I am reading a new book by Richard Foster’s son, Nathan Foster. I cannot say enough good things about it. I highly recommend buying and reading, “The making of an ordinary saint: My journey from frustration to joy with the spiritual disciplines”. I have only read three chapters (submission, fasting, and study), but his authentic and humble style of writing has challenged me.
In his fourth chapter on study, Nathan discloses his struggles with a learning disability. I cannot imagine how difficult this had to be for him being the son of such a brilliant and famous man, but he chose to face his struggles with learning as a spiritual discipline. He gave up the need to compete or impress, to stay safely within the confines of his talents, and asked a colleague to tutor him in grammar and writing:
“Making this process a spiritual discipline happened naturally as my work kept bumping me into God. My learning became a prayerful experience of wonder and amazement. “God, what does this mean? How can I use this? Teach me abou the gift of language and how together we can creatively use it for good and beauty.” (p. 54)
I am so glad he did because the truths in his book are profound. And his journey reminds me of my daughter’s journey with reading. I have shared some of her struggles in school (see “praying momma”), but I have not talked about her lingering anxiety over her reading fluency. She feels anxious if she is asked to read aloud because her reading speed is slower than her peers. Every night before she reads at bedtime, she asks me to pray. And every night her speed and concentration have gradually improved. She asks God for help and then bravely tackles her fears of inadequacy. And growth in reading and spiritual growth are intertwined as she learns to trust God with her deepest needs.