William the Strong

When William was two months old, I took him to the pediatrician for a checkup. "He's really tight," our doctor said.

"Yep," I nodded. "It's hard for me to get him dressed. His arms are so strong I can hardly pull them away from his body."

He frowned. "He has extremely high muscle tone."

I've watched enough doctors express concern that I knew to ask, "Are you thinking this could be a problem?"

"Well..." He looked at me. "Well, it could indicate a neurological problem. We'll know better in a few months."

As it turns out, William's brain is fine. He simply has extremely high muscle tone. In other words, the kid is very strong.

I see it as he climbs into his high chair, or when he loses his balance but doesn't fall, or when he drags an object from one room to another. William is also (and has always been) very intense. Intensely happy most of the time, but over the course of most days he expresses the full range of human emotions. He burst into tears, for instance, when I took away his yogurt (which had become an opportunity to paint the placemat) this morning. He stomps his feet when he doesn't get his way. He spends most of the day running, but when tiredness hits, he tugs on my leg, "Tired, Mommy. Need a nap." Strong and capable and intense.

This morning, I was praying for our family. I have a notecard with specific requests for William. Things like, "good mentors later on in life" and "good preschool next fall" and "sleep longer in the morning!" At the top of the card is the verse from the Bible that our pastor chose for William when he was dedicated at our church at five-months old: "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:1). Our pastor knew nothing of William's unusual strength, and yet he gave me a way to pray for my son, that his strength would be the strength that comes, not from power and self-will, but the strength that comes from grace.

Be strong in grace, my son. Amen.

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