8.29.2012

Miracles & the Food Court

 Today after I took Will to meet his kindergarten teacher, I had a rather awful experience.
(He is starting kindergarten!)
(In 6 days!!!)
(My 4 year old turns 5 tomorrow and then starts kindergarten.)
(Am I really this old?  Is he?)
(I'm a weepy mess.  I try to hide it from Will but I am crying constantly.  I'm a wreck... he's nervous & I'm a million times more nervous about starting a new year with a new teacher and new kids with the same old questions that he has to face.)
(But I'm kind of a little excited too because I love school!  And I loved teaching and I can't wait for him to have so much fun & to see the new pencils I've been saving for him!)
(Mostly I'm just crying a lot.)

So.  The official "Meet the Teacher" day is Friday.  But Will's birthday is tomorrow and I needed to take him to school to drop off his adaptive equipment (just a few items like special scissors & slant boards & his "eyeball.")  I didn't want to spend his b-day focusing on his differences or dealing with school anxiety (mostly mine.)  So we went this morning - in-between PT for Ellie & a haircut for Will.  
I also needed to teach his teacher how to do Will's prosthetics - it wouldn't have seemed fair to drop him off at "meet the teacher" & throw a how to do prosthetics lesson onto her already full day with a new group of 5 year olds.
(Yikes.  I'll have a 5 year old by then!)

It went great.  I like his teacher a lot and so did he.  
I'll post more soon about how I handle a new school year with a child with differences.
(We wrote a book!)
So - after that, I took the kids "back to school shopping."  Really, I needed to return some shorts I had bought for Will and exchange them for a smaller size.  More on that later but sweet boy is still wearing anywhere from 18months - 3t in shorts.  I had been a little too eager I think in purchasing some 4t shorts for school.
We exchanged them and then went searching for lunch in the food court.
I hate the mall.
In fact, I rarely, rarely go and when I do - I usually run in as quick as possible.
But I kind of wanted to play normal mom & do some back to school clothes shopping - since Will will be in kindergarten and attending school 5 days a week.  

While we were at lunch, I passed out everyone's food & we said a quick little prayer and then we began to eat.
Suddenly, a young adult man approached me.  He politely asked if he could pray for my daughter and lay hands on her for "healing her legs."  
(Later, I noticed that he didn't ask about Will.  Will's differences are far more obvious so I've been wondering all day why the man avoided him.)
I was very hesitant.  I did not feel a peace about it and was uncomfortable with the whole situation.
I was in the middle of a food court restaurant, after all.
But mostly, I didn't feel a peace because I was afraid his words might confuse and upset Will.  I tried to explain this to him but that only set the man off on a lecture towards me.
I was afraid Will might hear inaccurate information - such as that his sister needed to get well or be fixed or that she was somehow "wrong" or needed to be changed from who she is.  
And then what conclusions would he draw about himself?
So I politely told him no.  I told him he could certainly pray on his own for her and we appreciate prayers and we too pray and believe in a God of miracles... but that laying hands on her was not ok.
(My husband later affirmed this as he felt very uncomfortable with a strange man laying hands on his little girl.)
And then he politely began to argue.
He argued that my faith wasn't big enough and that "God can do like amazing things.  Amazing.  He can do miracles!"
To which I responded, 
"Yes.  I know He can.  I have two miracles right here."
I pointed at my children but he continued to argue.
So I continued to reply, essentially telling him that we believe this is the story God has given us.  We believe God has created each of our children with intent and purpose and on purpose.  I don't know why our children have differences but it is a part of who they are and we choose to accept their differences and see them as blessings.  Yes.  We have hard days.  We face some enormous challenges.  But.
Our children are absolutely precious and completely adored.  They are perfect for our family - just the way they are.
And the thing is... we vowed early on to raise them just as we would any other "normal" child.   And I wouldn't hesitate to tell anyone on this planet that they are created by a loving, creative (very!), compassionate, God.  My children are no different - they too are created by God.
And this is our story.
And God has been so gracious to teach me so much.  I was strongly convicted several years ago that I (or we as humans for that matter) can't possibly grasp His definitions of "good" and His purposes.  Our brains are too finite.  Nor do I get to define what constitutes a miracle.  I'm not going to limit God in miracles.  I refuse to tell Him that the only miracle possible would be to suddenly create 20 fingers and 20 toes for my child or to make my daughter's joints have full range of motion.  Would those be miracles?  Yes.  Absolutely.
But is it all or nothing for God when it comes to miracles?
I don't think so.
Because quite frankly, I witness miracles daily with my kids.  Absolute miracles.


Like my son RUNNING without feet.  
That's a miracle.

