Thursday, May 1, 2014

What's so special about me?

I am constantly telling Gess that she is special.  I often use the word special when speaking to her or about her.  It's not simply because she has special needs, but because she is so special to me.  I think it important for children to know that they are special and loved, especially if that child has something that is sometimes ridiculed or misunderstood like Down syndrome.  I am pretty sure I go out of my way to tell Gess that she is special.  That is why I was so shocked when one time she replied by asking "What's so special about me?"

She already knows that she has been blessed with an extra chromosome. Yes, I call it a blessing and emphasize how she has more than we do.  While that isn't the way it is supposed to be and is actually a defect it is how God made her, so for me it's a blessing.  It is a part of who Gess is.  That is one "special" thing she understands.  But there is more.

Gess is special in so very many ways.  To me she is a charming young lady that is beautiful, funny, bright, joyful, kind, encouraging, giddy, and playful. There are several ways she makes our lives fuller and brighter just by being in it.  I could go on and on about those things and I told her all that and more when she asked me, "What's so special about me?"  Hearing those words broke my heart and it was a vivid reminder that even children educated at home in a Christian environment will still question their worth.

So after sharing all the wonderful things I could think of that makes Gess so special her response was a jubilant, "Everything!"  I was glad that she got what I was trying to to say but as I began to think about it I realized her answer was wrong.  While Gess is special not everything about her is.  Not everything about any of us is special.  In fact the thing that we all hold in common is that we are all sinners.  The Bible says, "for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."  So while we are special to God, not everything about us is special.

While I was concerned about making Gess feel better about herself, I immediately did so by looking at the standards of men instead of God.  She is beautiful.  What does that even mean? By whose definition?  So many of the things I credited to her were shallow while others were only there because they were a gift from God.  Gess is special because God created her and He loves her.  She is special because she chooses to worship God and seeks to reflect Him in her life.  That is what makes each of us special. That God loved us enough to die for us even though we were NOT special is what makes us special!
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
The ways of this world have been ingrained into so much of our thinking that it is hard sometimes to see the influence.  I pray that each child feels special, but not in ways the encourage or emphasize self.  We have enough self absorbed and selfish people in the world.  Each child needs to know what a precious gift they are to God.  In spite of the way they look, what they wear, how smart they are, or how many people they can make laugh God loves them and wants to spend eternity with them.  May we find a way to teach our children that their true value is in that.  Our kids are crying out looking for a way to feel special and I think we fail them by making them look inside at themselves.  Instead, lets show them how much they mean to God.  After all, that's the only reason that matters.

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