Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Using our gifts and talents to SHAPE our lives

This past week I had two opportunities to observe and be grateful for the gifts and talents my kids possess.  It is tempting at times -- and I think this is true regardless of whether we have "special needs" kids or not -- to focus on challenges and what isn't going well, because challenges require so much time and energy to deal with.

But instead these were moments when I sat back, amazed, and wondered, "WHO IS THIS PERSON?"

Allison has been taking a drama class this semester.  When course-selection time came around last year and we met with a teacher to discuss her Grade 10 choices, there was no doubt about one of Allison's selections:  her eyes lit up, she sat up straight, and she said with an eager smile, "I think I'd like to take drama!"  It's been a good experience for her.  Her teacher is a Christian who attends our church, and she's been very supportive and encouraging.

Last Wednesday night the school hosted an informal Evening of Theatre.  Several students from Allison's drama class had been asked to perform monologues they had written themselves, and Allison was one of them.  She played a man who was writing a letter to his daughter from prison and explaining why he had committed the crime he had.  It was pretty astonishing to observe Allison's creativity -- both the humour of her performance and the darker side of the character she was portraying --  and the way she could get inside that character's head so convincingly.  I was so proud of her.

Then on Sunday after church our family was walking home through Victoria Park; we met a friend coming the other way and stopped to chat.  Nearby, a guy who appeared to be around 25 was shooting baskets by himself at the small, dilapidated basketball court.  Jonathan wandered over to the edge of the court and must have said or done something that suggested he'd like to participate.  The man tossed him the ball; Jonathan gave it a couple of pats and then flipped it confidently up and through the basket.  The guy gave him the ball again and he made another basket and then passed the ball back to his new friend.  (Nice sharing!)  Next time Jonathan got his hands on the ball, he turned and trotted down to the other end of the court where the basket actually had netting on it.  The guy followed him, and they traded several more shots, with Jonathan consistently getting the ball in the net -- just like a couple of buddies out playing one-on-one.  Our friend was watching the whole process with a huge smile on his face as if this had just made his day.

I remember reading Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life a number of years ago, and it talked about our SHAPE:   Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences.  One of their online articles has this to say:

"What I’m able to do, God wants me to do.  We are the only person on earth who can use our abilities.  No one else can play our role, because they don’t have the unique shape that God has given us."*

Allison can use her ability to write and act to experience enjoyment, and to entertain others.  Jonathan can use his basketball skills to get exercise, practice social skills, and make other people smile.  And both of them can use their talents to glorify God, who gave each of them their unique shape.





*Quote from http://purposedrivenlife2005.blogspot.ca/

photo property of Jeannie Prinsen 2014

8 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Jeannie! Thank you for using your unique gifts to paint word pictures of both of those scenes. You are an artist!

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    1. Hearing from you makes my day, Melody! Thanks for commenting! Hope you & your beautiful family are doing well -- we miss you lots.

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  2. THANK YOU Jeannie for sharing these words and reminding me to look at my kids' SHAPE!!! These days it's been easy to focus on the struggles but thank you so much for reminding me to look at their Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences!

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    1. That is a neat concept, isn't it, Sharon -- I hadn't thought about it in a long time but I went to our friend Google to look up a Bible verse about talents and this popped up. Thanks for commenting and for sharing the link on FB.

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  3. Amen and Hallelujah! What a great story about both of your kids. That's impressive that your daughter WROTE her own monologue in addition to performing, and God has a unique shape for your son too. I love this!

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    1. Thank you, Betsy. We may think that as parents we have our kids all figured out and then they do things that make us realize they are TOTALLY their own person, wired the way God's made them. Parker Palmer, another writer I enjoy reading, talks about our "birthright gifts." Being on the lookout for those in our kids is so important, isn't it?

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  4. You have much to celebrate in those kids and their lives, Jeannie. I love how you brought us alongside you as you watched them on stage and on the basketball court.

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    1. Thanks, Tim -- it was such a fun moment! I couldn't believe I was standing there thinking (about an 11-year-old) "Get it in! Get it in!" but I was. Not that Jonathan wouldn't have had just as much fun even if he hadn't gotten so many baskets; he'd just have said, "SO close!"

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