness, as well as removing food additives and preservatives - especially aspartame and MSG - from their diets. The book "Nurture By Nature" was a priceless resource for me. You can purchase it from Amazon.com by clicking on the image below.