Thursday, November 2, 2017

on being defined by the "can't"

"God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, 
but the Lord looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7 (NASB)

IEP meetings are daunting — 10 + people sitting around the table, looking at me, the mom, waiting to hear my wisdom, waiting to hear "the key" to unlock my daughter, so that she can learn and do things more like typical children, assuming I have figured out the puzzle that is my daughter.

Then, the opening section comes, PLOP — present levels of performance.

Here it comes, the really long list of things my daughter can't do.

I understand this section is necessary to get to the goals for her, but ...

I hate this section.
I hate sitting through it.
I hate listening.
I hate that, for the school system, my daughter is defined by the things she can't do.
I feel defeated before we have even started the meeting.

My daughter is defined this way in other settings as well.  The government, in order to provide any kind of assistance, must come to our home and confirm that yes, our daughter can't do these things for herself.

And, in order for me to be her perfect advocate, I have to know the "list of can'ts" forwards and backwards.  I have to know the "why" of asking for whatever accommodation, whatever services, whatever "extra" that is necessary. 

I struggle with this part of advocacy because I don't see my daughter this way.  

Wonder what would happen if everyone were defined by the "can't"s?

May I introduce to you my friend Joe? He can't hold down a job, he can't make friends easily, he can't repair things, he can't do math very well. I don't think you would want to meet Joe, would you? I wouldn't.

Thankfully, God does not define my girlie by what she can't do.  

God defines my girlie the way He sees her — beautiful, loved, kind, gentle-hearted, compassionate, funny, loving, meek, extroverted, a great listener.

God does not label.

God does not categorize.

God does not diagnose.

God does not define us by the "can'ts".

The need to label, categorize, diagnose, define — those are all human traits.

When we accept Christ as Savior, God sets us apart, as chosen, as beloved, holy and righteous. He gives us a new name. He sees us through the lens of Jesus. He doesn't see the imperfections, the missing, the broken.

God sees me the way I see my daughter, perfect, just the way she is.

Just as I am.

Dear Lord, thank you for your son Jesus, who traded places with me to become my "can't"s. Thank you that you see me through Jesus. Thank you for my amazing daughter who teaches me more about you everyday. In your name I pray, Amen.

Melanie Durity


  1. I began reading this with the intention of gaining insight about my spirituality as it relates to my daughter. Instead, I gained insight about how I view myself as someone with chronic illnesses and how that affects my self-image and my relationship with Christ. Very encouraging. Thank you!