Churchy thoughts

We went to Easter service last Sunday at the Fellowship of San Diego  after  a couple Fellowship guys  came by to mow our lawn and several members personally invited us. These people always reach out to meet needs around them. I love that!  And their church is disability-friendly! (And during a time of Easter egg hunts  with lots of able-bodied children running around, being disability-friendly  becomes really important to us.)  During the service we heard the testimony of a lady with physical disabilities.  Her circumstances  are obviously different than ours, but it got me thinking about churchy-type things.

I try never to get very religious (it’s bad for your skin or something), but since I’ve been thinking of these things, and since it’s my blog, I thought I’d just write whatever I wanted. So nany nany boo boo.

But, if you, like me (most of the time), don’t like this sort of thing, then please stop reading, grab some ice cream and watch some 30 Rock. I’ll join you in a minute.

At church a couple years ago I remember I had a young child ask me what happened to my daughter. Another adult stepped in before I could answer (probably intending to spare me from something) and said, “Because God made her this way.”

o_O

He did? God is that true?  That’s it, God. You and I are taking this out back! :)

But the odd thing I found funny at the time was that this adult actually believed that!  And I couldn’t help thinking that  that can’t be right. Because if he made her this way then why are we trying so many surgeries to fix her? (“Thank you God for this wonderful gift of a little daughter. Now bless us as we begin to clean up your sloppy handiwork.”)

So what I found in the Bible is that it’s true that just like other kids, Laelia is fearfully and wonderfully made by God. (Olive Garden, flattery and a back rub also played a part in making her as I recall. :)) Psalm 139 seems to indicate (if you can apply it to all people, and I think you can) that Laelia’s frame was known by God while she was in the womb; he saw her unformed body and knit her together, and the number of her days are written in his book.

And after all that wonder of creation she still ended up in a body that’s not cooperative. Huh.

From a church/biblical worldview there was a time when everything was perfect and then sin entered the world and messed everything up. Not only did it  separate us from God, but it also introduced things like entropy into the world that never existed before.  Now things  get worse, rot, decay, mutate  and deform. But people take that to mean sin causes disabilities directly–like somehow little unborn babies can do some personal sin that God punishes specifically? No. That application doesn’t seem to jive with the rest of the Bible. From what I’ve read, neither  Lali nor I did anything wrong to cause her disability. (John 9:2-3) Sometimes bad things just happen because we live in a world affected by sin. (Luke 13:4)

So then as I kept reading  I was super surprised to find God take the  credit for creating people with differences/disabilities in Exodus 4:11! So even though anything  less than perfect comes as a result of sin in the world, and Laelia’s body seems to be a bit further from the mark than the child who first asked me what was wrong with her, it’s not the end answer. “The world is a messed up place and messed up things happen” is not the end answer. Even “God allows bad things to happen” is not the end answer.  Because God takes credit for people. And he cares about people. He doesn’t let you be mean to people he’s created with disabilities. (Lev. 19:14)  He knows we’re stuck in the muck of sin and still, through grace,  tends to us. And I can’t deny that he’s tended to  my family.

So now I can be a crazy church lady too (yay?) and say things like, “God designed her this way!” And when anyone with half a brain raises an eyebrow I can add, “He made her gorgeous, spunky, witty, smart, beautiful, encouraging, determined, hard-working, friendly and funny. He also allowed her to have arthrogryposis. Good thing she’s his favorite or I’d have issues with this.” :)

Oh and I have to add that I’ve run into two faith healers (TWO!!) who have tried to tell me otherwise–that somehow we caused this.  So during my research I ran into a Times Magazine interview with Joni Eareckson Tada, a lady who became paralyzed at the age of 17. She has this great story of her run-in with a faith healer. I’ll quote her because I loved this.

“This very earnest young man named David came up to me, knelt down by my wheelchair, and asked me, ‘Joni, are you sure there’s no unconfessed sin in your life? I just know that God wants to heal you.’ He was basically saying my faith wasn’t big enough or strong enough or righteous enough. I reminded him of the story in Luke where the four friends brought their paralyzed buddy to Jesus to be healed. But it was the faith of those friends — not the man’s own faith — that Jesus used as a channel for healing. Well, there you go, David, the pressure’s on you.”

So there you go. There are my “churchy” thoughts. 30 Rock time. :)

4 Responses to “Churchy thoughts”

  1. tam says:

    Im not real churchy either. Im not real “goddy” too. but if my Sophie had been born healthy and normal she would not be mine. she is smart and beautiful but her body is different than most kids. and that is the very thing that led her to us or rather us to her. She was very much wanted and longed for and loved before her birth. First child of a young marriage. all the joy and excitement and wonder of a pregnancy. and then she arrived. if she had been perfect they would have taken her home and loved he and we would never know this precious beautiful girl. but because she was different there was no place for her in her home country. enter Mama and Papa. we adore her love her and let her wrap us around her finger. and thank God for her differences because we would be missing out on one very special girl if she had been born without her differences. in my eyes, I never question why she has to fight this or face it, because if she didnt have to, she wouldnt be mine.

  2. Cheryl Schalk says:

    I like your churchy thoughts. You are very good at this. Jesus says many times in the Gospels – your FAITH has healed you. I think God healed me by giving me Tracey (by grace – totally unearned, a gift) . My faith in Him is what was healed in me. I am grateful that we get to have her. I had to work really hard to get over “what did I do ” My mom told me “God doesn’t punish little babies”. Thanks Mom

  3. Becky says:

    Stated so well, Alexis! I am beyond sure that God delights in little Laelia as much or more than you do. And I also am beyond sure that she– exactly as she is today and who she grows up to be– will bless the world in amazing ways. And the more I think about it, I’m convinced that is what grace is: God takes circumstances that seem broken to us and finds a way to redeem them, creating something so beyond good that we can only react with amazement, love, and thankfulness. I’m pretty sure that’s a perfect description of your sweet daughter. :)

    Love to you guys!

  4. Angie says:

    I just noticed this entry. I love to hear from others who struggle with their child’s disability and God. Elliot had the misfortune of being born in a small Catholic hospital (I say misfortune because their size meant they had no clue what was wrong with her and I had to deal with nuns continually wanting to come in my room). We immediately starting hearing, “God made her this way for a reason,” which really angered us. I refrained from posting about her condition on Facebook for a long while because I come from the Bible Belt, and I knew the posts I was going to start receiving. We still struggle with it everyday. We’ve only had 10 months to try to figure it out so far. I’ve only had to delete one Facebook friend who felt she had to start preaching to me. I’m so happy you posted some Bible verses because I’ve always been curious what the Bible says about disabilities. Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with the world. I can’t wait to meet you all in Kansas City.

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