What I’m Learning from Wesley, My New Teacher

Keith KettenringBible Insights, Christian Living16 Comments

In December, a child entered my life, not unlike Jesus himself. I may be a heretic, but I think he’s about as close to an image of Jesus as a human can be. I don’t think this is hyperbole or simply a proud grandpapa bragging on his new grandson. He has changed my life. Not only an adjustment to my schedule, prayers, and thoughts. He has wiggled his precious self into my heart and snuggled there warming every cell with his innocent goodness.

Wesley is a precious gift from God’s love who has been diagnosed with Downs Syndrome. Practically, that sets his parents, and all of us, on a different path of compassionate care for him. However, it also softens our hearts to a depth of love we never knew possible…at least for me anyway. Everyone else was probably there already.

Without a doubt, I love Wesley with all my being. Yet there is also a humble acknowledgment that every part of my being needs Wesley. I sit at his feet, open my heart, and learn from him. (My favorite way to hold him is while sitting down in outstretched arms with Wesley facing me, full-body, looking into each other’s face, eyes attentive to the other…his feet at my stomach. Literally, I’m sitting at his feet.)

It’s hard to put into words, but Wesley has rocked my inner world disrupting me in significant ways I never imagined. Here are a few things he’s refurbishing in me during his first 8 weeks of life:

  • He is not “productive” but changes my life simply by being alive. His value to my life does not depend on anything he does. He simply exists. Yet, by existing, he affects everyone around him. Wesley slays my penchant to think I only matter if I am productive. I’ve sold my soul to the notion that my value lies in my performance and competency. Wesley shatters my misguided understanding and renovates my heart. He reorients my relationship with God to one of simple being. He lives in a pointless yet dynamic relationship with me and that is enough.
  • This little man effortlessly lives solely dependent on others for his well-being. Practically, he can do very little without his mother and father. He clearly demonstrates all that is entailed in what is called “faith.” His ability and need to trust is unwavering and integral to his being.  I lack that kind of faith. So, I learn from Wesley what it is to have faith in God. He’s the teacher, I’m the student. He teaches me to trust God by how he lives moment by moment. I rely on my own abilities and thinking to get me through life. Wesley doesn’t do that. When it comes to reliance on God, I need to be a Wesley.
  • When I look into his eyes, I see a little human free from the derelictions and defects which I possess. He exudes gentleness, dependency, quietness, goodness, and simplicity…attributes that characterize Jesus Christ. He is profoundly more like Jesus than I am or ever will be on earth. My heart genuinely aches to be like him. He’s my new hero in every sense of the word. I want to be like him in heart and spirit.
  • The kingdom belongs only to those who are childlike, Jesus says. For me to “get in,” I need to become a Wesley. Yet, I am far from being like him. What words can describe such a heart and mind as Wesley’s – guileless, humble, meek, innocent, pure, untainted, or virtuous? These are virtues Jesus calls us to, yet we struggle to see them in our lives. It makes me wonder if I’ll ever experience the kingdom of heaven. But, I’m inspired by this little human displaying Jesus and kingdom life as I hold him in my arms.

I hope I never stop learning from Wesley. There will be challenging days ahead. Yet, God in his great love and mercy will direct our ways together…as long as I am open to that direction.

I’d appreciate your prayers for God’s mercy as our family continues to care for Wesley and learn from him.

Dr. K/Keith

16 Comments on “What I’m Learning from Wesley, My New Teacher”

  1. Looking forward to our first grandchild in June, so much to learn.

    The love of a child is truly unconditional.

    You and your family are in our prayers.

    1. Thanks, Sam! Congrats on your forthcoming grandchild. As I was told, you’ll discover a depth of love you didn’t know you possessed. Blessings, Keith

  2. Precious truths here. Thank you for reminding me that childlike dependence and weakness is a strength!

    1. Thanks, Sis! His strength in our weakness. We’ll get to see this in our little guy and (hopefully) learn it ourselves. Keith

  3. Super sweet, Keith! We pray for little Wesley every day and you all as well.

    Love you all tons!

  4. The photos clearly show the overflowing abundance of love, joy, and intimacy! Praying for Wesley and your entire family!

    1. Thank you, Tom. You have walked this path for many decades and can relate to our joy. Thank you for your prayers and love. Keith

    1. I can’t wait for you to meet him. He’ll be so big by the time y’all get here ;-). He’s a precious gift. Thanks be to God! Keith

  5. Awesome reflections Keith! And what a super cutie! Love your words, your heart, your family and especially Wesley! His richest Blessings on you and especially that beautiful child.

  6. What a beautiful post and what a beautiful little boy. You and your family will be forever changed by this precious gift.

    1. Hi Wendy. Thanks! We look forward to many years of much growth due to his being with us. Blessings! Keith

  7. Just met you this morning Keith. I felt God’s prodding me to leave my porch and go out to meet you. I did not know anything about you, only felt sure you were a praying man. I thank God that he can lead us and I look forward to more interactions with you and Rhonda. God bless you.

    1. Hi Jo. It was my pleasure to meet you this morning. Thank you for the good conversation. I will be praying for your grandson to see God’s goodness and mercy as a draw to a relationship with Him. Blessings to you and Jay as well. Keith

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