I bore my testimony to her of the power of God to turn weaknesses into strengths.
My oldest son, Jackson, was born with a severe heart condition which required major surgery, lots of faith and prayers, and lots of trauma to his poor little body and spirit.
I often read this scripture to Jackson:
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
At age 3, Jackson attended special classes to aid his language and social interaction skills. For years , I had to teach him the basics of how to respond with a yes or no to simple questions and how to respond to people when they were sad or hurt. Nothing came automatically; it had to be taught and deliberately demonstrated. After attempting to talk to him, people often expressed their hope that he would talk to them too. I also hoped the day would come.
Last night we were watching the kids' football game, and a young, married man approached me and said, "Jackson is the most humble boy I have ever met." He shared with me how kind and compassionate Jackson was with both his scout instructor and the other kids at a recent activity. He said that Jackson was great to congratulate and encourage the other kids on their achievements. My heart was touched to know that what was once such a great weakness of social interaction has actually become his greatest strength... but it came because of his humility in the process.
A few years ago, we made our first annual visit to our new cardiologist here in Michigan. The lab technician hadn't read the notes on Jackson yet, but specifically commented to me about how advanced Jackson was in his language skills. I just smiled and thanked him. About 15 minutes later, the technician came out of the room in shock. He said, "Wait a minute... I just got done reading his report. It says here that he had delays in his language?? That's amazing!" I just smiled again and told him how grateful I was for God's help in making that one of his strengths.
This Friday both Jackson and Tyson will be doing something very special with the Kalamazoo Youth Civic Theater program.
This program is ranked number 3 in the nation. In order to keep such a fantastic program running, they rely on the big donors in the community. Every year the Civic has a special dinner to thank these donors. This is the first year that they decided to ask a few of the students to give a speech about their experience with the Civic. The director asked both Jackson and Tyson to give speeches at this special dinner as the youngest representatives of the program.
Once again, God was allowing me to see that this great weakness was becoming one of his greatest strengths.
When I was a little girl, I was told these stories about Heber J. Grant, the 7th president of our church. He lived from 1856-1945. His strong determination to turn his weaknesses into strengths has made him a great hero of mine ever since.
I gathered some of the details of his life from www.lds.org under
Lesson 22: Heber J. Grant—Man of Determination,” The Presidents of the Church: Teacher’s Manual, 105
*Heber J. Grant was one of the worst players on his baseball team, so he spent hours and hours throwing the baseball until he made the baseball team that won the championship in California, Colorado, and Wyoming.
*Then, Heber J. Grant was made fun of for his horrible handwriting being told that it looked like "hen tracks." He spent so many hours practicing his penmanship, that he eventually became proficient enough to be offered a position to work as a penman in San Francisco.
*My favorite story about Heber J. Grant was his determination to learn how to sing. In this link below, the story of Heber J. Grant learning how to sing is told in even more humorous detail.