April 14, 2008 by Stacy McDonald
Abigail has had her challenges. She has hearing difficulties (she wears hearing aids) and poor eyesight, but it didn’t stop her from learning phonics and it doesn’t keep her from devouring every book she can get her hands on!
She is allergic to wheat and eggs, but she takes it in stride. This “limitation” caused our family to become healthier eaters and has helped us to become diligent (if not obsessive) label-readers (you’d be surprised by all the junk Americans are putting into their bodies!).
There are other things Abigail deals with that have driven us to our knees, brought us to tears numerous times, and sent us to the Word, and on a quest for answers – both through doctors and diet. She is at times sensitive to smells, certain noises, and chemicals. Though she is deaf to certain tones, other sounds drive her crazy and give her a headache – sounds the rest of us can’t or wouldn’t normally hear.
Certain foods, dyes, and chemicals (msg) act like a drug in her system and seem to affect her physical body, as well as her central nervous system (staring spells, headaches, pain in her legs, stomach cramps, and emotional melt downs that can last for hours). We’ve found similar symptoms in autistic children and those with Asperger’s, but no “syndrome” seems to fit her exactly. And honestly, I can’t say she has any learning disabilities. She just communicates her intelligence and gifts differently than other children.
In our Abigail, we see a brilliant mind that is thinking deeply – taking everything in. For years, Abigail has surprised us with the most profound thoughts and creative stories. Just when you think she’s not listening, she wows you with an interesting perspective. She is a voracious reader, a prolific writer, and a budding artist. Disabilities? Where?
We had a conversation with Andrew Pudewa at dinner about his son who is dyslexic. He shared how his son “sees” things differently than other children. He actually sees “around” things. He looks at a word and he sees it spatially. So while that may seem like a “disability” when one is trying to read a book, imagine the potential! I wonder if the builders of cathedrals were “dyslexic!”
God has gifted us all in many ways and we are so limiting in how we view our children. If every child doesn’t fit the median expectation they are either considered brilliant or disabled. I would argue that every child is gifted in different ways – because after all, why did God create man? For His own glory.
So, whatever difficulties or oddities your child may seem to be experiencing; whatever “disabilities” he may have, remember to put it all into perspective. Remember that God created your little one for His own purpose—for His own glory. And where better to see God’s power and glory exemplified, than in the life of a child who the world “thinks” is disabled or “weak?”
The following cartoon is a perfect example of how we could take just about any gifting and turn it into an “oddity” or a “disability.” Perhaps one of your children, or someone you know, has “the knack.” Better known as…”engineer-ism.”