Frustration, a sense of helplessness, and weariness were my companions almost every day when my little boy, Nathan, was 5 years old. "No!"was his favorite answer to my requests. There seemed to be no natural grid for social situations.
Arguing was often a daily practice at the dinner table. When the other kids walked on the sidewalks, he ran on the borders of the gardens, he was loud, active, wiggly and somehow always caused trouble.
Yet, God whispered to me in my times alone, as I would seek Him for answers. "Trust me. Be patient. Love him. Look inside to see his heart, to understand who I made him to be."
And so little by little, I sought to give life, to pursue him, to sit with him and listen to him talk and talk and talk.
Eventually, I would find out that there were letters that helped to define some of his issues: Clinical OCD and Anxiety; Learning issues; ODD, ADHD and a couple more. But I did not understand all of that back then.
One day, as we sat on the front porch of our country house in Texas, I squished close to him on a porch swing.
"What have you been thinking about in that smart little head of yours, Nathan?"
"Mama, I think I am going to be like superman when I grow up. He came from a far off place to help people. That's what Jesus did--he came from a far off place to help people who needed him. I am going to be a superman when I grow up."
Through the years, Nathan continued to nurture his imagination of becoming one who would become a redeemer when he was an adult. We read countless hero tales, I read him biographies, slowly trained his character, and lived through ups and downs of his out of the box life.
Always, it was a journey of faith, one day at a time, accepting his limitations daily. Forgiving myself for imperfectly responding to him when my own limitations spilled into my relationship with him.
He needed a lifegiving home more than anyone--a place where he could be himself without constant condemnation and correction; a place where rhythms of life gave some stability--meal times, devotions, training all of my children to love over and over again, helping him grow strong little by little into his abilities, his strengths, while seeking to shore up his vulnerabilities. And so the years passed, we lived through years of challenges, love, made memories and became a family who learned to grow daily by ending each day living in love, commitment, and forgiveness amidst the moments of life.
As a young adult, he moved into pursued acting. Eventually, after writing, producing and acting in a movie, it was picked up and Walmart, Netflix and was played in many other places.
"Mom, I keep getting letters from kids who are out of the box, wondering how I ever made it this far. I think we can write a book about our journey that will give "different, out of the box people hope. And you can encourage moms who have out of the box kids hope for how we made it through."
And so, now I see him, finally, beginning to become a superhero--by becoming a super hero, coming to help to redeem others who need help.
Nathan joins Kristen Kill and me today to tell you a little about our journey. I hope you will all be encouraged and inspired by God's faithfulness through our years. No matter what circumstance you find yourself in, there is hope. I know because there were so many times in all the years of my life where I struggled, doubted, wondered, but kept learning to trust God one day, one struggle at a time.
To find out more about Nathan, go to Nathanclarkson.me
I hope our book will be of great help and encouragement to moms who felt like me.