I have never met a child quite like our Eli. He is extremely unique and just when I think I have him figured out, he does something new. He just turned seven and in celebrating him, his uniqueness was very evident. He likes to keep things simple, very different from some of our other kids. He made a short list of gifts and asked for a chocolate cake with blue icing. The candles were important and specific in how they were to be arranged. All of those details were taken care of and he loved it! Once the presents were open, candles blown out and the cake eaten, he was perfectly content to get back to normal. Most of our other kids like to have long, drawn out celebrations.
As his mom, I could honestly celebrate him each day because of all the Lord has used Eli to teach and heal me. Even my getting pregnant with him turned out completely different than I had planned. My mom had just been told that her cancer had spread and in my quick planning, stem cells could be used from the umbilical cord to help treat her. Problem solved. I would have a baby and my mom would be healed. That is not the story the Lord wrote. The pregnancy was hard and my mom died before Eli was actually born. Not long after he was born, the nurse rushed him to the NICU because something was not right with his heart, but after a few hours all was well. The plan the Lord had was that much of my healing would come from raising this child. My mom received the ultimate healing and now lives with our Lord Jesus. I have confidence that I will see her again!
With him being our sixth child, I really thought I pretty much knew everything. Oh, how the Lord used this special fella to humble me. I am so grateful! Who likes a know it all anyways? An early example was that I had always had my mom with me minutes after the other five babies were born. This time the Lord gave me a precious nurse who went over and above her job. She prayed over Eli and blessed me tremendously. In my moms absence, the Lord humbled me in the sense that my normal was changed and I had to look to Him to provide. I should have already been doing this, but when you are short on needs, this is easy to forget. Everything looked different, but I knew I was cared for and seen by God. Friends brought meals and filled in places where my mom would have normally served our family. Not the same, but a blessing none the less.
As Eli started growing up and his personality was in full swing, I knew I was in over my head. He did not behave like the other kids and really did not seem to care. Oh, the looks our family received! I have been guilty of casting those eyes of judgment myself onto other moms with kids that did not act just so. It is quite humbling to have those eyes turned on you. The Lord used his behavior to help remove the need to appear close to perfect. Eli blew the cover right off my neatly contained life and I have not been the same sense.
Now that he has gotten a little bit older, a lot of the hard things have been worked out. His personality is still strong, but goodness he is fun. He never meets a stranger and makes people smile often. I like to walk a few steps behind him, just to see what he will say as others pass by and their reaction. The stories I could tell would fill a book and have you laughing for days. He loves people with different colors of hair and has quite a thing for ladies with tattoos. He has eyes for those on the outside and has a way to draw them in and make them feel noticed. I love this about him.
Lately I have noticed that when class pictures are taken, he does something to stand out. Not for attention, but what appears to be joy. He has fun wherever he goes and others can join him or not. One time he was pretty disrespectful to his dad. He said, “You are the lamest dad ever.” My husband corrected him and asked, “What if I told you, you were the lamest kid ever. Wouldn’t that hurt your feelings?” Eli replied, “I don’t really care what other people think of me.” Not the response expected, but a true statement.
He often takes me aside to share his heart and has insight more like a 70 year old. I am often amazed and encouraged. He draws me pictures, makes up songs and gives the best compliments. If you are feeling a bit low, just find this kid.
So Eli, I am thankful for who you are and the unique way the Lord is using you. The line often used about “God not giving you more than you can handle” is simply not found in the Bible. And you are proof of that. In God giving me you, I was not equipped, but He has done a miracle. He has given me insight, joy, patience, kindness, humility and so much more. In the gift of Eli, I have been given love. Thank you Jesus!
Eli, I love you.
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV)