I took Henry and Maggie to the pediatrician for their one-month appointment. Maggie wore pink pajamas and Henry wore blue pajamas. Yes, they wore their pajamas to the doctor; changing clothes wasn’t a priority. I don’t remember if I even changed my own.
The doctor looked at their charts. “Twins,” he said. “A boy and a girl.”
“Are they identical?”
“Um…boys and girls have different parts,” I said.
He laughed. “Of course. Stupid question.”
It was, but that wasn’t the only time people asked.
Henry and Maggie, and later Lucy, were all unique, not one of them identical in parts or personality.
Their individuality never ceases to amaze me. Not only do they have different parts, but they have different souls. Different interests, different strengths, different gifts, and different ways of approaching and experiencing God. And what blows me away is that God has different ways of drawing them. He knows each of their hearts and talents and inner beings, and he meets them there.
The Pray-er, The Studier, The Singer
Henry has always been a precocious pray-er. He volunteers to pray in large groups. He sees me stretched out on the carpet, praying, and he lies beside me and prays with me, his hand on my back. Once, the president of our NGO (non-governmental organization) came to visit us in Africa. He knelt on the cracked brown tiles beside his bed in the morning to pray and felt a presence beside him. He opened his eyes, and there was five-year old Henry, on his knees, praying.
Reading has not come easy for Maggie. French at school, English at home, Somali in the market, all helped and challenged her. But she is drawn to the Word and can’t fall asleep until she meets God in the Bible. Once, she said, “Mom, the Bible is like an adventure book. I never know what God is going to teach me through it.” Sometimes when I don’t understand something, Maggie is the one able to clarify difficult words of scripture.
Lucy sings. And sings and sings. In church, she will mouth along or sing pretend words if she doesn’t know the song. In choir, she sings with her mouth open wide and her whole body thrown around with the words. She sings praise songs to fall asleep at night and talks about the truths in those songs during the day.
The Divine Potter
The divine Potter is making me aware of these contours and giving me eyes to see the gracious wisdom of his molding. I pray, read the Word, and sing with all of them, but I can download a special song for Lucy. Keep track of answered prayers with Henry. Discuss Bible stories with Maggie.
It’s easy to think like this with the kids, but it’s true that I, too, am being crafted by that same Potter, with my own strengths and gifts. In the way I have been designed, how does God meet with me? When I am alert to the unique things he designs for my days that are meant to turn my eyes to him, I am stunned by his tender wooing and creative weaving.
All these different parts, talents, gifts, desires, and abilities, together form the body of Christ. We can’t all pray and ignore the word. Or sing all day long but forget to worship through prayer. And those who pray can be spurred on to Bible study by those deep in the Scriptures. Singers can be brought to their knees beside pray-ers.
Diversity within my family and diversity within faith-filled communities is necessary for the displaying and the building up of the Body. And, it is inside the safe and comfortable boundaries of family that my children are free to explore and discover God’s hand on them. Inside a gracious and welcoming community of faith, as we serve one another, individuality is shaped, discovered, and blended into a unified whole.
“It is an amazing calling and an amazing identity: being the body of Christ and individually members of one another,” says John Piper. “There is more to be discovered about yourself in Christ than you ever dreamed. And Christ will be more and more honored by every discovery you make.”
Never Stop Discovering
How does the Potter meet with your kids? How has he shaped your children? How has he gifted you? Keep making discoveries. Discover yourself. Discover your kids. Discover the many ways God uses these different characteristics to draw your children – and you – to himself.
As you become aware of these strengths and gifts, designed by our perfect Crafter, you will discover deep stores of treasure in communion with him.