My husband recently took me out for a “No Talking Surprise.” You might wonder what a “No Talking Surprise” is. Let me explain. When my darling first-born approached the age of about four or five years old, she exhibited all the traits of a precocious child that NEVER stopped talking. Stephanie was a lively, imaginative, and good-natured, happy child. Her main goal in life (to this day, actually) is to make sure that EVERYONE was and is as happy as she. Now someone might say, “Oh, my dear, Robin! That’s not so surprising. All little children are full of energy.” (Imagine a condescending tolerant voice with an English accent.)
This statement would be correct for most kids, but Stephanie was different from the moment she came into the world. She had one of those designer conditions—Attention Deficit Disorder with a dash of “Hyperactivity” thrown in for good measure. (God truly does have a sense of humor!) I would say that we had no idea why she was so talkative and active all the time, but after seeing some home movies of my husband as a child, I pretty much figured my doom was upon me. (Some people theorize the condition to be hereditary. I subscribe to this theory as Danielle also has ADD.)
You might think I lived a life of despair. There were times (surprisingly in more recent years) that I had very non-Christian thoughts, but what parent doesn’t when she wakes up to a messy house in the morning that was clean the night before—while her ADHD child sleeps peacefully in the middle of the living room floor, surrounded by the chaos he or she has created?
On a side note…
To those who have children that have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, may I just say one thing. Hang in there and strive to see the humor in most situations as your children grow into adulthood. If you can, you will discover some wonderfully hilarious things. But that is for another blog. Just trust me on this.
Life was and is one big adventure to Stephanie, and did I mention that she NEVER stopped talking? One of her favorite pastimes was to ask questions. Not just “Where do babies come from?” or “Are we there yet?” She wanted to know the reason for EVERYTHING that came within her sphere of awareness. If it didn’t make sense to her, then she would keep asking questions until we would look longingly at the bottle of Dimetapp and wish for a sniffle. To Stephanie, “no explanation” was simply unacceptable. There must be a reason for everything. She still struggles with the idea that some situations just don’t make sense.
Back to the “No Talking Surprise.”
Whenever we took this child anywhere—Disney World, Busch Gardens, the zoo, or simply to get ice cream—she would ask a hundred times, “Where are we going?” Because, as an ADD child, she forgot things almost instantly, we came up with the phrase “No Talking Surprise.” When we explained to her that we were going somewhere, that it was a surprise and that it was so special that we couldn’t talk about it because it would ruin the surprise, for some reason, that clicked in her little mind. She would say, “Okay.” Then she would sit down and look for something else to do until we got wherever we were going.
This little phrase brought immense joy and relief to two tired parents, who loved their “jabber-jay” dearly and didn’t want to spend time in jail.
What were they thinking?
Our experience with Stephanie makes me think about Israel and God’s “No Talking Surprise.” Think about it. Israel waited for their Messiah for how many hundreds of years? They kept praying that God would send the Messiah to deliver them from this bondage or that. They waited and waited. They asked questions of the prophets. The prophets explained God’s plan to them, but the people of Israel didn’t understand. It didn’t make sense to them that their Messiah wouldn’t come as a conqueror. So they chose to put their own spin on the prophecies and continued to look and watch and wait.
They didn’t realize that the Messiah had to come as a Suffering Servant before He could come as the Reigning King. In Isaiah 53:1-8, Scripture talks about how Jesus would have to suffer for the sins of His people to deliver them from their sins.
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
How does this impact me?
The reaction of the Israelites also reminds me about all the times I have wanted an answer from God about whatever situation I found myself in that made no sense. (This one is for you, my sweet girl!) I ask Him, “Why is this happening, Father?” I imagine Him smiling at me in love, saying, “My child, this is a no talking surprise. Trust Me.”
It’s hard to say, “Okay, Lord. Here I am. I’m trusting you to reveal in Your time what Your purpose was in that experience.” I struggle to let my question go and to hold Jesus’ nail-scarred hand and say, “I’m ready. Lead me where You want me to serve You.” Or something even more difficult: “Lord, my child is suffering. I don’t like it, and I desperately want You to heal her, but if that is not Your plan, then please hold her and hold me as we walk through this situation.”
We may never know the reasons for hardship, suffering, and pain here on earth, but isn’t it good to know that we can trust in Jesus, Who is the Suffering Servant and will walk with us all the way, never leaving us alone.
And in case anyone is wondering, my husband’s No Talking Surprise turned out to be an afternoon together running errands and having ice cream. It was sweet and it was wonderful!
In the meantime, God bless you during this Easter Holiday and keep you all!
Chapter 3 – Kylee’s Story (Click the link, then tap the chapter)