Becoming Child-Like …

Having a child with special needs has meant coming to terms with the fact that we will always have a “child”.  Little by little we have had to make adjustments in our expectations.  You know, those things we Americans think our kids should be experiencing – team sports, youth groups, academic achievements … true friendships.  We even have to make adjustments in the expectations we have in our own lives – date night (What’s that? Oh, you mean without kids?), retirement (HA!), empty nest (We would be bored anyway).  We have made adjustments and are continually doing so, but the rest of the world, well, I think it’s still having trouble adjusting.

As our boy has become more of a man in age and size, I am learning that the world’s answer is to rid itself of those who are dependent.  I’m often asked where we will be “putting” Evan.  There are expectations from the rest of the world that just because our child has disabilities and just because he will be a certain age he will be pushed out of our home and into some sort of facility upon his birthday.  Some ‘Happy Birthday’, huh?  I know that everyone has a very different choice to make.  It’s different and extremely personal reasons for the path they need to choose for their child.  So I am not sure why there is an assumption that we will be choosing to move our son out upon a birthday or any sign of stress in our daily routine.  

Schools have no other choice but to automatically fast-track all children with disability into the one and only local special needs workplace, even though this may or may not be an appropriate place for the child.  (Thankfully, for some, there is at least this option.)  A doctor that didn’t personally know us gave us the option of putting him in a psychiatric hospital.  I wanted so badly to say, “What?!!!  Putting someone with disabilities in a psychiatric hospital is still a thing?!!!”.  Obviously, the world’s answer seems to be to rid themselves of the adult that behaves like a child.  An adult child that will always be in need of parenting is seen as a burden to the world.  

But what I am learning from my dependent son is so much better than what the world has to offer.  He is teaching me that becoming like a child is exactly what Christ has been asking of us all along.  

I’ve just started reading Paul Miller’s, A Praying Life.  In it he refers often to becoming child-like in our prayer life.  He also has an adult child with special needs and so far this book is really hitting me where I live.  I used to be so jealous of people who could pray eloquently in public settings.  I get nervous, fumble my words and am lucky to get a public prayer out of my mouth without breaking out in a sweat, my hands falling asleep or almost passing out.  But lately I find myself not being jealous of the wordy prayers but learning to pray in a more child-like manor like my Evan.  He is so honest in his prayers.  He prays for his friends, his brothers and family and his favorite things that are of little monetary value.  He almost never prays for himself or a physical need he may have.  Paul Miller says in his book that our prayer life reveals our heart.  Evan’s prayers reveal a heart for others and okay, … his ‘cards bags’.  But as for becoming child-like, Evan is already there.  He is honest like a child.  He is blunt like a child.  He is emotional like a child.  My prayers reveal a heart for mostly myself.  I am not always honest, with myself or God (like I can hide things from Him!), I am often too wordy (Um, blogging speaks to that, I think), and though not always successful, I work really hard to keep my emotions in check at ALL times.  As for me becoming child-like … I’ve got a ways to go.

So on my quest to becoming more child-like, why on Earth would I want to rid my home of the real-life example God has blessed me with in Evan?  Jesus says in Mark 10:14-15 that if we don’t receive the kingdom of God like a child then we shall not enter it.  It can be kindof a confusing Bible verse — unless you know Evan.

Bible Verse I’m Loving Today:
Mark 10:14-15
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.15Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Song I’m Loving Today:

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