While it is true that as Moms we only have one go around per child in their growing up years, what's also true is, each day is a fresh start on that journey.
I love that because while I may sometimes lose sight of the big picture, I can always refocus and get back on track.
One of the things that is so empowering about motherhood is the very fact that we are shaping lives. Sure, each child comes wired with his or her own DNA, personalities, interests and challenges, but the incredible thing about being a mom is that we get to be the one to fan the flame that lies, sometimes hidden, in each and every child.
It's easy to get sidetracked from the created purpose of each child when we are faced sometimes with their overwhelming challenges.
But that's why I admire a sweet, humble, always-thinking-of-others Mom like Kristine Barnett.
If you're in the autism community, you may already be familiar with her. But not only is she a champion, in my opinion, at finding the spark within her autistic son and unleashing his talents, she's also an incredible inspiration to mothers everywhere.
I recently came across Kristine's book, The Spark and it was like no other book I had read before. To hear someone's personal story of facing a grim diagnosis' with not just one, but two children and then choosing to not let those difficulties define and limit her children was inspiring to say the least. Not only did she somehow have the strength and willpower to help unlock who her son really was, she gave other moms the ability to do so with their children as well.
This story is for all moms; not just those who have children on the autism spectrum.
What I loved most about this story is that it completely inspired me to keep searching for that spark of individual giftedness in each of my children. Kristine says that while not all children are prodigies, genius might not be as rare as we think.
In other words, each of our children is gifted with unique and beautiful interests and talents. It's up to us to celebrate those passions rather than redirect them.
This can be hard to do when the norm in our society stifles our children's uniqueness with hours of television, social media and electronics. Not to mention, it can be hard to choose a learning path different than the one "the experts" recommend and wondering if we're somehow falling short of the government mandated educational checklists.
But as a Christian Mother, at the top of my prayer list is a plea for wisdom.
My prayer is often, "Help me, God, to know how to help each of our children. Help me to fan the flame within each of them, help me to help them reach their full potential, help me to help them discover their passions and let them pursue them and most importantly, help them to love Jesus most in the midst of those passions."
Kristine so wisely says, "Fuel a child's innate spark and it will always point the way to far greater heights than we could imagine." This can be hard and sometimes scary to do, especially when "those passions don't line up neatly with a checklist for future success."
As mothers, we need to listen to that still, small voice within us and be okay with going the path we believe God is leading us on, even when it's different than the path others think we should take.
Kristine represents moms all over our planet who are doing just that.
She highlights the possibility within each of her children and recognizes the extraordinary in each of them.
While I think that a beautiful part of this story is the unfolding genius of a child who was told he would never read, it's also the unfolding genius of a mother's persistent love and determination who chose to focus on what her son could do instead of what he couldn't do.
Kristine found that when she focused on her son's strengths, rather than fixing his weaknesses, that somehow the weaknesses became less noticeable.
I think this truth can profoundly impact our mothering because it acknowledges the unique beauty found in each and every human being no matter what limitations they have.
After reading Kristine's story, I'm personally challenged to continue fanning the beautiful passions placed within each of my children. The Spark is for every mom who wants to do the same.
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