My 8 year old son is developmentally delayed. That’s the “official diagnosis”. The underlying cause is fetal valproate exposure. He doesn’t have all the physical signs to qualify for the “syndrome” diagnosis, but the valproate exposure is thoroughly documented. The outward manifestations of this are very similar to fetal alcohol syndrome.
D1 is immature for an 8 year old. He trusts everyone. He doesn’t quite understand personal space yet, although he is learning. He has the attention span of a gnat much of the time, but when he is involved in something, he can focus for very long periods of time. He cannot follow instructions with more than 2 steps without many, many cues. He cannot sit through a meal without repeatedly being directed back to his chair and plate. But this boy is so sensitive to the Holy Spirit, it is amazing. A few illustrations:
First grade: A new student enters the class mid-year. She is crying because she is scared and doesn’t know anyone. D1 went right over to her, with tears rimming his eyes, and put his arm around her. “It’s okay, I’m right here. Everyone is scared sometimes.” His teacher was so touched.
Second grade: I was sick. I had a really bad cold, fever, etc and was losing my voice. I went in to pray with the boys at bedtime. I started to pray, and D1 laid his hands on me and started to pray for me, that I would be healed and feel better. And mom cried.
Last August: The boys get out of Royal Rangers at 8:30, and youth group doesn’t usually let out until 8:45, so if my hubby’s out of town, I run up real fast and grab the boys, and we come back down. We came back down during altar time. The worship band was playing, kids were all over the altar, praying and being prayed for. There was a new student standing there–a girl–and a leader and another student were praying for her. She was dealing with some really heavy stuff, and she was crying. They were up there for quite a long time.
As the kids and band cleared out, the girl remained, even after the leader and the student were done praying. My son walked right up there, stepped up onto the platform (it’s about 2′ off the ground) put out both of his hands and started praying over this 15 year old girl. She was standing directly in front of him. One of the leaders noticed and elbowed me, “Look at your son.” I was about to run up there and make him get down, when I noticed what he was doing. He wasn’t copying or playing, he was PRAYING! Praying his precious little guts out. I started to cry. Other students and leaders noticed, and every single one of us, even the tough guitar playing kid from the worship band. “WOW”, he said, “That is so cool. That kid is amazing.” Not one of us had dry eyes. When the girl was done at the altar, my son stepped down and came back to me, I asked him what he was praying about, and he said, “I was praying for her mom and her dad.”
This girl is now one of my daughters’ good friends, and when I did ask her what she had been praying about?
Her parents. Their acceptance of her faith in Christ, and their salvation.
It just gave me goose bumps.
Our son is different. He’s not perfect. He’s not even what many would call “normal” (although I don’t think there is such a thing.) But he loves Jesus, and when he feels the spirit move him to do something, he does it. I am so curious to see how the Lord directs him as he grows up!