Minister Maxwell, Preaches to the Pastor!
Yesterday, I was asked, “how has parenting Maxwell grown you as a person?” I thought to myself, hmmmm– great question! Almost instinctively, since I’m now a preacher and pastor, I view most of life through a theological, so it shouldn’t be a surprise as to how I reflect on the ways I’ve grown since having Maxwell.
Family, one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible can be found in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” In my opinion, this scripture suggests, that no matter who we are in this world, ALL OF US are created in God’s image. Now, I’m not going to get into a debate about what God’s image entails– be it physical, spiritual, or cerebral characteristics. I just believe ALL of humanity is created in God’s image; and my son, Maxwell reminds me of this fact everyday.
For instance, the other day, I was visiting the pediatrician with Maxwell and in the room was a chart of cognitive and motor skill milestones, that babies/children should reach by a certain age. Looking at this chart saddened me some because, at 12 months old, Maxwell has missed just about every motor skill milestone and is severely delayed with his cognitive milestones. When I see other babies his age; and they’re walking, playing, grabbing, reaching, running, and clapping, I can’t help but wish Maxwell were developing like his peers.
Then I’m reminded, Maxwell was born with brain injuries (HIE), and he can’t control how his brain develops. Maxwell can’t help the way he was born, it wasn’t his fault, it’s NO ONE’S FAULT!! He was born like he is! And for me, if I truly believe that everyone is created in God’s image and that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made; then despite how my son was born, despite what milestones he reaches and doesn’t reach, despite how people may give us funny looks/stares when they see his G-Tube, hear his noisy breathing (tracheomalacia), see him have seizures, or wonder why he’s not crawling and walking at 12- months old; he’s still created in God’s image and fearfully and wonderfully made.
Everyday that Maxwell is alive, he gives me his sermon; I’m a miracle, I’m strong, I’m resilient, God made me, I’m handsome, I’m an answer to prayers, I bring joy to many, God’s not through with me, don’t feel sorry for me, and you better love and accept me for who I am!!! In the words of Lady Gaga, “I was born like this,” and like Beyoncé, “I woke up like this!”
By being a faithful father to Maxwell, he teaches me that there is no such thing as normal, ALL people are different and unique, and should be treated as such. I’m learning not to compare people to other people, no two individuals are the same, but everyone has inherent worth and value. I’m learning that despite differences in race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, creed, or abilities; we ALL are created in God’s image. Therefore, as a parent, Christian, and pastor, it’s my job to love ALL of God’s people; and to take it a step further; it’s my job to be inclusive (separate post on inclusivity) to ALL of God’s people. Maxwell teaches me to meet people where they are in life, despite how society may view or marginalize certain groups; ALL of us are created in God’s image. This realization causes me to appreciate, value, respect, accept, and love my son even more! He’s my Super Mighty Max and I’m going to do ALL I can to make the world a better and more inclusive place for Super Mighty kids like him!