Or my daughter alive on this earth and in my arms free of wires after being told prenatally that she had masses in her brain, heart, liver, and kidneys and later swelling in her head?
That's  a miracle.

Or maybe the fact that our family is so happy - that despite what people think would be a poor quality of life, we have an excellent "quality of life."  My children are happy, my marriage is good, we have our hard days (what family doesn't?) but we have our own definition of normal and it works for us.  Our kids have immense value  - they are precious and they are fearfully and wonderfully made...
just the way they are.

So I told him that.  I told him that I do have my miracles already.  I told him that I see miracles daily.  I told him that I do believe in a God of miracles but I also have faith in a God who has blessed me with this story and this particular life. Because He has been faithful to us in this story.

I do pray for our kids.  I pray for them to feel better when they have the flu.  I pray all the time for Ellie to be able to walk (it will be another miracle!)  I pray for Will dealing with kids' questions and stares all the time.  I pray we can get the right prosthetic fit and for our doctors and surgeons' wisdom.  I do pray.
And I do have faith.  (Despite the man suggesting I don't.)  It's just that God has so drastically changed my faith and grown me from who I used to be and my assumptions and pre-conceived ideas and how in the world do I explain all that over chicken nuggets and diet coke?
I'm not willing to put God in a box and define His miracles for Him.

Eventually he walked away.  I appreciated his willingness as a total stranger to pray for my daughter although I questioned why he didn't want to pray for my son.  I was frustrated that he couldn't see beyond his narrow definition of what a miracle entails to accept that just maybe I already had my miracles and I admit that I was concerned as to how Will might interpret the conversation.
I'm still mulling on it.  I'm still wrapping my brain around the food court conversation and whether or not I made any sense or why the whole thing bothered me so much...

It was by far the most interesting conversation I have ever had in a mall food court.  

7 thoughts:

Heartsong said...

Ellie and Will don't need healing! They are perfect as they are! God is doing such amazing things through them and you and showing His power and grace in ways He never could had He chosen to make them differently. The poor man was ignorant of all that God is doing with and through you all! Sorry you had a bad day! Love you!
Cheryl

The Reeves bunch said...

Intersting conversation to say the least! Your children are miracles! They will see how you handle certain situations and know will full confindence that they are miralces and loved by a loving God! Sorry that he ruined your mall experience. Praying for Will as he starts school!

Pat said...

We also have experienced strange and uncomfortable times when strangers have expressed the desire to place hands on and pray for the healing of our daughter, who is seriously chronically ill....however never in the food court! We believe God carries us through the difficult times, and while her illness would never be what we desire for her, it has changed who we are as a family and how all of us look at the miracle life is. That said, the most difficult concept for our daughter to understand and the most hurtful is the implication that if her/our faith were stronger she would be healed. As a result, we also do not allow strangers to place hands on and pray for our daughter.

Crystal said...

Katie,

Gosh I just LOVE your faith. This line gave me goose bumps.
"I'm not willing to put God in a box and define His miracles for Him."
Well said Mama!
This week Bells started preschool. (She turns 5 in Feb) And I bawled. Our babies are growing up. Do we moms always wonder "Did I do enough? Have I prepared them enough for this big world?"

Miles said...

Katie I think God gave you EXACTLY the right thing to say in that moment!

Nicole

Mama Bear said...

I am aghast! You handled yourself beautifully. Love your words, "I'm not willing to put God in a box and define His miracles for Him." Absolutely.

You are living a beautiful example of faith and grace in front of your children. At home and, now, in the food court! And THAT is what is important.

Mama Bear

P.S. Feel free to cry as much as you want about having a kindergartener! I still get the sniffles, and mine is in 3rd grade. :-)

kelly said...

Katie - Hudson started K a few wks ago & im still teary about it! Youre not alone, mama! I bet Will will LOVE it, though - he seems to be such a social butterfly, not to mention mr. brilliant! im so glad you love his teacher - i know that will help a ton when you think of him w/o you @ school.
& im so sorry that happened to you @ the food court. Especially that someone would argue with you after you said no. Thats just wrong. Period. We humans seem to do a superb job of dumping our convictions on other people instead of realizing our convictions (if even real, themselves) are for US! NOT EVER to push on anyone else. & especially not strangers! Ive been hurt by similar thinking before, but never on that level & never over chicken nuggets!!!!! Im sure if that man had the privelege of knowing anything about you @ all, he would have pulled up a chair & said, tell me what youve learned about miracles, katie. We can hope this crappy experience for you maybe helped him to think about what his statements really say about his theology. Or am i being too pollyanna??! :)
Sending you love, friend!

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