Saturday, July 7, 2012

faith and disability.

for the first time ever, i have decided to join a blog hop.  we'll see how this goes.  i thought since i am extra tired, and some of my attempts at writing come out completely incoherent, perhaps a prompt would help me out.  so i decided to join the summer disability blog hop.  the question being posed, 'How has your faith (or lack of) influenced the framework within which you view/experience disability? How has that “Faith Lens” (or lack of) affected your perspective?'

so first of all i'll start by giving a brief synopsis of what my faith is.  i became a Christian (accepted Christ as my Savior, asked Jesus into my heart, whatever) when i was 17, at the end of my senior year of high school. it was a magical experience with lights, and a trip to heaven....okay, not really.  but that was when i made the choice.  there were lots of things going on in my life right then that weren't easily dealt with.  and accepting Christ didn't make a single one of them go away.  my life didn't become sunshine and rainbows.  i didn't walk around skipping and singing kumbaya.  but i did have a newfound perspective.
over the next few years, i read lots of the Bible, and continued to work out my own salvation, and figuring out what i believed.  i went to some amazing churches.  i went to some not so amazing churches.  i learned that, apparently, a church filled with people, is also full of hypocrites.  i learned that i am a hypocrite.  and i learned that i am very thankful that my salvation is based on the grace of Jesus Christ instead of doing enough good things to make up for me being a hypocrite.
fast forward a while, and i got married to this really hot guy.  he loves Jesus too.  we talked about all kinds of things, like the fact that the Bible calls us to love the least of these, the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the oppressed.  it tells the stories time and time again of Jesus reaching out to some of the most unlikely people; prostitutes, tax collectors, and even children.  and reading this inspired us, and it also was hard to ignore.  so we flew across the ocean to africa.  so we moved into an urban neighborhood filled with urban issues, and got to know our neighbors.  we talked to drug dealers and prostitutes.  we did our best to love those around us.  and people thought we were f*cking nuts.  seriously.  we were going to get shot.  things were going to get stolen.  people were going to break into our home and rape me.  how were we going to sleep with all those car alarms and police sirens?
don't worry, we sleep fine.  well, we did until we had children.  and this too is where our faith comes into play.  both of our daughters are adopted.  we believe in life. we believe picketing abortion clinics is a waste of time.  so instead we try to love the mama's who choose life, and we want to be there to help those who choose life and aren't able to raise the child themselves. (don't worry, i'm getting to the initial question).
both of our daughters have really unique chromosomes as well.  abigail has a mutation on her 17th chromosome.  shilo has three copies of her 21st chromosome.  and quite frankly, at this point, we feel that raising children with normal chromosomes just might be one of the most boring things a person could do.
but let me get honest here too.  it has not been easy.  between my two daughters we have had five surgeries, six mri's, and we have surgery scheduled for tuesday.  my oldest daughter could be diagnosed with a tumor at any point, and it could be nothing, or it could kill her.  my youngest daughter has all but died twice now.  and the only reason that i'm still standing here is because i have faith.  i don't really buy into all the fun little sayings and things that people put out there for parents of children with special needs.  i don't think God gives special children to special people. i'm fairly certain that myth was debunked when He chose me to be abigail and shilo's mama.  i don't have it all together.  i don't have their therapies color coded and in labeled bins.  some days, i don't manage to do anything more than what i would have for typical children.  i also think it flies in the face of who i believe our God to be, 'Yahweh! Yahweh, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth,' Exodus 34:6  ummm....a merciful and gracious God doesn't give children special needs.  He didn't look at abigail and shilo and decide to screw with their chromosomes.  i know, i know, then how, with my faith, did they end up with genetic disorders?  well, the best way i can state it is that we live in a fallen world.  our world is full of sin.  and the fall of man led to death, disease, and chromosomes mutating.  there are tons of more theologicalish discussions i can go into, but i'm not going to.
the other really big topic that surrounds any sort of disability, do i believe that God heals?  absolutely.  do i believe He could heal abigail and shilo?  you bet.  but let me make this really clear: i pray for God to heal abigail's and shilo's affects of their disorders.  i have never, not once, asked God to heal their chromosomal make up.  it's what makes them who they are: the shape of their eyes, their height, their intellectual make up.  i don't want different children, i just don't want them to have pain.
and under no circumstances do i think that their lack of healing is: a)caused by some sort of sin in jason and i's life. b)rest upon me having the right amount of faith to make things happen. or c) can only happen through some ultra spiritual person praying for them.  i once again could go into a big long theological thought here, but i won't.  if you are interested in hearing my beliefs on it, you can e-mail me, or listen to this sermon (on John 11) from the pastor at the church we attend.  he is spot on with where jason and i stand on the subject.there are so many things that come up about what you believe when your child has a disability.  for a lot of people, that diagnoses is a make it or break it for what they believe.  they either jump into a faith head first because that's the only thing that will get them through, or they decide that God is obviously not good, and not worthy to be trusted. 
we chose to adopt children with special needs.  it didn't really push us in either way as far as faith goes.  it has grown me, and made me really stop and read, and study, and figure out what we believe.  i won't ever be the person who tries to make someone feel better by telling them that God doesn't give you more than you can handle.  but i do believe that Christ will return.  and i believe that when He does, all of the things that are broken in the world, will be made new.  so i guess the quick answer is, my faith reminds me that my children's disabilities are not forever.


  1. Love this! I keep thinking I'm going to write a post, but haven't yet. I appreciate the level of detail and explanation in this post. I appreciate the way your faith manifests in your life.

  2. I could write many of the same things. It's always nice to find someone like-minded.

  3. When Beth was first born I used to ask God to heal her. I just didn't get it. I don't pray that anymore. :)

  4. I love your outlook. Especially, the part about choosing to focus on those who choose life versus picketing an abortion clinic. Awesome perspective. I am humbled by your decision to adopt....twice!

  5. I love the tone of this post. It's just so...real.