Monday, August 3, 2015

Affirming Our Kids' Infinite Worth

For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things [a]impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,
Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~ Romans 8:38-39, AMP ~ 

My children are getting older now.  With every passing day it becomes more difficult to protect their young minds from the harsh, cruel realities of this world.  With one heading into college, another in high school, and the youngest about to begin her final year of intermediate school, the things they hear on the news or learn via "alternative media" is very real to them.

Add to their own mental acuity seeing their mother react to such news, and their opinions become more resolute.  They may be growing older, but they are each still tenderly attached to mom's heart.

This reality came to a head in a heartrending way this week.  If you only watch the three major networks, you may not even be aware of this story, but Planned Parenthood has been in the news the past couple of weeks as undercover videos seem to expose them haggling over the sale of the organs of aborted babies.  (See "Are You Serious?" Awards - Volume LVIII: The Life or Death Edition)  While each of my kids has their own well-defined and well thought out opinion on such issues, their introspection about such stories has been increased by catching me crying a couple of times over recent days as the news just keeps getting worse in this story.

One night late last week, my teenage son uttered heartbreaking words I never anticipated hearing from his mouth.

"Mom," he said.  "I am pretty sure that given the chance, most people would want to abort a baby like me."

My heart smashed in a thousand pieces right before his eyes.  No, God!  Please shelter his kind heart from knowing there are people who think like this!

After swallowing hard and being solid in the truth, I told him, "Yes, there are people who think that way."

(In fact, I find it rather ironic that certain national organizations provide information supporting a woman's "right to choose," so that she can abort a child with a bleeding disorder like our son has, while still advocating for people with bleeding disorders.)

"But your dad and I went into parenthood with our eyes wide open," I continued.  "When genetic testing was imperfect and inconclusive after your cousins were born with hemophilia, we decided that having a child with hemophilia was better than not having a child at all.  We love you just the way you are.  And God allows people like you to have hemophilia to give you a special platform to reach people for Him, just like He allowed your sister's arthritis for His good purposes.  That's why it is so important that you kids make your voices heard on issues like this."

He sat a little taller next to me nodding his head.  The urgency of this issue could be seen and felt in his physical demeanor.  
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
(Ephesians 2:10, NIV)  

Parent, you may not have a child with a genetic illness, but the same sort of thought that crept into my son's head can creep into your child's head, no matter the diagnosis.  Even children who are non-verbal or have cognitive delays can surprise us with the things they are analyzing in their own minds.  Unless we are are prepared with the truth of Scripture in verses like Ephesians 2:10, or Psalm 139:13-14, or John 9:3, all of the other reassurances we can give will fall flat.

Every human, no matter their shape, size, color, gifts, or limitations, needs to know that they are deeply loved and valued by their Creator.  No one and nothing else can fill that void.  This is why it is critical that we speak this truth into our kids' lives from even their earliest days.

Additionally, suddenly realizing how the world may seem them can be confusing and upsetting to our sons and daughters.  Our children know that they are NOT defined by their diagnoses.  Why would the world demean or devalue them in such ways?  As we affirm their infinite worth as proclaimed by the Lord, we can also show them that God uniquely positions them to speak the truth to the world.

As I reminded my son, "Now you know why I am always say, 'He has hemophilia, but hemophilia doesn't have him.'"

We parents also need to be prepared to tell people a thousand different things about our amazing kids that make them who they are.  For instance, I love to tell people of my youngest daughter's affinity for animals, my eldest daughter's giftedness in writing, my son's savvy at strategic card games.  Getting to know a person rather than just their diagnosis spreads awareness, wisdom, and acceptance to an ignorant world.  

As this piece is published today, my son is at hemophilia camp for his first year as a CIT (Counselor In Training).  My husband and I are so proud!  He has come so far, not only battling a rare bleeding disorder, but also pushing back against anxiety and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) from the thousands of IV needles he's endured over a lifetime.  He is making strides with infusing himself every-other-day at home.  He is ready to give back to those who are younger than him.  He is developing personal responsibility and new habits of volunteerism.  His character is growing as he marches toward adulthood.

Yes, son, there are people who devalue you, but NOT your Maker, nor your parents.  And those who would disregard your life have NO clue what they would be missing!

PRAY:  Father, strengthen and remind us to be respecters of all life.  Even if we disagree with others or find ourselves offended by others, help us to remember that they are of infinite value to You.  Help us to treat them as such.  In turn, make us bold in proclaiming the worth of those we love, teaching and strengthening them to do the same.  May we all reflect Your glorious light and love in this dark world.

~ Barb Dittrich

Romans 8:38 Marvin Vincent, Word Studies. The literal translation is “standing in sight.”

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to say that I am so thrilled to have found your blog. I am the mom of two beautiful kiddos with autism (2 and 5) and sometimes this road can feel a little lonely (we have other aquaintnces with special needs kiddos but most of them do not know the Lord). I really needed to read this article today. I think sometimes I have to remind myself that serving these beautiful children, and in so doing allowing their lives to give glory to God, is the ministry the Lord has for me. So often I can beat myself up thinking Im not doing "enough" oustide our family and home to serve the Lord because so much of my time and energy goes towards the kids and our family life, trying to keep it all going and keep us all together. But I needed to hear another Christian mom of some special kiddos remind me that their value and the platform that they have to give God glory IS my ministry, especially right now as they are so young and have so many needs. God bless you, sister. Look forward to reading more.