“And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs. Cratchit.
“As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this passage from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Tiny Tim is so at peace with his lot in life, and his only hope is that his disability might bring other people unto Jesus Christ.
I don’t entirely know why God allows disability to affect some people’s lives. But I do know that the challenges I face with the Girl in Charge have brought me to my knees many times. So I can only assume that bringing me unto Jesus Christ is one of the reasons why disability has affected my life. I am completely inadequate to carry this burden alone. And no other source of assistance or community support, even that which comes from family, has ever compared to the peace and the strength that I find from laying my burdens at my Savior’s feet.
I have often had people tell me that “God only sends special children to special parents.” I know that comment is well-meaning, but it really gets under my skin. Because it simply isn’t true. Do you know how many disabled children are in foster care? I have no idea the number, but it’s a lot. God doesn’t only send special children to special parents. He sends special children. Period. Only the lucky ones have parents who sacrifice everything to give them the best life possible.
But it is hard. Strenuously so. And, as I’ve shared before, a day doesn’t go by that I don’t wish things could be different. But I can’t deny the good – the irreplaceable good – that has come into my family’s life because of the challenges we face with the Girl in Charge. We are people we never would have become if our lives had been easier. My Mini Me and My Mini Man are kinder, and more compassionate than they otherwise would have been. They know how to sacrifice something they want for the benefit of someone they love. They accept people who are different from them and they don’t judge.
And my husband and I can relate better to people who suffer significant disappointment or loss or medical challenges. We are more willing to be directed by God to lift the burdens of others. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Isn’t that what Jesus wants from us in the first place, to forget about ourselves – like He did- and to lift up the people around us?
So… I don’t think God sends special children to special parents. I think He sends special children to those who need the most help in becoming better people. More selfless. An advocate for the downtrodden. Patient. Someone who is willing to love everyone, even those who at times are difficult to love.
I think if the Girl in Charge could speak, she would say the same thing as Tiny Tim, that she hoped when people looked at her, they would be reminded of He who has the power to heal all things, whether those disabilities be physical, spiritual, mental or emotional.
I know that has already happened on at least one occasion. A few weeks back, a sweet friend handed me a note after our own church services. She said, “As I saw your family sitting in Sacrament today, my heart just filled with love and happiness. I loved seeing [the Girl in Charge] and her love for her dad. She has such a special soul and I love watching the love shared between all of you.”
That note was healing to me. And it is what caused me to think of that passage from A Christmas Carol in the first place. That day in church, I was worrying about how noisy the Girl in Charge was being and whether or not I could grab her hand in time if she tried to pull the hair of the lady sitting in front of us. But what my friend witnessed was love as our family skillfully carried out a silent cooperation with each other to meet the needs of a little girl who could not meet those needs for herself.
I think that through my friend’s note, God was trying to remind me for the 1000th time, that He is in charge… not, as I like to joke, my 8 year old daughter. And that even though He can make lame beggars walk and blind men see, more importantly, He can make the spiritually lame walk and the spiritually blind see, and He often does that through the humility we gain as we bear the burdens He asks us to bear.
I am not humble. My pride tells me everyday I deserve to have it easier. But I am grateful for the precious nudges God gives me on occasion to remind me that I am in His hands and that through this experience of being the mother of the Girl in Charge, He is actually making me into a much better person than I could ever become if my life was as easy and self-fulfilled as I would choose for it to be.
2 thoughts on “God Bless Us, Everyone”
Always humbled, as I need to be, by your honesty.
We can never understand everything about God. Sometimes He allows us to go through situations that will prove to us that His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses, His supplies are made perfect in our lacks and His protection is made perfect in our insecurities.