Our son, Josh, struggled to be like other kids his age. He was born virtually deaf with a cleft palate and lip. Josh had trouble reading. Socially he was sweet, if a little awkward-speaking slowly and repeating himself. But both his spirit and his faith were unshakable. Josh would walk up to total strangers and ask them how they were doing. In church, his voice always soared above the choir. At the end of each hymn he’d turn to me and say, “Mama, I love God so much.”
One December day when he was in the fifth grade, Josh learned his friends were joining Boy Scouts. He wanted to join too. That night my husband and I took him to the meeting in the school auditorium. Josh can do anything he sets his mind to, I told myself. The Scout leader invited him to introduce himself to the group. Josh stood on the stage trembling. For once he was speechless.
My husband helped him off, whispering in his ear, “It’s okay, Josh.” Nearly in tears, Josh hugged me and said, “Mama, that was really hard.” It was pretty clear Josh wasn’t ready for Boy Scouts. He might never be. I hugged him back and said it was okay. Only later in my room did I give in to tears. Lord, Josh loves you so much. How could you abandon him?
Pulling myself together, I decided to hang some Christmas decorations. Buried beneath the lights and tinsel I found Josh’s baby book. I flipped though the pages until I came to a section titled “Mama’s Wish.” Eight months pregnant with Josh, I had written, “A simple prayer for my baby: That he will love people, be a friendly person and love God.” And wasn’t that who my Josh was? The friendliest, happiest boy in his class, and completely devoted to God. My prayers had been answered. No one had abandoned Josh.
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