The Power of a Gentle Heart

When I was a kid, I would daydream about things like what my wedding would look like, how many kids I would have, what kind of house I would live in, what my job would be…stuff like that. It wasn’t until I actually became a mother for the first time that I actually formed a composite image of what I thought my kids would be like, personality-wise. Any one who has met my first child, Rebekkah, will understand how I might have assumed that all my kids would turn out this way. Rebekkah was one very serious, very stubborn, very intelligent child. I actually had to consciously teach her how to have a sense of humor. Thankfully, once she caught on, there was no stopping her. She loves to laugh. But because she was so intense, I naturally braced myself for my second child.

My son’s birth was just one mishap after another. The poor kid. The pregnancy was not going smoothly, and he was finally born just under 2 months premature. I had lost quite a lot of blood, and was unconscious when they loaded my newborn onto a helicopter and sent him to a large hospital in Dallas. His name was supposed to be Michael Anthony, but according to my ex-husband, somewhere along the way, while I was heavily drugged, I gave him permission to change the baby’s name to William Harold. Of course I had to drugged to allow this!!! So, for the month that I was recovering, my son was in another hospital being called Billy Bell. Not an auspicious start for the little guy. I changed his nickname to DJ. It stands for “Don’t Call My Son Billy Bell”.

I won’t go into every hill and valley this little boy traveled, but I will point out some severe hiccoughs in his childhood. Besides having colic most of his infancy, he had dyslexia, ADHD (if you believe in this disorder. I don’t), and at 12, he developed Type 1 Diabetes. Life simply handed Dj a ton more crap than it did Rebekkah or Caitlyn.

On top of everything else, Dj is sandwiched in birth order between Rebekkah, Leader Extraordinaire, and Caitlyn, Rebel Leader. I spent a lot of time worrying over this little guy, until I realized that he had a far superior gift than either of his sisters. Dj had tons of friends. Now, I would like to differentiate between friends and acquaintances. Most people we meet in life are going to be acquaintances. However, if we are lucky, we’ll have some true-blue friends show up as well. Dj had this aura about him that draws people to him instinctively. And they tend to be real friends. They almost never disappear from his life. They are there to lend a helping hand when needed. They actually take an interest in what is going on in Dj’s life. They love him. I recently told my daughters that I do worry about them sometimes. I worry that they will get their hearts broken, or they won’t find the jobs they want, or that they won’t be able to pay rent. But I don’t worry about Dj. He is guarded by one of the most powerful shields there is — a gentle heart. He doesn’t put people on the defensive. When people see themselves through Dj’s eyes, they like what they see. He doesn’t judge. He doesn’t humiliate. He simply accepts.

I am so proud of all of my kids, but I have an extra little twinge of pride when I see the kindness in my son’s eyes.

Dj, I really am so proud to be your mother. I thank Jesus for you!! I love you.


23 responses to “The Power of a Gentle Heart”

  1. Am actually trying commenting on the go so as I sit here in Costa drinking my vanilla latte reading your post it is a good job it was such a positive one. I would have looked an idiot crying at my phone in public at my age lol I think we naturally assume our kids will be mini me’s but with my daughter she is the complete opposite and I too worry for I worry her stay at home nature means she is missing out on life and experiencesm I guess the best we can do is provide them with the best start and tools to cope with life then stand back and hope we don’t have to pick up too many pieces


    • I know exactly what you mean, Paula!! A mother’s heart is a mother’s heart..we all tend to worry about the same things, don’t we??


  2. I’d love to meet DJ. He sounds like a fancinating young man. Isn’t it funny how birth order sort of guides personalities. Claire is the baby, but in ways, she’s a leader too. She has lived at home since the age of 10 as if she’s the only child because her brothers are older and out of the house. She used to be shy and quiet. Then God added all this personality! People are drawn to her.

