Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wonderfully Made

My husband, Dan,  was making bread in our bread-maker the other day, and I started thinking about how interesting it is that just a slight change in ingredients, or in the amounts of the ingredients, can give you very different types of bread.  A little more or less flour, and add a little bit of this or that, and you have french bread, potato bread or cinnamon raisin bread. Then I started thinking about how people really aren't very different than bread.  Even though they have the same parents, the gene mix is a little different, and voila'!  You have very individual people!

I look at my own children and see vast differences in their personalities.  They have the same father and mother, the economics of our family hasn't drastically changed, and everything else in their world has been pretty uneventful.  Yet they are very different people!  I have to admit that I love their differences, though when you see a trait that you like in one, and would love to see the other embrace as well, it's very tempting to say, "Why can't you be more like _____?"  We do avoid this, but it's not always easy!

Our son, Zac, is almost two years older than our daughter, and has always been very outgoing, self-confident and athletic.  He doesn't have a problem asserting himself, even when it is inappropriate (aka disrespectful).  His grades are okay, but that  really depends on how hard he feels like trying. He can be very thoughtful and kind, and he will go out of his way to make people laugh.

Becca often second-guesses herself, and doesn't want to stand out from the crowd. She worries about her grades and doing well (to the point that she used to make herself sick over it), even though she doesn't really need to worry because she gets good grades almost effortlessly.  She doesn't make friends easily, and will play by herself for hours without any complaining.  She can be very nurturing, and really seems to enjoy the chores that involve taking care of our various pets.

How can two kids with so much in common turn out so differently?  The first thing that comes to mind is this verse:  Psalm 139:14 ~ "I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:  marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."  I don't understand how someone can look at their child and not know that God is their Author.  God has fashioned each of us to be an amazing individual, and we should be praising God for that!  What I love about people in general, and my children specifically, is the quirkiness that makes us special.

 For example, Zac never seemed to have a problem going off too school, but our daughter, Becca, is another story altogether!  For the first couple of years, dropping her off at school each day was a terrible trial of tears and begging on her part.  The only thing that seemed to make it better was when her brother agreed to walk her to class each day.   I was very proud of him since I was sure that, as a boy, it certainly was NOT cool to walk your little sister to class. But he didn't seem to mind, and he was very faithful in carrying out this daily task.  Until one fateful day when his sister made him very angry, and he told her he wasn't going to walk her to class anymore.  The next thing we knew, she was in the bathroom throwing up!  We explained to him how much it meant to her that he walked her to class and he had compassion on her and told her he would still do it.  She made an immediate and complete recovery!  He continued walking her to class until she finally decided she would be okay walking there on her own.

Now, another side of Zac is his inventive and adventurous side.  He's always trying some new way of doing things, and a year or so ago, he really outdid himself! Taking things to a whole new level one day, he decided to rig up a zip line.  A very cool idea, his dad and I agreed, but there was one major flaw in his logic.  He got a rope, tied one end to the huge weeping willow tree in our yard.  Then he tied the other end to their play-set.  He had the rope nice and taught, and everything looked good.  The problem?  Once he got to the end of the line, he would come to a very abrupt stop at the play-set because he had tied the line in such a way that there was a nice board right in the way!  Fortunately, this didn't turn out to be a problem because he hadn't quite worked out what he was going to use to actually slide down the line.  He chose a nice thick stick.  There was plenty of room on each side of the rope for him to hold onto it. Sadly, the combination of his weight on the stick, and the friction of the rope caused the stick he was holding on to to snap about halfway down the line. He probably fell about eight to ten feet.  We were very blessed that he wasn't hurt, but he was mad!  He was very angry that he had not thought his plan through a little better.

We should have seen things like this coming since he was always climbing, and trying to do things faster and scarier (at least scarier to me)!  One day I came home and found him standing on top of  his swing-set.  Dad was right there and I wouldn't have been too worried, except he was probably only about two years old at the time!  His dad's response?  "Oh, he's been doing that all day!"  Then there was the time that he skateboarded down the slide in his Tonka Dump Truck.  Dan did put a stop to that, thankfully.  The best one was when he was sledding down the slide of his swing-set. Not too scary, except at the end of the slide was a huge rock and then a koi pond on the other side of the rock.  Here was my proof as to why God intends for children to have a father AND a mother.  Mom was the one who pictured the following scenario:  Kid slides down slide on sled.  Sled dumps kid out onto the rock and kid is knocked out. Kid continues over the rock and into the pond!  All Dad saw was his kid laughing his head off and having a great time. 

Now our daughter is not very adventurous at all, although, year by year, we can see her slowly stepping out of her shell.  However, she definitely has a soft spot for animals, real or pretend.  People, real ones anyway, are not necessarily her forte.  We're working on that with her.  But in the meantime, you can see her nurturing and caring side when she plays.  All of her little animals have lives, and are cared for very gently.  She will occasionally play with Barbie dolls, but they don't hold her interest for very long.  Except for one.  When I was growing up, I had Barbie dolls, including a Ken doll.  For some reason Ken's clothes never fit over his head, and my solution to this was to pull his head off, put his shirt on, then put his head back on.  After I grew up and moved out, my nieces often played with my old Barbies when they visited my mom's house.  After a couple of decades of pulling Ken's head off to dress him, it just started randomly falling off during their playtime.  Someone was always crying for help to put poor Ken's head back on!  Then my nieces finally got too old to play with the old toys, and they got packed up and put away.

Fast forward another decade or so, and we were helping my mom go through some of her things that she had in storage.  Our kids were there, and growing increasingly bored.  When I ran across the case with the Barbies in it, I gave it to Becca to amuse her.  She played for quite awhile with one Barbie and one now-headless Ken.  Ken's head had finally become permanently separated from his body!  Becca didn't seem to mind, in fact she seemed to have a very special bond with Headless Ken, but I was just happy that she had something to do so we could finish our task at hand.  When it was time to go, I told her that she could choose some of the Barbie outfits, but since she already had plenty of her own Barbies, she didn't need to keep the beat up, headless ones.  She did not argue at all, which caused me to be immediately suspicious.  Once we were ready to go, I asked my husband to search the van, I was sure that Headless Ken had been smuggled in.  He did a thorough search and came up empty.  I was impressed, but still mildly suspicious.  She had given up too easily.  It didn't take long for me to put it out of my mind though, but only for a short while.

A couple of months later, Dan was going through some things in Becca's room.  He came out of her room with a closed-up shoebox, and a very amused look on his face.  He handed me the shoebox, and I opened it slowly.  I was sure there was a toad, baby bird, huge bug, or some other sort of contraband that I knew that I did not want to see!  I opened the box and their lay....Headless Ken!  I was right!  She had smuggled him home!  To this day, we have no idea how, or even why. Since it seemed so important to her, we quietly put Headless Ken back in her closet and never mentioned to her that he had been discovered.  I couldn't shake the feeling though, that we were raising our own version of Wednesday from the The Addams Family!

Whether we are raising future Evel Knievels or little Wednesdays, we love their quirks, and the wonderful way that God has fashioned them.  Among the many prayers that we pray for them is that they continue to love  God and always desire to do His will. 

Psalm 139 is a wonderful chapter to read if you ever forget how wonderful you are, and how special you are.  Some additional verses that are on my heart today are:

Psalm 139:2 ~ "Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off."

Psalm 139:15 ~ "My substance was not hid from Thee when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth."

Psalm 139:17-18 ~ "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God!  How great is the sum of them.  If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand:  when I awake, I am still with Thee."

God Bless!

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