You Are Wonderfully Made by Kristi Dale
Posted on February 07 2018
You are Wonderfully Made.
By Kristi Dews Dale
“They were relentless” her Sunday School teacher said. My heart ached as the teacher described the scene. My daughter being cornered by a brother and sister who were new to the class and who had never seen a child with a missing hand before. My five-year-old daughter tried to explain to them that God made her this way. But they continued, “You’re creepy and scary. Why do you look like that?” The teacher intervened several times but the kids continued. When they came back the next week, their mother and the teacher had talked to them more about differences in people and they were not cruel to my daughter again.
But the damage had already been done. Usually, I alter my daughter’s long sleeve clothing so that one sleeve is shorter but the next Sunday my daughter wanted to leave it long, letting the fabric fall over her arm to conceal the missing hand. My heart sank.
We adopted my daughter when she was one and have watched her grow into a confident, beautiful and joyful child. We have encouraged her and built her up for these very moments that we knew, sadly, would come. We explain to her friends that she can do almost anything they can do, just a little differently. Our family, extended family and friends have come alongside us to make her feel special. But as she gets older and we release her into the world more, she will be faced with these moments more often.
Everyone reading this is thinking to themselves, “how awful, how mean.” But if we are honest with ourselves we have all judged someone for how they look. Maybe not out loud, but in the secret spaces of our brain. We have judged and maybe not even felt bad about it.
But people with special needs and disabilities are wonderfully made, as is all of creation. A God who “counts the stars and knows them by name” is a detail-oriented God.
Moreover, he is a planner. God says “My counsel shall stand and I will accomplish all my purpose.” (Isaiah 46:10) He has made a plan for our world before time began. All of us are part of that plan. We all have a race set before us to run. (Hebrews 12:1)
I may never know until I reach heaven why God planned for my daughter to be born without a hand but I can tell you what I have learned from parenting a child with a disability.
People with special needs and disabilities bring JOY to our world. They find happiness in everything and that happiness is contagious. Strangers smile watching my daughter push a tiny shopping cart around the grocery store giggling as she goes along. She is determined to fill it to the brim with groceries to help her mama.
They teach us ENDURANCE. I watch my daughter hurtle forward over and over attempting to learn how to do a cartwheel in gymnastics class. Over and over again she falls and gets up again. How many times have I given up or wanted to give up when frustration and hardship were put in my path. Yet here she is persisting in her goal and trying her hardest. A lesson I need to learn from her.
They are PATIENT. I was told early on by Shriner’s Hospital staff to “let her struggle to do tasks by herself.” As a mom, watching a two-year-old with one hand learn to dress herself and not help her was hard. But she patiently learned to accomplish this task along with so many others.
They are at full of LOVE. You can see it on their faces. They have enough for every man, woman and animal on the planet. They are overflowing with this gift. It is a blessing to the world.
What is awesome about people with disabilities and special needs is they possess so many qualities that God values. All of these qualities I have mentioned are gifts from God. Galatians 5:22 list these gifts, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Every person is wonderfully made by God. We are all unique and special. The eye is bored looking at a forest of all oak trees. Our forest is made beautiful when all the trees, big and small, with brilliant greens, reds, and gold leaves adorn the landscape.
So my challenge today is for us to embrace everyone’s differences. Teach others and talk to your children and grandchildren. Pass this lesson on to the next generation. THERE IS VALUE IN ALL OF GOD’S CREATION.
People with special needs and disabilities are a gift to the world. You will miss out on this gift if you miss the forest for the trees. Learn to embrace and appreciate each tree in the forest.
I leave you with this verse from Isaiah. What a beautiful picture it paints of the harmony of God’s creation.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12)