The truth is- I grew up in a very outward-based-Christianity circle. What was believed was shouted loudly; outfits were chosen conservatively according to a rulebook and other's convictions; music was banned according to someone else's personal preference. While the heart was somewhere else entirely.
I have a lot I could say on that subject, but that's not the point of this post. A disability blog hop that I am participating in gave the non optional post of "Faith and Disability" in a sense forcing me to brooch the subject that I so often avoid on this blog because of those past issues.
It has taken me almost three years to be able to post about this. But I'm finally to the point where I just NEED TO SAY IT.
When I think of the words "Faith and Disability" my mind pre-programed from my past immediately jumps to Christians treating God a bit like a genie in a lamp.
They rub the lamp and whisper assurances of all they "do" in order to have a happy life. The genie will reward them with a life free from sorrow, pain, and inconvenience.
Life will be easy. and perfect. Because the steps were followed- Right dress? check. Attended enough church services? check. Taught Sunday School? check. VBS? check. Music in church? check.
While those Christian are sitting in their high towers, holding their magic lamps, they look down and notice another Christian caught in the mud, struggling to free themselves from the pain because of something such as-
a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome for their unborn child.
What is their first thought?
"Surely God is judging them" while piously holding tight their genie God. "God I thank you that I am not as HER- forced to suffer with an intellectually and physically disabled child. You have recognized that I am the better person who only deserves to have perfect, smart children- THANK YOU."
They keep the genie in the lamp happy through all that they DO for church-at church-thinking of church. That poor, lowly Christian going through a trial must deserve it because of angering "the gods"- wait-God. just one God of course.
How do I know that such a scenario exists? Well, once I was the Christian struggling in the mud.
I was flat on my face, stripped of everything that I thought created happiness, sinking- drowning.
I didn't think I would make it. I didn't want to make it. I sunk so low that I hit rock bottom and kept falling.
And yet what was said with fingers pointed at me by some fellow believers?
"God is judging her."
While they turned to the side and said loud thankfulness for their own PERFECT children.
I'm sorry but that's the biggest piece of bull I've ever heard. When I think of it today it makes me angry.
How is it that someone claiming to be a believer can look at a perfectly created gift of a baby and call her
So you think that my little girl is some horrible disease sent to punish me because I wasn't doing everything right? "Did your parents feel that way because you were born without a heart?" Was my first ungracious thought.
How can you look me in the eye and tell me that God doesn't have a perfect plan for my children? You're telling me that something totally beyond my control was deliberately set to "MISTAKE" mode to punish me? Your view of God is that he added a chromosome to my daughter's body to show me how wrong I was to not dress your way, attend as many church services as you, DO, do, do as much at church?
At the time I didn't know better than to accept YOUR judgment of me with bowed head and tears.
I stand tall and proud and tell you that what you said was judgement was the greatest blessing God has ever sent me. What you felt was being sent to ruin me saved me. What you saw as the greatest blight of unhappiness was actually the greatest source of happiness I have ever received. What you snubbed and avoided me for actually gave me the strength to realize how wrong you were to view my unborn child that way.
As Christians we're so afraid to admit that we're struggling or hurting because we are afraid that it meant that we somehow "offended the genie in the lamp"- thus our happiness is stripped away because of something we've done. We're afraid that any sort of blimp on our plan is JUDGMENT.
Once again- I call bull.
Did it ever occur to you that God might have a different plan than yours? And that his might be more difficult and more messy? But that his plan is (gasp) BETTER than yours? And that temporary sorrow might be the path to some amazing happiness that you didn't even know existed?
Who said life would be easy? Who said that you wouldn't suffer? Who said that happiness meant no pain?
I think pain occurs to bring us a higher clarity version of happiness. I think sorrow sands off our rough edges and teaches us about life. I think that when we're lying on rock bottom, that's when we learn new and awesome things about our God that will carry us through whatever got us there in the first place. I think that LIFE happens just the way God plans it- including happiness AND sorrow.
Each of us has different versions of happiness and sorrow. Just like you have a different nose and different color of hair and you are shorter- those two words will mean something different to you than they will to me. But wouldn't you agree that's part of the plan?
But don't you DARE look at my happiness and call it a sorrow just because you haven't considered that God created my little girl PERFECTLY or because it's so different than your happiness that you can't fathom it. Don't you dare tell me in arrogance that my beautiful princess is a judgment on me and my family.
Instead of you labeling me as "UNDER GOD'S JUDGMENT" would it have killed you to extend me a kind word? Would it have hurt you to remind me that God created my daughter perfectly, and you couldn't wait to meet her? Would it have been the worst thing possible for you to give me a hug and and tell me how excited you are for the amazing gift that God is giving me?
It took me a long time to realize that what I thought was BAD was actually really, really GOOD because all I could hear were your words "GOD IS JUDGING YOU" echoing around and around in my head while I was trying to prepare to become a mother for the first time.
I eventually came around because there were those that were right down in the mud with me- holding my hand and pulling me up to dry land. I am beyond thankful for those. I can't even imagine what I have done without them.
GOD KNEW BEST that Addison would be the perfect daughter to me. He sent her to me because He loves me and wants me to have the best. He created Addison to the same degree of perfection that he created everyone else, added in a little extra and then he gifted her to ME!
I would use the word lucky, but it's so much more than that. I am truly, truly blessed. It physically hurts how much I love her.
You look at my daughter and feel sorry for me? Don't even waste your time on that thought.
Because I am one happy mama. And I no longer care what you think.
Because if Addison is judgment then I want to roll around in it, swallow it, and breathe it.
She is an amazing little girl. And she is mine. Just TRY prying her out of my arms.
That's fine that you want to thank the Lord for your perfect children. I certainly don't begrudge you that. Just don't roll your eyes when you see me kneeling next to you, thanking him for MY perfect children.
After all, He did create both yours AND mine.