Has having a child with special needs changed how you see the world? It certainly has for me. I was struck by this realization when Jonathan and I were out seeing the sights and doing typical tourist things in Cleveland, OH with some new friends, also parents of kids with special needs. We absorbed history, admired artifacts, meandered through quaint shops, enjoyed delicious foods, and had some fun laughs together. It was a perfect spring day with the sun shining, the pressures of life and home a hundred miles away, and delightful companions to enjoy it with and to get to know.
As a couple of the ladies and I stood waiting outside a shop in the sunshine while the husbands were choosing delicacies in a bakery, the conversation turned to one lady and her necklace. She explained how she saw it in a second hand store, and even though it had some dings, she had loved it immediately. It was made of metal links, that from a normal conversational distance, couldn’t be distinguished from each other they were so small and tightly linked. It was cylindrical in shape, forming sort of a flexible metal tube. There was nothing flashy or especially attention-grabbing about it, but it was lovely against the solid colored background of her red sweater.
Another dear lady I know and love always picks the pumpkins that are lopsided, scarred, or warty to decorate her fall table and doorstep. Because they are the least likely to get picked by anyone else. She favors the homeliest looking dog at the rescue. She always champions the underdog. She too is a mom of an adult child with special needs.
As the first lady explained that her necklace had dings and dents, but she loved it, I thought, “Isn’t that quality of seeing the beauty in things that others would pass over or reject so characteristic of a mom of a child with special needs.”
At a certain point on this journey, if we keep learning and growing and working through all the hurt and struggle, we learn to see beauty in the mess of life. We learn that beauty is not what the rest of the world would define as beautiful. We learn that the dents and dings often add more beauty rather than detract from it.
I know someone else who sees that way too.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:27 (NIV)
“Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” ~ Luke 14:21 (NIV)
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” ~ Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
God doesn’t reject you because you struggle, doubt, fail, are weak, broken, or guilty. No, just like the loving Father that He is, He bends His knees and crouches low, opens His arms wide and eagerly waits for you to run into them.
Written by Sarah McGuire