I was raised in a genuine Christian family. My parents valued the importance of providing a strong religious background to my siblings and me. We attended Church each week, Vacation Bible School in the summers, Awana on Wednesday nights, and youth groups in our teenage years. My faith was innate, it was part of who I was without question.
As I have grown older, I have had the privilege of questioning my faith as an adult. As a sophomore in college I was given the opportunity to work in a Social Psychology Laboratory doing research on Religion and Prayer. Over the course of the three years I held this job, my small midwest mind was opened up to a variety of faiths and religious practices that I would have typically dismissed. I worked with the most diverse group of individuals and became friends with dear Melissa who has forever challenged me in my beliefs.
My faith as an adult, while still in question at times, is undoubtedly one of the most treasured facets of my life. I am continually in question and searching for understanding about the simplest notions in life, but the innate quality of my faith from childhood always wins out when I find myself a doubting thomas.
Since before Noah’s birth, I have prayed for his soul and his spirit to have a burning, a strong desire and hunger for the Heavenly Father that I have grown to know and love. Since we learned of the ways that Angelman Syndrome would affect Noah, it has made it more challenging to know how we can teach Noah about Jesus. I have at times felt frustrated by how little I am capable of understanding about Noah’s thought life, how he views the world, and where he finds comfort and love.
Each night as Noah is falling asleep, I pray for his safety, his health, and for him to experience God in a meaningful way. I also pray that God just might let me have a glimpse of the beauty of His presence in Noah’s life.
Two Fridays ago, we were driving to pick up Matt after work. It was rush hour and the roads near Notre Dame were a mess due to the ridiculousness (i.e. fun) that is the Michigan vs. Notre Dame game. Noah was unimpressed with the fact that we were in the car for an extended period of time. I moved the rear-view mirror so that I could see him better without having to turn around while I was trying to entertain him. He was very solemn as he looked out the window, almost sad. I glanced back again to see him and noticed as he looked up out of the window, the most genuine smile appeared on his face… the type of smile that presents when he sees Matt or me after a brief time apart. He reached his little right arm up towards the sky and cooed a few times, had a quick giggle and then the most satisfied expression surfaced.
For me, this was a divine God moment.
I recognize that to anyone else it could be viewed as a simple smile and giggle from a three and a half year old boy. Noah does not just giggle, he is drawn towards slap-stick humor, he has a little Larry, Curly, and Moe in his blood. This was something distinctly different.
The sun that warmed Noah’s spirit warmed mine.
God presents in gentle smiles and childish giggles.
I am so incredibly lucky.
This is obviously not the image that I am describing in the words above, but taken a few days later when Noah had the windows down in the back seat of the car. I thought this was a great picture to share because you see real joy on his precious face.
This child will teach big things, just wait.