A Walking Miracle
Last weekend, one of my favourite hawkers told me that it was his 60th birthday. I froze because I had no idea what the appropriate response should be. Should I give him a gift? He went on to say that someone gave him a gift weighing half a kg. Then, my brain hung because I wondered what significance the weight of a gift had for a 60th birthday. He spoke in Chinese and that a half a kg thingy he mentioned sounded like "elephant." So, I wondered if I should give him an elephant figurine. I do have celadon elephants in my gift drawers (where I keep a stash of purchases that can be used as gifts in times when I need one urgently and have no time to shop). There was just too much to process. I had no idea how to respond.
So, I fled.
I did not even wish him Happy Birthday.
That, dear readers, is the reality of living inside my little autistic brain.
I wake up every morning conscious of the fact that I am a walking miracle. Anybody with half a brain can see that Dr. Pet is completely unqualified to teach EQ. Why? Because Dr. Pet is autistic. Yet, the reality is that, in the past 8 years, children have come through my tuition centre and gone away learning....
- how to resolve conflict
- how to influence
- how to lead
- how to be kind
- how to be considerate
- how to control emotions.
Fathers I have never met, ring on my doorbell and offer me warm words of thanks, saying, "My family life has changed because you have changed my wife."
It is said that God does not choose the qualified. Instead, God qualifies the chosen. I wake up every morning keenly aware that I am a poorly qualified walking miracle. I am the weakest, the least able and the most unlikely person to be teaching children how to lead, and parents how to love.
Years ago, I read 2 books by Bruce Wilkinson:
- The Prayer of Jabez
- Secrets of the Vine
Today, I was reminded of them because my life has taken a turn that I cannot explain unless I go back to the prayers that these 2 books taught me to pray.
The Prayer of Jabez
The actual Jabez Prayer has 4 parts:
- God, please bless me.
- God, please enlarge my territories.
- God, please keep me from evil.
- God, please prevent me from causing pain.
Somehow, from the Jabez Prayer, I retained 2 things only. For the past 20 years, since reading the book, I pray a small daily prayer, a few times a day.
(1) God, keep me from evil. Make me good. I want to be a good girl.
(2) God, bless me.
The Secrets of the Vine
The Secrets of the Vine taught me that my life must bear fruit. It also taught me that I cannot bear fruit unless I am a branch connected at all times to God, the vine.
The Secrets of the Vine spoke to me. I wanted my life to bear fruit. I did not want to be someone who lived and died, without bearing any fruit. At first, my desire was to bear 3 plumper than plump clusters of grapes: The Husband, The Son and The Daughter. My desire was that I would nourish these three with the high quality spiritual nourishment that I drew from God. Connected to God the Vine, I would be the branch to nourish into fruition THREE of the heaviest clusters of grapes that I personally knew.
That desire has come true. Meanwhile, I still continue to pray everyday...
(1) God, make me good. I want to be a good girl.
(2) God, bless me.
What I did not expect was that The Jabez Prayer, even when only half prayed, comes wholly true.
Enlarged Territories + More Fruit On the Vine
I did NOT pray to have my territories enlarged. Yet, God has placed Skinny Grape Children under my care who have slowly fattened up into juicy clusters of sweet grapes, some of them holding the promise of being heavier and more juicy than my own children.
One child came to me with a propensity for violence. He could not be trusted in team sports because he liked to talk with his fists. This one even kicked his School Principal. He has since become humble, loving and gentle. Pistachio loves him.
Another joined me, sour and dour. She fought with her parents at home. She disliked her friends in school. At home, she was sulky and uncooperative. She is now happy in school, cheerful and wise at home.
Yet another was passive-aggressive. He arrived at the centre guarded and rebellious. He has since matured into a leader his peers respect.
Yet another arrived saying, "How much are you paying Dr. Pet, Mama? You should withdraw me from her class you know because it is not worth the money. You are only funding her big house." His mother laughed when she told me this, amused that a boy of 9 could think up this reason to not come for Dr. Pet's classes. At home, he challenged his Mom, "I don't see the point of doing so much school HW." His attitude to school has now improved, and he is one of my most enthusiastic students.
Another child wanted to be bribed for attending my classes. Her relationship with her parents was so poor that she threatened to call the police on them. Don't get me wrong. The parents had done nothing to deserve the police at their door. I am simply trying to describe how toxic the emotional environment, in the home, was. This child has since become agreeable and cooperative. The last I heard, she is adamant to stay in my class.
So now, my territories have been enlarged because my influence is reaching into families. Parents love better and children are happier because of me (or more accurately, because of God in me). As a branch connected to God, the Vine, I am now bearing more than 3 clusters of grapes.
I must say that I am rather ambivalent about what is happening. I had thought that I had reached a sweet spot in my life where I could exercise a lot, work only a little and still be able to get by.
To my dismay, last week, I was so busy that I had no time to exercise. There are too many parents to coach. I know myself. I hate working hard. I love playing and lazing around. The thought came, "Why do this? Why bother? Life as you know it will change, now that The Collaboration Corner is in Upper Bukit Timah."
Then, something prompted me to dig out my old book, The Prayer of Jabez. I quote from there.
The Cycle of Blessings
As you repeat the steps, you will set in motion a cycle of blessing that will keep multiplying what God is able to do in and through you. This is the exponential growth. You have asked for and received more blessing, more territory, more power, and more protection. The growth curve soon starts to spike upwards. As the cycle repeats itself, you'll find that you are steadily moving into wider spheres of blessing and influence, spiraling ever outward and upward into the larger life for God.
The day will come - and come repeatedly during your life - that you will be overwhelmed with God's graciousness ... The cycle of blessings will give your life a good testing. Will you let God work in your life regardless of what He chooses? It will always be for your best. Will you surrender to His power and love and SURPRISING plan for you?
Note that I have underlined the word "surprising." I am surprised. I am also unsure. I am also a little scared. However, re-reading The Prayer of Jabez has given me strength and confidence. I will follow this path for as long as God signs me to follow. I will not stress. I will not worry.
All that I have done so far, was not really my credit anyway. It has always been God, and only He.
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