It began for me very early in my special needs journey. Accusations flowed freely from the mouth of someone close to me, scolding that I was over-treating my baby’s severe bleeding disorder. Still new at being a “warrior mom”, I felt small, ashamed, foolish, doubting myself.
The degrading embarrassment didn’t end with just one child. I can remember so many years where neighbors made snide jokes about my youngest child, never considering that she might have a hidden diagnosis. I could barely use the bathroom without her taking off through the neighborhood. I often tell the story of one day she escaped, pudgy legs toddling across the contiguous backyards, donning only a diaper, as one neighborhood mother called another giggling to “look out the window” at who was running through their yard. There was no help, only hurtful treatment, berating our parenting skills and the character of our child.
Fast forward to school years. Lessons in dealing with the heartbreak of false perceptions and harsh judgment continued. I can still see the curled, sneering lips of an educator who had mentally labelled one of my children a “bad kid” because of invisible challenges that weren’t being properly addressed in the classroom. Other times still haunt, where those on our school staff carried palpable tension around, not believing that they were “stuck” with a child like mine. How many times I have jumped seeing the school phone number on my Caller ID! The vice principal’s voice still resonates in my mind, sharing behavioral complaints about one of my children.
This negativity, this judgment is one of the many extra burdens we parents of remarkable children bear. Yet, God tells us, “…Those who are believers in Christ Jesus can no longer be condemned.” (Romans 8:1, GW) In fact, it is Satan himself who is named “the accuser” in the Bible. (See Revelation 12:10) Our children’s Maker, OUR Maker, tells us that He has numbered every hair on our heads (Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7). He tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14, NIV), and that we can trust Him beyond all human trust. (See Psalm 56)
God ascribes each of us immense intrinsic value. That is why we need to pray His blessings be poured out on those who are the “good finders” in our children’s lives. These are the people that see the remarkable qualities in our kids when everyone else is calling them “bad”. They are the encouragers, the hope-givers. They see the potential in our children, but also love them as is right here and now. They look beyond behaviors, diagnoses, deformities, and illnesses to see with the eyes of the Maker. They regard our children with love, which in turn shows us love as well. These treasures are God’s compassion to those of us beaten down by a world of critics.
Yes, God bless the “Good-Finders”! It could be a grandparent or other relative, an educator, a therapist or doctor, a neighbor or family friend. Whoever that good-finder may be, let them know what a difference they have made by simply believing in our children, Lord. Grant them peace, bounty and joy with the same measure they have poured out on our lives, because these individuals are Your light when our journey gets dark.
Who are the “Good-Finders” in your child’s life? How do you help others to see the wonder and potential in your child, despite the challenges?