    DJ is lucky to have you for a Mom. Sandy


  3. Bird, I loved hearing about your kids. But I have to disagree with you on Dyslexia. I tutored kids with learning disabilities an Jklyn also has dyslexia. I’ve seen it severe, and I’ve seen it mild. It isn’t something they can cure with medicine, and basically is a result of their minds just twisting things like looking at writing in a mirror where it appears to them backwards. That is why most dyslexic kids switch letters around when they learn to right. I have found though that dyslexic kids are just normal kids who are more likely to use their right brain (the creative side) rather than their left brain (the side that is more mechanical and memory side. It can be overcome through teaching them to learn creatively, and doesn’t need to ever really hold them back. I think the problem comes in the medical field always wanting to medicate any child with a learning disability, instead of training teachers to help the kids be overcomers as learners. I have a harder time believing that psychiatrist think they are qualified to diagnose a child with ADD, ADHD, and dyslexia without being in the classroom to see how it affects them first, or seeing them in a home setting. I could always get my daughters with these to be successful learners than at school where there were too many distraction, and less help for them one on one.
    I’ve read your kids blog and they sure do have personality, but I especially like DJ’s writing because he loves to share his sisters’ quirkyness, and how it affects him…lol.


    • No! I believe dyslexia is real..I was talking about ADHD. The doc put DJ on ritalin and it made him this little zombie. I took him back off of it immediately, and the kid was fine. Maybe it is real…I wouldn’t know. I do know DJ didn’t have it!
      DJ has the coolest, laid back personality. He’s very family oriented. I appreciate you checking their stuff out! Thanks!


      • That’s what I was talking about. Today they are too quick to say everything is ADD or ADHD. They put one of my daughters on 4 meds at one time for ADHD, she tried to jump off a 3rd floor balcony while taking it. It took myself and 2 other daughters to get her down. Then they changed the meds, and put her on another 4…she broke into my closet and took her meds and tried to commit suicide again. After that I took her off of all of them…moved to a new state with different ways of dealing with it. The new doctor couldn’t believe they did that. He took her off of them and put her on one…then took her off of it quickly when he saw what it did to her temper, and instead put her in with a counselor. Turned out she was angry with her dad for making her feel rejected by him. My husband now came into the picture and has been like the dad she always wanted. She quit acting out and started straightening up. Now on Father’s Day she doesn’t even call my ex, she instead calls my husband, her stepdad and tells him, Happy Father’s Day. That is what I meant by they jump to the conclusion that all these kids with learning disabilities need meds. Bad thing is these meds create more problems for kids who might have a simple learning problem.


        • Man! I’m glad I wouldn’t put him on meds…that is a terrifying story!!! I’ve always been careful about medicating my kids…Pills never seemed safe to me!


          • It was my first experience with it, and I can tell you it was a great time of fear. My daughter on those meds went from being violent and abusive to me, to depressed and suicidal in moments. Without it, she now has more control. When she is depressed she calls and talks it through with me. When she feels angry over something, she calls and talks to my husband so he can calm her down. She is more loving, even crying on my shoulder when she is sad, and laughing when she is happy. She hasn’t had those meds since she was 16 and the difference is night and day.


            • Thank God she wasn’t able to permanently damage and/or kill herself! God was watching out after your family!! Praise the Lord!!


              • Yes he did watch out for us. The hard thing for her now is guilt, because that abuse led to some injuries to my back that has been the catalyst for some of my health problems. Every time she sees me with my cane or in bed in pain, she apologizes over and over and cries. I tell her that I know that she is, and that she doesn’t need to let the guilt take over her life, because I knew that those meds had a lot to deal with it, and that I love her no matter what, and I’m proud of how she is now because this is the real her.


                  • It is, and she struggles no matter how much I let her know that I forgive her and that Jesus can forgive her. When she gets like that all I want to do is hug her and go smack the psychiatrist that gave her the meds that made her that way. I think kids with ADD and ADHD would benefit more if we redirected their hyper tendencies into creative projects, like art, sports, and other such interests. I know they benefit more from one on one educational opportunities and from classrooms that are well structured. For my daughter a stint in boot camp and going into ROTC in high school was a plus. She flourished as a drill sargeant in ROTC, and loved the marching in formation. It really made a difference in her…focus and discipline.


  4. You wrote that in such a beautiful manner! Made me teary-eyed thinking about my son. I hope more than anything that he is a kind person with a good heart when he grows up. Clearly you did a good job teaching that! 🙂


    • Oh, that is so sweet of you to say!!! I think I’m going to have to give God the credit on DJ….No matter how much life slaps him around, he remains unbitter and optimistic. 🙂


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