A message from Nathan, a poem he wrote and asked me to share
After having two precious little ones, I wanted another. I prayed and asked God to bless our little clan with one more. In the middle of the night, after just 40 minutes of labor, my little boy started to arrive and the doctor was not even in the room. He made a fast entry, and the doctor “caught” him just in time, after I had held my contractions in long enough for him to prep for the birth at the Long Beach Hospital.
Nathan John, “beloved, blessed by God” is what his name signified. We believed him to be a special gift and asked God to bless according to His loving-kindness and to validate the name we had chosen for him.
His issues started early. At night, I would sing to him, try to soothe him, rocking, standing, walking, everything I could imagine. But little Nathan would arch his back, flail his little fists at me and scream and cry for hours on end. My mother heart longed to comfort him, but my physical self became exhausted. Still this little boy charmed my heart in so many ways.
“You are blessed and beloved by God, my sweet boy,” I would whisper in his ear as I walked him for hours on end.
It started early. At bedtime, he could not go to sleep if he did not remember me doing the “exact” routine that we repeated every night. “Please, please pray again, mama! I can’t go to sleep if I don’t remember the prayer.”
And so I would think, “Is this manipulation or a real need?” Such a simple request to fulfill for bringing peace to the night.
That was just the beginning of puzzling situations.
Fast forward through the years, I was often perplexed at Nathan’s behavior. Sometimes he was the most charming little guy ever born, and other times he would throw a tantrum, scream, ask for me to do something I had already done, one more time. Or he would repeat things one more time. His moods varied.
I had never heard of OCD, or studied dyslexia or known about any educational or mental issues.
“You just need to spank him more! He has obviously not been disciplined enough!” my well-meaning friends, whose children fit “in the box” would often say to me.
Yet, I could see that as I softly tickled his little back while doing math, he was able to concentrate more. He was so very bright in telling stories, in making creative worlds. He was a pied piper and always attracted children to our home. He gave me sweet, “I love you, mama!” notes. He led gangs of friends around our yard with obstacle courses he had designed, wrote long stories, (even though he could not spell), acted out being a hero and saving people.
Spanking him more just did not seem right to me, as I could see he had a heart to respond, but sometimes obeying seemed beyond his ability. And I could see his heart–a big heart with lots of love, ideals, and ideas.
Always, I whispered forward into his little ears, “You were prayed for and you are my special blessed and beloved by God boy. I can’t wait to see the story your life will tell. You will be a hero in your generation.”
Fast forward through years of mystery, drama, difficulties, complications, and hours and hours of praying out to God to understand and find answers to help his life be easier. Finally, I began to read and find out possibilities of what might be going on in his little mind. But I wish I had understood and known more from the beginning.
I can member right as Nathan was entering adolescence at around 13, OCD reared its ugly head in Nathan’s life even more and Nathan began to experience the darkness that came with it, feeling plagued daily, and hourly, with obsessive thoughts about being dirty, and continued contamination, to the point that he didn’t want anyone to touch him, and would have to take 3 to 4 showers a day and (like he says in the video) would wash his hands until they bled, just so his young mind could have momentary respite from the never ending, and unwanted thoughts.
Many of our days were quite grim. Nathan wanted me to write about this so that others could know we found the grace of God to be amidst the dark passages of his life, but the lessons were learned slowly–and for me through many years of putting one foot in front of the other, trying to understand.
When I speak of owning your life, and wrote about it, a part of my worship was to own my role as a mama of several children who struggled with mental illness. He who called me would make me adequate one day at a time.
So much more to tell. Was the journey easy?
Did formulas ever work?
No, but God led me to know how to encourage and help him grow, by faith and by seeking wisdom.
Was I blessed to be his mama?
And God used my precious Nathan to teach me more about himself than I could ever imagine.
Nathan in a shot from his recent movie!
So, now, as I see my still OCD, mysterious “beloved and blessed by God” creating movies to reach the lost, seeking to become more excellent as a writer, film maker, wanting to use his life to make an impact, I understand that indeed, he was exactly my answer to prayer when I asked God to give me another child, and I know he was exactly what this Clarkson clan needed and wanted.
And as a much older, more experienced mama, I see that God’s ways are as high above my ways and his thoughts as high above my thoughts as the heavens are above the earth–and I see so much more clearly, that God’s ways are exactly suited to my life.
And I am the most blessed mama ever to have been chosen to be the mama of wonderful Nathan John Clarkson. Could not imagine my world without him.
I think OCD means
and the best boy a mama could hope for.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Nathan! And May the rest of your days be kissed by his grace and favor!
See what Nathan is doing now. He just wrote, raised funds for, produced his first film! You can order or buy it a numerous locations.