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hard won battles

Harvey sang today in kid's church. When he was SUPPOSED to sing. He sang the song he was supposed to be singing, along with the other kids who were singing. Not only did he sing, but he did the HAND MOTIONS. And when it was time to jump, he JUMPED! He even smiled!

Not to put to fine a point on it, but this is a big deal. Harvey participated in a corporate act of worship. He participated in a group. He followed directions from an adult who's not his blood relation.

I know other kids do this every week, but this is my kid we're talking about here. My kid who is usually so overwhelmed with the number of kids at worship that all he can do is lie on the floor and wait for it to be over. This is the kid who was jumping and singing.

Sitting next to him, it was all I could do to keep myself from crying.

What solicited such a break-though this morning? Was it the year I spent sitting with him in kid's church every Sunday? Was it a sign that his social anxiety dash extreme defiance is just a stage that's running its course? Was it an act of God? Whatever it was, it was absolutely beautiful. More so because he's never been able to do it before.

I spend a lot of time convincing myself that I don't NEED my child to act any particular way. I love him just the way he is, with his unique personality and proclivities. I don't want him to BE a normal kid; I want him to be the person he is.

But deep down, I want him to look good, to do what he's told, to perform for me. I want him to wear the costume, to stand up on his hind legs, to sing when he's told to sing. I sense that this impulse is maybe evil, or at the very least controlling. I spend a lot of time trying to pretend like I don't feel it.

Which is why I'm happy that today, when he sang in kid's church, it wasn't a performance. He didn't do it for me. He did it because (for whatever reason) today he wanted to sing. He wanted to jump. He wanted to (if you can believe it) do the hand motions. It was between Harvey and Jesus, that worship, and the smile on his face had nothing to do with his mother.

Praise the Lord.

We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 3:14-15)

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